Increase Customer Engagement Online with Restaurant Messaging Tools

Own a restaurant business? Take a look at these statistics:

  • The restaurant business is the most searched business on handheld devices
  • Over 80% of customers search for a restaurant on their mobile phones
  • 70% of customers prefer ordering food online from their mobile phone
  • More than 60% of local searches for a restaurant from mobile phones convert in just one hour while 80% eventually reach the conversion point
  • 25% of customers have at least one restaurant or a food ordering app on their mobile

Without a doubt, mobile technology has and is changing the way people live today and these statistics prove the impact it is going to have on the restaurant industry in the coming years. Your customers are looking for your business online. 8 out of 10 people would prefer to book a reservation or order meal online from your restaurant. And if you won't be available to them at their command, the chances are that you'd be losing about 90% of your business to your competition who is out there catering to all queries online - whether they are coming from social media or messaging apps.

As a restaurant owner, this is the time to grow the business and increase your online presence by adopting mobile marketing techniques such as SMS/text marketing and taking advantage of the revolution. Keep reading to see how you can increase engagement with restaurant messaging tools.

Impact of Messaging Apps

Your restaurant’s marketing has to be just as good as your food, customer service, and ambience. About 70% of businesses worldwide have implemented mobile marketing strategy to build more customer engagement. It’s very important for your customers to be able to interact with you in real-time. However, the restaurant business has been slow to adopt text-based marketing.

Messaging apps increase the conversion rates of your business by 60%. Messaging apps such as SMS messaging, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp are slowly replacing traditional landline phones and emails as the medium to increase customer engagement. A recent survey found out that more than 90% of people prefer interacting with brands using messaging apps from their mobile phones.

Increase customer engagement with messaging tools

There are different ways how your customers can reach you and the vice versa. Major restaurant players already have different messaging techniques up their sleeves and you can take a leaf out of their book to get started with.

Text Messaging

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How many times are you tempted to open the link in a text message like this - “Here’s your $10 offer on your next food order. Hurry! Offer valid for one day”. Chances are that 8 out of 10 people will definitely open the link to do a reality check. Even better, 90% of the text messages are read in the first 3 minutes of delivery. That’s the power of text messaging. While text messaging, SMS may sound odd in this age of WhatsApp, Facebook, it’s a still powerful tool for marketing and to increase customer engagement.

SMS marketing is the best channel for restaurant businesses to reach out to customers. You can send lucrative offers and deals to customers (who’ve opted to receive your SMS alerts), custom coupon codes to get them more interested and return back to your restaurant. This helps to get back more new customers and get them subscribed to your updates.

Another technique could be to ask people to send an SMS to a number (a toll-free/your restaurant mobile number) and in return, they get an exciting offer on their next meal in your restaurant. By doing this, you get to build your customer database and bring in more business to your restaurant.

You can use apps like TextMagic, SimpleTexting, EZTexting to take advantage of sending tailored marketing campaigns through SMS to your customers.

Chat bots to enable live chat

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You’d have come across the “Chat with Us” section on most restaurant apps or websites. Post your questions on these chat windows and you’ll get answers to it instantaneously. Does it mean there’s a real person sitting behind and responding to your chats? Not really! While a decent percentage of restaurants still deploy their staff to respond to messages, it's mostly the chatbots that are integrated into the website/app to help in customer interaction.

You’d be surprised if we told you that more than 80% of the businesses worldwide are looking to implement a chatbot by 2020. The restaurant industry is lagging behind in implementing these chatbot technologies and the trend is slowly picking up. Chatbots can be trained to deliver responses based on the nature of questions. Chatbots help to avoid delays in responding to customer queries. Being unresponsive is the same as losing your customer and chatbots have the capability to turn your business profitable.

Embrace automated messaging apps

While live chat can be a good option for restaurants, if you are worried about deploying the workforce specifically for live chat or implement a chatbot app from scratch, automated messaging apps can be your alternate choice.

Facebook Messenger has its own automated response engine to interact with people using the Messenger tool. For example, you can set up your restaurant page on Facebook and configure the messenger to automatically send canned responses to common questions. And, setting up a Facebook Messenger is cheap and faster than having a dedicated chatbot application.

Otherwise, you can install restaurant specific applications such as Allset, Conversable, Gupshup, Punchh, Inc. to automate and manage your restaurant messaging for the end to end business. These apps have the capability to integrate with Facebook Messenger or voice-based apps like Alexa.

Final Words

Customers are turning to their mobile devices when it comes to choosing their dining. As a restaurant business owner, it’s important to see how best you can keep in touch with your customers, and keep them satisfied. Make your customers feel that you’re the best when it comes to dining in the locality.

To achieve this, you will need a messaging solution. When done well, mobile marketing can drive more customers and make them crave to come back for more.