Chatbots are the latest buzz around the globe. With the rise of messaging, chatbots are becoming more and more popular every day. Every business sector seems interested in adopting chatbot.
Big brands have already started launching their chatbot from last year. But what about the retail industry? Restaurant business is an integral part of the retail industry and I strongly believe they will benefit most from this technological advancement. But how?
Facebook is right now the biggest platform for connecting businesses all around. People like to search for restaurants in Facebook first before even visiting their website or their outlet. As the way of marketing has evolved, so more or less, most of the restaurants have been equipped with Facebook Page to be present in the trend.
But being digital is not the game changer for a business. Facebook page opens the opportunity to connect with people around. Sending direct message from FB pages to restaurants are getting more and more popular. But are the restaurants ready enough to embrace the new way of connecting with customers?
No doubt, the big restaurant chains are well aware of the messaging connection power and they respond fast enough to customers for any FAQ. But medium and small restaurants are not much up to date to respond to their customers. In a more competitive digital market, they are actually losing more potential customers at the end of the day.
I ran a survey in Denmark this year to see how fast the restaurants respond back to customer FAQs. I sent messages (a ‘Hi’ followed by ‘What’s the opening hours?’) to almost 100 restaurants over Facebook Page. As per 2017 global mobile survey, organizations use to take around 600 minutes to respond back to customers FAQ over Messenger. In my case, in around 70% of the cases, I didn’t even got a response. For the rest 25%, I got response after more than a week. The fastest response from 5% restaurants took around 2–12 hours. As a matter of fact, 2 hr response was only from 1 restaurant.
Now what does that signify? In a simple sentence — poor customer service. When people have choice around, why should they opt for a restaurant when the restaurant seems not interested enough to reply to their simple questions. So, apparently people will choose other restaurants and the earlier one will lose one or more potential customers every time.
Chatbot is the ultimate solution for such situations. With the capacity of responding to hundreds of customers simultaneously, bots gain customer satisfaction resulting in more customers turnaround in restaurants. With more advancement, chatbots are getting cheaper to build and integrate for businesses.
Restaurants of all sizes should focus right now to have their own chatbots. Because bots are the new websites. Bots even can lead to better sales funneling. As end users, this gives a feel good factor as well. Thus from the first interaction, a personal bonding between digital customers and their favorite restaurant starts to grow. After all, over a good food, it is the customer service that makes the customers feel special.
2017 is the year of chatbot. But the upcoming year will be an year of chatbot for all kind of businesses — from big to small. We hope to see more and more restaurants getting engaged with bot culture to bring a new way of customer relationship around us.
This article had been published in Chatbot Journal – November Edition.