Covid-19 pandemic has given us so much to learn and adopt and among one of the changes that it has brought was the technological advancements across sectors and industries. Restaurant business that has always attracted a large number of investments and has forever been the attention point for investors and entrepreneurs has also embraced the technology like never before. When the lockdown happened throughout the country and restaurants had to shut. What they could rely was on delivery and that’s where technology played a role. Even after the opening of restaurants, the tech-experience got boosted with adoption of QR based ordering, payments, online delivery, robot serving foods and voice based ordering to name a few giving the physical experience a’phygital’ experience altogether.
To enhance customer experiences, restaurants started adopting and innovating the same with new technologies and that’s where conversational AI and messaging came into existence to take the whole experience to a newer heights. Players like Gupshup that sensed the growing appetite of conversational AI and messaging has been a key player in transforming the whole experience. As per reports, the global enterprise messaging industry accounted for 2.7 trillion messages in 2020 and we all couldn’t deny the fact that messaging is a great medium for engagement. It’s instant, and users tend to be much more responsive to messages compared to other media. They also tend to use messaging apps multiple times a day. And, that’s how they worked with restaurant industry helping transform through conversational AI and messaging.
Transforming the customer experience
“Restaurant business is all about customer experience. A lot of you run restaurant but as consumers we all will want our favourite restaurant to know a lot about us, a lot of our differences and if we are trying a new restaurant, we would not step into it if we find that the reviews or the word of mouth is negative. So, it’s really important for the restaurant business to get the customer experience right,” said Srinivas B Vijayaraghavan, VP- Marketing, Gupshup that has brands like Zomato, Radisson Group, Coffee Bean 7 Tea Leaf, Mahesh Lunch Home to name a few as key partners.
If we look at the response a restaurant get, digital experience has changed the whole ecosystem. For eg; AR Menu, app-less ordering, click-bill pay, omni-channel CRM and voice-technology has all changed the consumer behavior. “I believe that the pandemic has probably crunched may be 5-7 years of digitization cycle,” added Vijayaraghavan who believed that conversational AI has transformed the whole consumer experience. Also, if we dig deep, the nature of a restaurant owner is to converse with their customers as business has been done today or always through conversations. So, with conversational AI there is ability to completely digitalize all three facets of the restaurant business which we call as; pre-purchase where you have lots of marketing and promotions, purchase which is payments and ordering and post-purchase which is sustaining the relationship with your customer, getting them to order more frequently and getting them to provide feedback and reviews on third party and all of these can be digitized with the power of conversational AI.
How this works in action?
“Some of the important thing that you can do with conversational AI is to do personalize digital nudges to order. With this technology you can get restaurants to have a lot of personalized nudges to get an order from you online. So, you can run a sms-campaign with a link to order, you can even launch a whatsapp campaign to your data base and if you have a great following on Instagram you can also do the same with Instagram or any messaging channel where you have a great number of followers,” he added by pointing that the first application of conversational AI is to create these digital nudges to get customers to order from your restaurant.
Restaurants can also adopt these technologies at their physical outlet to make it more competent because it’s not just that the restaurant will become a cloud-kitchen overnight but will also have to enhance its physical experience like QR-based ordering and payments where customer is at the restaurant but is using the digital methods to place an order, payments etc while they are at a restaurant premises. So, once a restaurant has done the nudging, ordering etc it’s also important to continue the conversation with their customer and that’s where the real power of digital comes in/ conversational AI comes in.
Why you should invest in conversational AI?
In order to enhance the customer experience it’s very important to invest in conversational AI as it transforms the whole consumer experience. It can help a restaurant in three ways; It can help you to deliver a very personalized experiences to thousand s of customers, it is applicable to a variety of workflows and use cases in the restaurant segment and it can help you scale your business by finding new customers and support them.