Smartphones create huge opportunities for any service business
Over the last few years it has been clear that smartphones are playing an increasingly important strategic role within the progression of the hospitality/restaurant industry.
There has been negative press about guests using their phones during dinner and people have asked for it to be banned in restaurants. However, besides looking at the negative aspects of the increase in smartphone usage, there lays huge opportunities in the trend as well. Collectively, UK citizens look at their smartphones over a billion times a day according to a recent report by Deloitte. Mobile phones are here to stay so lets talk opportunities.
- Create an Outstanding Customer Experience via Messaging
Messaging apps have now for the first time surpassed social media in popularity and to give an example: Whatsapp has 1million signups each day while Twitter only gets 135,000 signups. Consumers are now preferring live chat for their customer service rather than more traditional methods. In fact, Live Chat now has the highest satisfaction rating of all customer service channels with 73% of users reporting they are happy with the experience, compared to 61% for email and 44% for phone. Messaging is bridging the gap between phones and emails, and is a preferred channel for a growing amount of people.
The customer journey starts long before the guest’s reaches your venue, so by lowering the barriers to contact you with any queries, you can potentially build up a stronger and larger customer base. The ability to answer multiple people at the same time can also make your customer service more effective and can save loads of time. Minimal input – maximum output. Get on board with offering a messaging service for your customers.
- Join Apps Where You Can Offer Your Services
Google Play and App Store downloads combined have increased by 8.2% year on year according to Applause. While not every business needs their own app, there is significant benefit that can be gained from leveraging the increasing popularity of various apps. For instance, the rise in food delivery app usage is significant, and it is outpacing that of restaurants each year. If you are not yet there, now is the time. There are also alternative apps such as To good to go where customers can order leftover food by the end of a restaurants service for a lower price. This way you could gain some extra revenue of the food you would normally waste.
- Integrate Mobile Payments
According an IMRG report, Smartphones and tablets accounted for 51% of UK online retail sales in Q4 2016 and it is steadily increasing.
This trend is primarily being driven by millennials and Generation Y (people born in the 80’s and 90’s) – not only do they want to buy more online, they are also keen to book restaurants, hotel rooms and more via their smartphones.
People are now so used to doing everything with their phones, and this is now extending to making payments. In countries like Sweden and Norway, payments using your phone number is widely accepted and commonplace. In the UK, we will see this becoming more popular also as consumers demand more control and simplicity in their payment options. Contactless payment cards is just the beginning of this trend.
Restaurants can embrace this by reviewing their own payment procedures, PSP providers, and looking at how they can simplify the process for customers.