SMS messaging offers a variety of different benefits to restaurants, from better productivity to more effective communication with employees. One of the most notable benefits is enhanced customer satisfaction. When customer satisfaction is improved, restaurants will enjoy greater profitability and a better reputation overall.
How Does SMS Messaging Improve Customer Satisfaction?
Texting is a cost-effective, flexible communication method that is beneficial for both restaurants and their customers. Customers can use SMS messaging to gain valuable information about their favorite restaurants’ newest deals, orders, store hours, and more. SMS also serves as an effective customer service channel, allowing restaurants to communicate with their most loyal customers via text messaging, which leads to higher read rates.
To enhance customer satisfaction with SMS messaging, follow the tips below:
- Engage consumers in a dialogue.
SMS messaging is most effective when it is used for two-way communication. Make sure that your SMS messaging program allows customers to both send and receive messages. Two way texting is beneficial for restaurants because it will help build relationships with customers and allow them to communicate directly via text. Create comfort and trust with customers to increase your chances of getting them to eat at your restaurant more often.
- Time your messages carefully.
When you send an SMS message to a customer, it will be received immediately. For this reason, it is important to carefully time your messages. Make sure that you are sending messages to consumers during hours where they are likely to be awake and in possession of their phones. For example, make sure to send out messages regarding a new happy hour deal weeks before the actual start date, so that your customers will know ahead of time.
- Improve wait time experience.
The last thing hungry customers want to deal with when entering their favorite restaurant is a long waiting list before being seated. Unfortunately, waiting lists will never go extinct and every popular restaurant is going to have a wait list, especially during prime restaurant hours such as typical breakfast, lunch and dinner times. However, texting can make the experience a lot better by providing updates and a simple text when a table is ready. This will allow people to relax outside or go for a walk instead of waiting impatiently in front of the hosts, making sure that their name doesn’t get skipped.
- Be professional at all times.
SMS messages must be shorter than emails and other forms of communication. However, you should still make an effort to be polite. Begin each message with a short, warm greeting. Use a positive tone at all times and personalize your messages as much as possible. Being consistent and responsive will lead to increased customer satisfaction.
- Use SMS for customer feedback.
If you know that a customer is currently having a problem or has recently resolved a problem with the company, use text messaging to communicate with the consumer and ensure that he or she is happy with the resolution. Sending out polls and surveys via text will allow you to know what your consumers like and dislike about your restaurant. Real-time feedback will help you better promote a favorite item or remove a failing drink from the happy hour menu.
- Follow up to boost engagement.
Ongoing communication is one of the best ways to encourage consumers to engage with your company. Use text messaging to communicate with customers who are considering a purchase, as well as those who have recently made a purchase. You can also use SMS to provide customers with coupons and other offers. For example, restaurant text messaging programs often include regular offers or discounts for customers who visit the restaurant and mention a specific keyword or code.
- Pick-up or delivery via text
People tend to avoid ordering their food by phone for pick-up and delivery because they do not want there to be any miscommunication about their orders. Either the food is taking too long or the wrong order gets delivered, making pick-up and delivery a hassle for hungry customers. Enter text messaging. People will be able to order food anywhere at anytime with a simple text. Not only does texting make it easier to order, it will also create a unique communication channel between the consumer and the restaurant. Customers will benefit by being able to track their delivery time and alert the driver of any possible updates, whether it be switching the order or sending a new delivery address.
- Personalize messages with customer data.
Personalized messages make a stronger impact on consumers. In order to personalize SMS messages effectively, utilize all of the data you collect on each consumer to understand his or her characteristics. This could include offering a free or discounted item on the customers’ birthdays or it could include offering promotions based on your subscribers’ preferences.
- Offer exclusive discounts and coupons.
Customer satisfaction can be elevated to another level by offering exclusive deals and coupons. Being a part of the “VIP list” will not only improve overall satisfaction, but it will also make them feel more influential to the restaurant. They will spread the word of their gratification and spread the word to others about their experience with your restaurant. Offering special discounts and coupons can be very beneficial, especially during “slow” or “off” hours. Simply blast out text messages to your subscribed audience of an intriguing deal so that you will be able to increase the number of customers.
In order to maximize customer satisfaction, you need to use SMS messaging effectively. Not only does text messaging provide customers with a convenient method of communicating with your company, but it can also help you to build a strong, lasting relationship with each of your customers.
Ken Rhie is the CEO of Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases. Mr. Rhie holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He has over 30 years of experience in the software, internet, and mobile communications industries.