An internet bot or bot is a software application that can do automated tasks over the internet. And a chatbot or chatterbot is a bot that can converse with humans.
According to a Gartner report, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprises without interacting with a human by 2020.
Another report from Gartner also indicates that 25% of customer service operations will use virtual customer assistants by 2020.
This indicates that a majority of human interactions will be automated in the future. And, chatbots are a crucial technology in this direction.
Chatbots in restaurants can help the business far more efficiently than one expects.
Artificial Intelligence makes it possible for chatbots to “learn” by discovering patterns in data. These intelligent chatbots have the ability to understand user context and work autonomously.
Many intelligent chatbots built today improve business. With machine learning and natural language processing technology improving, chatbots will only get smarter.
Several organizations across the world are using chatbots to provide a human touch to their customer communication. The concepts of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) help build chatbots.
They can be built in any live chat interface, such as Slack, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, messaging apps or text messages.
For example, Uber chatbot lets Facebook Messenger users to hail a cab from their messaging app itself.
It was only a matter of time before the restaurant industry explored its possibilities to grow their business.
Overcomes Human Limitations
In the restaurant business, customer service is of paramount business. Whether it is ordering food or booking tables, customers expect the restaurant staff to give them timely responses. While the customer care service staff can be the best people to answer their queries, they do have limitations.
Humans tend to become tired, careless or be uninformed to attend to the guests promptly. The result can be a negative brand impression of the restaurant.
Chatbots can overcome such human limitations. They can take over the basic and mundane customer service tasks. Taking an order, providing with address, timings, menu or accepting payments are some examples.
For example, Taco Bell’s TacoBot acts like a witty personal butler to customers using the messaging app Slack. It takes their orders, answers their questions, organizes group office orders, gives menu recommendations and handles transactions.
It can even crack jokes, and add a cup of water to the order if the customer mentions being drunk.
With chatbots at their disposal, restaurants do not require to keep a 24/7 dedicated executive to service the customers. Chatbots have answers to all the standard and frequently asked questions. They can act as perfect round-the-clock assistants, engaging customers in a far better and faster way.
Customers don’t need to make frustrating phone calls and wait for someone to respond. Chatbots can attend to multiple customers at a time!
Saves Time and Effort
Chatbots record customers’ information such as contact details, order history and preferred payment. Chatbots are prompt in sending notifications as soon as the order is ready for serving or delivery. So, next time, customers order the food through the chatbot, it will complete the order efficiently making the customers happy.
Most restaurants offer rewards and incentives to their loyal customers to engage them continuously and ensure repeat business.
Chatbots can keep track of such customers and based on customer interaction history, it can send highly targeted and personalized messages regarding loyalty programs.
Usually, restaurants ask customers to fill a survey form or review them on the websites/app/social media handles, but there is no guarantee that they will do so. If customers want to complain, they might have to wait for a day to a week to get a reply from the restaurant.
Chatbots in restaurants can not only frame a real-time response to the complaints, but also gather feedback from the customers within the conversation itself.
A chatbot will engage with the website visitor and understand their needs better by interacting with them. This will help you drive your website visitors deeper into the funnel and help convert them into leads.
Chatbots are still an emerging trend in the restaurant industry, but they are the future of customer experience. While they may not completely replace humans, they will offer natural and sophisticated human interactions to enhance the customer experience.
An estimated 2 billion messages have been sent by 60 million business on Facebook messenger alone on a monthly basis. This shows that there is a huge opportunity for chatbots in restaurants when it comes to enhancing customer engagement and thereby opening the doors to a broader hyper connected demographic.