Texting is quickly becoming the #1 preferred communications method in the U.S. Over 78% of American consumers wish they could text businesses. For restaurants, business texting is a must, especially with the increase in pickup and delivery demand caused by the pandemic. But according to a study done by Twilio, only 48% of businesses are equipped to handle text messaging.
So why should a restaurant text back and forth with customers?
Business Texting is convenient and saves time
Customers value their time. Sending text messages is 10 times faster than making a phone call. Convenience is a huge factor in determining where customers choose to eat. Even with in-house dining, customers will appreciate the time saving and convenience of making reservations or placing orders via text. You’ll get more business and create happier, repeat customers.
Business Texting gets customers’ attention
Did you know that text messages have a whopping 99% open rate? And texts that are opened are responded to 49% of the time! This means, customers are more likely to interact with your restaurant through texting than calling. Imagine if customers could text in reservations or check table availability. Texting can give your restaurant the edge when customers are deciding where to eat.
Business Texting increases customer loyalty
We don’t have to tell you how important customer service is in the restaurant industry. Bad service is one of the top reasons why customers do not return to a restaurant. Make sure your business goes the extra mile to offer excellent service. The better service you offer your customers, the more likely they will be to return. Make it easy for them to communicate with you, and you’ll increase their loyalty.
Make the transition to texting
So how does a restaurant business transition to handling texts? A texting platform which allows employees to group-manage messages is a must. The entire team must have visibility into the text conversations from customers to ensure that no text message is missed. Many business texting applications only allow one-to-one messaging, meaning that responses depend on one person or one phone that is passed around. This can be both a hassle and burden. With a group-managed platform, multiple people can be available to handle texting from the same number from the computer, tablet, or smartphone of their choice.
As a restaurant owner or manager, you want to be able to two-way text with your customers, but where do you start? Here are a few simple steps you can follow to transition your business away from calling and onto texting:
Upgrade to a business phone provider with a group-managed texting platform
Texting should be a service that your business phone provider offers. In order to accept text messages on your main business number, this feature needs to be available and activated by your business phone provider. Not all providers offer this service, so be sure to ask if this is supported. Also, you’ll want to see a demo of how texting is handled through their platform, so you don’t end up with a feature that’s clunky and difficult to manage.
Implement the texting feature and train your staff
Group-managed texting and the individual, one-to-one texting are two different animals. You’ll want to have clear procedures and guidelines for how text messages are handled and ensure that all your staff is trained on the process. Will the messages be managed by a few individuals? Or do you plan to have all your staff available to answer? Will you allow staff to respond from their smartphone app or do you want to confine it to tablets or computers in your restaurant? Whatever you decide, make sure the procedure is clear and your staff are trained.
Advertise Texting to your Customers
Your online business profiles such as Google Business or Yelp are a great way to advertise to customers that you allow texting. Add on your business profile that customers can call or text your business number for reservations, questions, or orders. You also can advertise right in your business. Offer a text-in promotion to gather numbers from your customers and save them in your CRM for future conversations. You’ll gain more repeat customers because you’ve made it easy for them to reach you.
Vonix Flex is a fantastic platform for restaurants to manage texting and calling right from the main business number.