How To Connect with your Diner
Customer engagement is a challenge in any business but when it comes to the restaurant industry it’s especially a challenge. The amount of competition on a single city block can be overwhelming when it comes to engaging customers and drawing them in to your establishment! What can you do to get a jump on the competition and grab the diners they are missing out on? In most cases it can be as simple as embracing new technology and using it to capture the diners that are already looking for you!
A new app available on iOS will literally give diners the ability to reserve a table at your establishment from their phone in exchange for a table they can work and dine from. OOOT – Out of Office Thinker – is for the non-traditional diner – business diners, remote workers, realtors, students looking to study, bloggers and more. Coffee shops and McDonald’s Wi-Fi aren’t always going to cut it for these diners. They are looking for alternative places they can sit down for an hour and fuel up while staying connected and catching up on work. OOOT aims to connect the diner with your establishment quickly and easily. It will even alert them when their reservation time is ending so you can avoid the awkward pushing of the check or disappearing waiter trick when it’s time to turn the table.
Where does the customer engagement come in? Similar to Yelp and Trip Advisor, OOOT allows the diners to leave reviews on your establishment for other OOOTers. The next time a potential diner logs on to OOOT and needs a table to work from they can read the reviews and hear about how friendly and accommodating your staff was, how the quiet environment was perfect for working and how you even brought them their drink in a cup with a lid to avoid any potentially disastrous spills to the laptop. A survey by BrightLocal showed that 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Favorable reviews on an app like OOOT can become a significant marketing tool and keep these diners returning over and over again!
How can you encourage diners to leave reviews for you following their meal? Make it fool-proof. Include a QR code printed on their receipt that they can scan on their phone to automatically link them to the place you’d like them to leave a review – whether it’s OOOT, Google, Yelp or another site. If you’re using tablets tableside at your restaurant include links to leave reviews on the screens for the diners. Make sure wait staff is reminding diners to complete the reviews.
Finally – don’t underestimate the power of social media. OOOT connects with all of its partner restaurants on social media and reshares their posts, specials and other events they have going on. Rather than just having a presence on social media – create a following! Tag users who OOOted at your establishment and thank them. Offer flash sales or run an Instagram contest. Ask customers to submit ideas for a menu or drink addition and name the item after them if chosen. Hold an unveil celebration for the new item and encourage them to invite family and friends to it!
Customer engagement isn’t about just getting someone in the door once. It’s about establishing a lasting relationship that will be beneficial to both parties for years to come. Loyal customers are the best form of marketing – make sure your diners are not only engaged but valued as well.