Reservations or booking tables is a key activity in restaurants. Most of the popular and busy restaurants are in demand particularly during peak times like evenings and weekends. To avoid long waiting, restaurants allow customers to reserve a table. This helps them manage the crowd better. At the same time, it is convenient for customers who don’t have to wait for a long time and can come in at the time they have reserved the table. Restaurants spend big money implementing software for managing reservations. Did you know that this could be done easily through Text Messaging Marketing?
Yes! A restaurant can manage table reservations using text messages. A customer can send a message requesting a reservation and a message can be sent confirming the same. This is easy to implement and is beneficial. The use of text messaging by businesses has become popular as it is a non-intrusive way of engaging with customers. In fact, customers prefer communication through text messages. SMS Marketing can be used to reach out to customers to engage with them and manage the restaurant reservation.
If you are running a restaurant, then you can use mass texting to manage reservations. The following are 7 tips to help you manage reservations through messaging:
1) Let customers know
The first thing to do is to let your customers know that they can reserve a table using SMS. You need to send a message to your customers informing them of the facility and letting them know how they can book a table. Your message needs to contain details of the number to be used and the procedure. You may need to send this message periodically to remind customers. The message can be even used for prospective customers to let them know of the facility you provide.
2) Use keywords and set a phone numberYou need a phone number to which customers can send a message requesting reservations. This number must be linked to your SMS software so that messages are automatically routed to the software. Once your phone number is ready, the next thing is to use a keyword. You could use a keyword like RESERVE to accept reservations. Decide the format and keep the customer informed. You can configure your software to automatically send a confirmation message on receiving the keyword. If you have restaurant management software, you can link your messaging software to it.
3) Have an updated databaseA database of customers is needed where you capture details of the customer with their mobile numbers. Make sure the mobile number is updated. Request your customers to provide you with their latest numbers. Make sure you follow legal norms and take their consent before adding to the database. Also, provide an option for customers to stop receiving messages.
4) Create a standard templateYou can use your texting software to create a standard template. The template should be to confirm the reservation. A sample template you can use:
5) Link texting with other modesSome customers may prefer calling or sending an email. In such a case, you can receive the reservation request through another mode but send a text message for confirmation. Customers will go through text messages as compared to emails, hence sending a text message for confirmation ensures the customer receives the message.
6) Allow alerts to be sentIt is possible that your restaurant is overcrowded and there are delays. This does happen! In such a situation, you may need to push the reservation time by a few minutes. When that happens, make sure you update your customer by sending a text message. The message should be sent in advance and should let the customer know that there is an unexpected delay. The new reservation timing must be informed with an option for the customer to cancel the booking if the timing is not convenient.
7) Take feedbackIt is very easy to get feedback from customers through SMS. You don’t have to waste your time and their time asking them to fill a form when they are enjoying their dinner. The moment the bill is generated, you can use your software to automatically send an SMS requesting their feedback. You can ask the customer for a rating and all the customer has to do is send an SMS with the rating value. You can get instant feedback on your services.
The above tips can be easily implemented in your restaurant. All that is needed is a database containing customer numbers and texting software. You can implement these tips and manage your restaurant reservation more effectively.