A beautifully convenient mobile app, engaging, interactive digital signage, handy table-side tablet ordering, a redesigned, responsive website – whatever sparkly, new technology you’ve just invested in, you won’t see a penny of ROI if your customers aren’t using it and many won’t without a good dollop of encouragement. So how do you get your guests to download that app and make sure it stays on their phone? How do you break the habit of them waving for wait staff and get them to use tablet-ordering instead? How do you get your customers as excited about this new innovation as you are?
A study by NRA found that 52% of consumers would use an electronic payment system if available and 46% would use a restaurant’s smartphone app if available. This shows that customer willingness is there but Hospitality operators still find themselves facing 3 main issues:
- Letting these willing guests know the tech is available and ready to use
- Encouraging guests who wouldn’t normally use the technology to give it a go
- Making sure the technology is sticky enough so when used, it’ll be used time and again
If you’re a casino, restaurant, stadium or hotel struggling with these challenges, here are 5 simple things you can do to make sure your tech is a digital delight with guests guaranteeing adoption success:
1. Make a song and dance about it. No one will use your technology if they don’t know it exists, it’s as simple as that. You’ve just released a digital solution, its purpose is to make your guests’ lives better, more convenient, enjoyable even, so tell them all about it. Really sell it to them.
Unleash your marketing folks and let them get creative with in-store adverting and promotions. For example, if you’ve just launched a mobile application that enables self-service food and drinks order and pay, splash posters, play videos and roll-out table top advertising throughout your stores offering a free muffin with every mobile order during the launch week or month.
Take Taco Bell for example. Last year, to drive adoption of their new mobile app, they gave away a Doritos Locos with every purchase made via the app during the month of January and even promoted the offer and the benefits of the app on TV and via their social media channels. The promotion was a huge success with up to a million mobile orders made by enthusiastics customers.
In addition to in-store promotions and TV advertising, use other channels at your disposal. From social media, PR with consumer magazines and newspapers, blog, website and even direct emails to subscribers – get the word out about your brilliant new service and whip people into an excited frenzy.
2. Make it irresistible. Integrate or link your tech to your loyalty rewards program so the more your customers embrace digital, the more loyalty points they earn making it valuable and worth their while to change their behaviour.
If you’ve just jumped on the tablet or kiosk ordering bandwagon for example, make sure guests can input their loyalty details so when they order and pay using these new channels, extra points are added to their card or credit is added to their account for future purchases encouraging them to keep on using it.
Boots invested in an Extra Offers kiosks allowing shoppers to access extra exclusive offers to get the most out of their Advantage Cards.
Another effective way to make your technology irresistible to customers is by making the overall look, feel, user and sensory experience a brilliant one. Successful digital retailers and hospitality operators work closely with customer experience and application development teams to design and build digital experiences based on a deep understanding of their customers’ needs. Medium Corp pulled together a list of the 21 Best Designed Apps of 2015 and they’re well worth a view if you’re in need of some design inspiration.
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Eda.ua, a Ukraine food delivery app built flexible filters and smart searches into their design as they service 100s of restaurants across the country and the choice might prove overwhelming for users. The filters and food information make it incredibly easy to get exactly what you want saving customers the hassle of worrying what’s in their dish especially if they have any dietary requirements.
3. Show some commitment. One download of the app or one use of your tablet ordering doesn’t equate to long-term use. What you need to achieve is commitment. If a guest inputs their credit card details for future use or signs up to your loyalty program through your new digital channel, that might be a sign of their commitment.
Uber, for example focusses its marketing on acquiring the user’s credit card details rather then just encouraging downloads alone. They recognise that parting with payment details shows a level of commitment from a customer and removes friction from future transactions. With this objective, many of Uber’s promotions involve issuing discount vouchers that can only be redeemed once the user has almost completed the payment process.
4. Train your staff. Your staff are the people that spend the most time with your customers. Make sure they’re trained properly so they’re well versed in explaining any new tech implementations to your guests. They should be able to explain it, show customers how to use it and answer any questions or handle any issues customers might have with it.
Why not spice things up a bit and make the training fun? Set-up a pre-launch training day demonstrating new potential customer journeys so staff can get comfortable with the changes. Explain to them the reasons why this new technology benefits them, your customers and the business as a whole, drumming up excitement and making sure your staff are fully behind its implementation.
You could go one step further and provide staff incentives to actively push the use of the technology. For example, take note of which sections of your venue have the highest level of tech engagement and reward staff members attending to those areas. It not only gets staff to actively get behind your new digital investment but it can boost morale and encourage team members to help one another out to achieve that incentive goal together.
5. Take a tailored approach. A sure fire way of getting customers to use your new mobile food ordering app or website, digital menu, wayfinding or tableside tablet ordering technology is to make it a personal experience for the consumer. If they’re placing an order online or via their smartphone, make sure you remember their past buying behaviour and preferences to either up-sell or cross sell items they might like as well as make the whole process easier for them by pre-populating payment or delivery details for example.
Location based services are another great way of tailoring the digital experience to a customer’s location. By using your app, they can find their nearest venue as well as access useful, real-time directions. You can alert guests that they’re close to a store and even push personalised offers to them to encourage them to visit.
313 Somerset in Singapore, for example, launched a beacon-based mobile advertising network so users of the Tring313 app receive coupons and sales alerts as soon as they enter 50-500 metre distances from the mall. In many cases, retailers reported 46% sales conversion due to the app.
Similar proximity technology can be used in hotels, resorts, stadiums and other venues to differentiate your mobile experience making it personal and useful for guests, increasing the chances of its success by driving more frequent, longer term use.
If you’re determined to achieve guest-facing solution success, make sure a proper plan is in place addressing how to let guests know this service is up, running and ready to use. It’s also crucial to keep reminding guests to use the service while not inundating them with nuisance advertising. Subtle reminders and a smart follow-through using a personalised, preference-based approach and perhaps a gentle nudge from staff could be just enough to gradually build up that committed user base ensuring your tech is a hit destined for long-term greatness.