Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
Online restaurant booking service, Yumtable, says integrating Uber’s transport booking experience into its app will help meet customer expectations for a more efficient way to book, ride and dine.
Yumtable general manager, Levi Aron, spoke to CMO about the new partnership, as well as what makes a seamless customer experience today and the step its taking to drive engagement.
According to Aron, consumers are heavily relying on impulse to make decisions.
“For instance, if we want to go shopping or buy something and there is an app or website, we’ll do a quick check online and we’ll quickly buy that product,” he said. “Dining has had a little bit of a catch-up time, but we’ve come to a place now where people expect the same sort of result.”
One of the main drivers behind Yumtable’s app development was to make booking faster and easier for time-poor customers wanting an enjoyable night out.
“The apps working the best these days are those that bring a lot of services into one place,” Aron claimed. “By bringing Uber into the Yumtable app experience, we’re able to offer our customers a sort of one-stop shop where they can come online, search and book a restaurant and at the same time, through the flow of the app, book their Uber driver.”
Uber is the first Australian API partnership for Yumtable and will be available in the app from 10 May.
The Yutable app also allows customers to book and confirm allocated seating in every restaurants represented by Yumtable’s 2100 partners in Australia in real time. In addition, it features an integrated notification tool, which will work out factors such as how far the driver or how far the restaurant is from the customer.
“It does the maths for you to get you there in the right amount of time,” Aron added.
Expanding the scope of its digital offering has been a key focus for Yumtable since it launched as part of the Catch Group last October. Aron said the company has worked very hard not only getting its app to where it wants it to be, but also looking at partnerships and affiliations with digital players in the market.
“We’ve had various partnerships since our launch, all in the effort to help our customers, as well as really widened the breadth of our restaurants to enable more bookings,” he said.
For example, Yumtable previously worked with bookarestaurant.com to maximise bookings through its reach. Moving forward, the company is looking to align with various airlines, hotels and other dining partners, Aron said.
Building customer loyalty and higher return rates
When it comes to customer loyalty, Aron admitted this is something Yumtable, like many other service providers in Australia, grapples with every day.
“We find 20-25 per cent of our diners are coming back and dining again within a very short amount of time, so they’re doing that on their own accord,” he said. “However, we believe these returning rates should be much higher and there are factors we are putting into place over coming months to see our customers returning at a much higher rate.”
These customer engagement strategies include integrating gamification and loyalty rewards into the app to help give users and diners a real reason to come back.
“It will make sure they are sharing their experience and they’re enjoying more than just the booking process, but they are finding the whole experience delightful so they will be doing it again,” Aron said.
Yumtable has also undertaken preliminary research and work to integrate its app with the Apple Watch and has a few technological developments on the cards.
“A lot of people are jumping on the smartwatch bandwagon and thinking how can we take hold of this new technology and make it useful,” Aron commented. “Rather than just jump out and be a headline, we’re looking at what is the best user interface and what is the best way it can be used to make a booking.”
Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu