With more than 450 restaurants across the UK and Ireland, PizzaExpress is one of the most popular restaurant chains in the country. Following the advent of mobile technology, its IT team have been at the cutting edge in keeping pace with its customers’ changing behaviours – ensuring they are matching the always-connected society with always-available bookings.
Implementing a new online reservation system through liveRES, a UK-based provider of hospitality solutions, the PizzaExpress team wanted to ensure that the phone booking solution was equally available for customers – no matter what time they called, or whether there were staff on hand to pick up the phone or not. They also wanted a solution that would give it insights into customers booking behaviours and needs, to help them further enhance the restaurant experience.
The ability to closely integrate with liveRES and PizzaExpress’ own systems, and the swift deployment of the IOVOX solution before the go live date means PizzaExpress now has a fully connected reservation system. The speed, integration and adaptability of the new system was a key decision for the move to the new booking technology.
This means bookings can be made in any of the chain’s restaurants 24 hours a day, either online or by telephone, so no customers are left high-and-dry and no business is lost. Furthermore, fully automating over-the-phone reservations transforms operations for PizzaExpress, without having to have staff on hand at all times to pick up the phone to record bookings. Restaurant staff can now manage reservations directly from the restaurant floor, with calls that are missed being automatically handled through the system, enabling staff to focus on the business.
“In the hospitality industry, it is important to make sure all channels have the same availability, so a premium service is available no matter how the customer would like to book,” said Siobhán Fagan, IT director of PizzaExpress. “This fully-integrated solution has given us the opportunity to ensure the journey via the phone booking system is as slick and customer friendly as possible, and we have seen an increase in bookings already.”
The IOVOX cloud-based platform gives PizzaExpress access and ownership of its booking statistics, giving it the power to analyse over-the-phone reservation trends over time. This, along with liveRES’ statistics, and integration into the till system, gives PizzaExpress the ability to analyse the entire customer journey from booking a table, to ordering a meal, to paying the bill.
“Through these analytics we can track the customer journey, measuring demand and booking trends such a group sizes and busy periods. This helps with forward planning, and to identify problem areas to adjust,” said Fagan.
The insights created will also enable PizzaExpress to become ever more agile in its bookings and marketing. Tracking and reacting to customer behaviours, the team can take a smarter approach to bookings – with intelligence to customise the entire restaurant experience around the customer. Already, Fagan has identified ways to potentially use the data, including tailoring offers to customers, offering early visibility of menu changes, and early access to offers.
“Smartphones and 24/7 internet access has led customers to make bookings on the go, so it makes sense for restaurants to match this adoption of technology to deliver the ultimate customer service,” said Fagan. “With the new IOVOX solution in place, we will not only continue to deliver on our commitment to the ultimate customer service today, but we will gain significant intelligence-led customer insights that will enable us to further improve the customer experience of the future.”