Pizza is big business in the UK right now. With chains like Domino’s, Pizza Hut and PizzaExpress vying for a slice of the action, it can be tough to differentiate each individual business’ offering.
Of course, the three have their own separate, strong brand identities, but one in particular is busy deploying new technology to drive its customer experience forward.
Through the integration, PizzaExpress can fully automate its reservations and table management activities 24/7. In addition, the IOVOX cloud-based platform allows PizzaExpress access to booking statistics and ability to analyse over-the-phone reservation trends over time.
The tech launched early June, replacing an existing reservation system on PizzaExpress’ website – and it’s already seeing results.
As PizzaExpress’ IT director Siobhan Fagan told MarketingTech: “We have seen an increase in bookings already through the IVR and website, and will continue to work to optimise that further. We do have an app that we have plans to improve and relaunch in due course.”
Why the integration?
Fagan was involved in helping to select the solution and they wanted it to offer customers “maximum flexibility” – as well as deploying tech that would give the restaurant chain the ability to learn more about their customers and provide them with an enhanced experience.
It’s just our way of working, that the digital team within IT and marketing are almost joined at the hip
“It’s a fully integrated solution and is gave us the opportunity to ensure the journey via the phone booking system is as slick and customer friendly as possible. In the future, it will integrate into our tills which will help us to understand our customers better and help make their experience as good as possible,” Fagan added.
PizzaExpress plans to use the data in the future in a myriad of personalised ways, including potentially tailoring offers to them, offering early visibility of menu changes and giving them early access to offers.
IT and marketing teams working together
But what was most striking about PizzaExpress – not a small company by any strech of the imagination – was its seemingly integrated marketing and IT departments.
Last month, Toshiba head of marketing for B2B PC wrote that there was a disconnect between the IT and marketing departments, and offered advice as to how to solve it.
But this doesn’t stand for PizzaExpress, who are heavily involved with the marketing team, Fagan explains.
“You shouldn’t really be able to get a piece of paper between them,” she said, adding that on this particular project, the marketing team were “really involved”.
“It’s very much a partnership between technology and marketing. With marketing, we worked on what the optimum customer journey is to make it as easy as possible to make a booking.
“They also helped with the selection of the voice for the phone booking solution to ensure it’s on brand and fitted our tone of voice. The digital team and IT team will work together as the months go by to further optimise the customer journey,” Fagan said.
More broadly, however, PizzaExpress has a dedicated digital team within its IT department who work closely with marketing.
As Fagan explained: “Marketing are the voice of the customer and really think through optimal customer journeys, and it’s like IT’s accountable to ensure we can build that in a safe, secure way on time and to budget but with the customer very foremost in our mind.
“It’s just our way of working, that the digital team within IT and marketing are almost joined at the hip. We have formal joint steering meetings and governance processes to ensure we are all working towards the same objective.”
This marketing-IT involvement in deploying a new tech solution that will hopefully enhance customer-service and operational performance is one reason why the move might just succeed.