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Domino’s Pizza is the latest brand to jump on the chatbot bandwagon, announcing a new feature that allows customers to order directly via Facebook Messenger.
Instead of calling up or ordering online, customers will be able to simply message Dom, the Domino’s pizza bot, and request food with a single world or emoji.
Is it a gimmick or a pizza-lover’s dream?
Here’s a bit more info.
How to sign up
Before you get too excited, the chatbot doesn’t just provide pizza on-demand. Dom is a bit more discerning that that.
First, customers are required to sign up to the Easy Order system, which along with an address and contact details, saves a ‘favourite basket’ which can be requested via the chatbot in future.
While this might sound ultra-convenient, my concern is that it surely takes away the opportunity for spontaneous pizza behaviour...
I mean, say a person comes home after a few too many carbonated beverages and thinks ‘I don’t fancy the same old cheese and tomato with a side of dough balls… Bring on the MEAT FEAST’.
Sadly, Dom will only remember the meal that's been previously selected, meaning that the customer would need to change their basket or just order like normal. Oh, the agony.
How it works
Chatbot technology is taking off, and nowhere more so than via apps like Facebook Messenger where it is able to facilitate direct communication between brands and consumers.
For a company like Domino’s, the chance to provide a specific service as well as build a one-to-one connection with customers is incredibly valuable.
So, what does Dom sound like?
During a recent conversation in the name of research, I was pleasantly surprised to find that he’s not just a dough-brained bot, but one with a bit of a sense of humour at least.
With an irreverent tone of voice, Dom brings a refreshingly human feel to an otherwise faceless brand.
Of course, there are limitations, and as Microsoft's Tay proved there's always the danger that this early-stage technology can go awry.
But as chatbots go, Dom's got a little personality at least.
Will it take off?
I doubt that occasional Domino’s customers will be inclined to use the chatbot, especially as it is a bit of a faff to set up.
For dedicated customers, however, it might provide some amusement as well as convenience for the very laziest.
It is perhaps a way to build brand awareness more than anything else, as well as a sign that brands are getting serious when it comes to entering dark social.
Who else is doing it?
We’ve already seen the likes of Taco Bell launching an order-based chatbot for Slack-users, offering customers the opportunity to order without leaving their desks.
Now, hot on the heels of Domino’s, Pizza Hut is set to deliver its own bot later on in the month.
Reportedly offering extra features like customisation, Q&A and specialised menus, it sounds a little more sophisticated than anything else we’ve seen so far.
Sorry, Dom. You might need to step up your game.