After several months of development, ODEON launched on 28 November a Facebook ChatBot that helps users discover what is playing in cinemas near them and book tickets. The chatbot, accessible through the official ODEON Facebook page, has been developed by Gruvi.
Chatbots are an emerging technology that leverage messaging habits to help businesses communicate more efficiently to their clients. Chatbots intermediate and help users with specific tasks.
In 2015 Gruvi started collaborating with the ODEON cinema chain in the UK to promote the films screening in their cinemas country-wide through a series of social media-centric tools. The two companies are working together to further improve the customers’ experiences and engagement by creating solutions offering an innovative approach to customer service.
Ben Johnson, CEO of Gruvi, highlighted the importance of this tool in the current landscape: “Facebook and Twitter are excellent examples of technologies that dominate the networking space. But chat services like Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat have the potential to become the operating systems of the future.
Building the ODEON ChatBot is a first step into the power of automation in one to one communication. We have worked hard to include natural language programming to give the bot a sense that you’re actually talking to a human. This is very unique.
We are going to be expanding on the bot’s capabilities, but we see this first step as a great tool to help people go to the cinema more easily and more regularly.”
Simplifying movie discovery and ticket booking and integrating them seamlessly into a user’s messaging experience is an easy challenge for the ODEON ChatBot.
The experience includes three easy, straightforward steps. Users are geo-located, but can also request to see what is playing in a specific city.
Once a movie is chosen, the user can easily explore showtimes options and select the most suitable alternative.
The experience is continued through to ODEON’s mobile ticket booking site for purchase.
The interaction is initiated by the customer and it does not require them to download any additional apps. The communication is automated, but it also allows for the intervention of a human receptor for more complex queries.
In the near future, the ODEON ChatBot will be improved with elements of film discovery, including the addition of:
- Film trailer video and other film information;
- Promotion updates and special offers;
- Extensions into customer support related queries;
- Upcoming release information for new titles coming soon to ODEON cinemas.
Peter Waugh, Head of Digital & CRM at ODEON Cinemas explained: “We’re very excited to be the first cinema chain in Europe to offer our guests this type of innovative service. (…) With 1 billion users worldwide, Messenger is the perfect place to offer ODEON assistance. We’re always looking for new ways to give our guests a better service – and the ChatBot will help us to answer a wide variety of questions and give a lot of information, while also allowing our guest service teams to concentrate on providing more bespoke assistance to other guests.
“We know that our guests’ needs will continue to evolve in future, so we will keep developing this service with Gruvi to add other features including film trailers – and of course will keep listening to our guests to understand what else we can provide.”
Gruvi is a marketing technology company that works exclusively in the entertainment space and provides tools that allow brands to reach and attract the right audiences while significantly reducing the costs and time spent on creating, managing and tracking performance.
With 86 years of cinema experience, ODEON® & UCI Cinemas is a leading international cinema operator in Europe. It operates 2,240 screens at 243 sites across Europe as a whole, including 120 sites across the UK and Ireland.
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