Drive- through is one of the most popular services offered by fast food restaurants. Customers primarily use drive-through services because it helps them save time and adds to their convenience, since they don’t have to park and get out of their vehicles in order to get food.
Below is a list of expectations customers might have from a drive-through facility and ways businesses can meet these expectations.
A major problem which customers might encounter while picking food on the go is lack of accuracy in order placement and processing, which means it would take twice the amount of time since the order has to be processed all over again. This problem can be easily sorted out through the use of an efficient information system solution.
Large screens can be installed along the drive- through which will allow customers to see their order in real time and verify it verbally. This will eliminate the need for assistance to repeat the orders verbally and save a lot of time for both parties involved.
Moreover, the communication should ideally be recorded and displayed on screen for the person who is processing the order so that the chances of error are minimized. Some restaurants use microphones and headsets for communication between employees. This can be an additional communication channel which can add to the technological synergy already in place.
One of the important factors for the popularity of drive-through services is that it saves time. All drive-through facilities must ensure that customers have to spend a minimum amount of time in the queue and waiting for their order. Drive-through demands a tailor-made processing system that has the ability to enable fast delivery and processing. In order to ensure speedy services, orders can be taken while the cars are still in the queue.
Systems need to be developed so that all products are delivered in an efficient manner like having a dispenser for napkins, sauces and straws etc. which will not only speed up the process, but will also reduce wastage. Businesses can also employ technology to streamline the process of ordering. Smart phone apps can be developed by restaurants, which will enable customers to place their order even before they are in the queue. If customers are able to place orders while they are still on their way to the drive-through, it would save considerable amount of time since their order would be ready when they arrive for the pick-up.
Although speed is an essential element of a drive- through facility, but quality of products and services can’t be undermined. Business must ensure that they deliver the same quality for drive-through customers. All products must meet the quality standards of the regular service. Similarly, it is essential that the quantity of napkins, spoons, straws etc delivered with each order is sufficient.
It must be ensured that premium customer service is provided in all drive-through lanes. All customer service representatives must be adequately trained to handle drive-through customers and be fully equipped and empowered to offer out of the box solutions to customers where needed. KPIs (Key performance indicators) could be developed so that performance and quality can be measured in quantitative terms. Speed-of-service timers could be installed to measure the time it takes, on average, to serve one car. This will help the restaurant to measure their performance and assess them against set standards.
The customer service experience for all drive-through customers can be enhanced by offering value added services. Special discounts could be offered in form of exclusive meal deals. Additionally, companies can issue special coupons for drive through customers which will add to the overall customer experience. Restaurants can arrange for windscreens to be cleaned while customers wait for their turn in the queue.
Customer service representatives have to deal with drive-through customers in person or through speaker phone. CSRs should be trained to greet and interact with customers in a pleasant manner. They should be engaging and interactive which will help boost up sales. For example, “Would you like to upsize your meal for a small charge” is more encouraging and pleasant compared to, “Do you want an upsize with this meal?”
The above example shows how CSRs interaction impact the sales and customer service experience for customers, which is why it is important to adequately train drive-through staff before they are allowed to work in the lanes.
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