As the Coronavirus spreads throughout the United States, more and more customers are opting to stay home in an effort to avoid catching the bug. Many have even been mandated by their employers to work from home for the next several weeks.
This disruption to normal routines doesn’t change the fact that people still need to eat, even as many states have mandated that all restaurants move to takeout and delivery orders only. As consumers find themselves practicing social isolation, take-out and delivery orders through native platforms, such as Olo, Lunchbox, Onosys, Branddible, Brygid, and others, as well as third-party platforms such as GrubHub, DoorDash, UberEats, and others, are on the rise. Some of these services are also introducing no-contact delivery options, where customers can have their deliveries left at the door. This can protect the delivery workers and customers alike, mitigating the spread of the virus.
A Growing Trend with Unexpected Results
The trend of ordering food digitally for pick-up or delivery was going strong before the Coronavirus pandemic emerged. However, as brands adopt more digital ordering and delivery options, they face new challenges that negatively impact the customer experience.
Based on data gathered by Tattle’s customer experience survey platform, when a take-out or delivery order is placed, guest satisfaction is 20% lower than that of dine-in guests. From receiving cold, soggy food, to not receiving an order at all, there are a variety of customer complaints in this area, all of which are more intensely scrutinized when the guest is miles away, with no opportunity for recovery by an in-store staff member. The sudden increase in take-out and delivery orders will likely exacerbate these issues, posing a problem for brands that rely on this channel to drive revenue while customers are staying home.
An Opportunity for Brands to Overcome and Increase Brand Loyalty
Restaurant brands can view this as an opportunity to improve the digital ordering experiences of their guests, helping them gain a competitive edge over brands that don’t reassess their approach in this channel. Follow these five tips to make improvements in the digital ordering space:
1. Set Standards for Delivery Logistics in Your Stores.
This will help prevent delivery delays, lost meals, and food quality issues. Keep food at the right temperature until pickup, with a designated place for drivers to find the orders.
2. Monitor the Guest Experience for All Ordering Channels.
A customer experience improvement (CXI) platform like Tattle makes it possible to collect guest feedback across all ordering channels, even the low visibility, yet rapidly growing, digital ordering industry. Through integrations with native digital ordering platforms, our survey app will automatically reach out to customers for feedback after an order is complete. Customers can rate different categories like Temperature, Flavor, Presentation, Texture, and Freshness of Ingredients, and even let the restaurant know if they received a fork and knife. Tattle’s system then aggregates the data and provides improvement recommendations by location. Now you’ll know exactly which issues need fixing, and where they are occurring.
3. Extend Customer Service Beyond the Walls of Your Restaurant.
We are now living in a time where you can acquire and lose a customer without ever meeting them. As digital ordering rises, your brand will have fewer opportunities to provide the warmth of in-person customer service or an instant solution to a mistake. This could result in guests simply never returning to your location. Tattle allows the ability to respond back to guests with a Thank You message, Catering Requests, Loyalty App Requests, and, most importantly, Apology messages that can recover guests that would otherwise never return to your location for another order.
4. Use Delivery-Appropriate Packaging.
Tattle’s data also shows that guest satisfaction ratings take a nose-dive when food-delivery is involved. Many report that the food arrives cold or soggy, especially for things like Pizza or French fries. To solve this issue, some brands are introducing new packaging to help maintain the desired temperature and consistency of off-premises orders.
5. Implement Additional Training Focused on the Digital Order Experience.
This tip will be especially helpful for fast-casual eateries with an in-store assembly-line approach to orders. Delivery orders that are not prepared under the watchful eye of a customer, who can correct a staff member in the process, are more likely to have accuracy issues. Help your staff adapt by offering training that focuses on order accuracy and preparation of digital orders.
The way in which you expand your restaurant hospitality beyond your four walls will influence the guest experience, no matter where it happens, and be a direct reflection of your brand. Your approach to digital ordering and delivery will play a big part of brand loyalty in the weeks to come, and now is the time to use the data available to make the right improvements in this area. Learn more about how Tattle connects restaurants to actionable feedback and provides recommendations on what to focus on for measurable improvements in the growing space of digital ordering.