Five Essentials To Improving Your Takeout Customer Service Experience
by Krystle W.
For many years, restaurants have provided various styles of a dining experience, from fine dining to takeout. Over the past two years, the need for a better takeout experience became a requirement. Customers were eating in restaurants less and takeout became the main way to dine. In 2021 alone, there were more than 31,577 fast food vendors in Canada. How many of those excel in their customer service experience?
Restaurants have potential to achieve massive success but lack the knowledge on how to shift from the outdated ways of customer service and shift to an updated experience. The success of restaurants is being determined by the total takeout experience, and customer service has a huge part of this success. As food service operators, it’s important to be willing to adjust and improve the experience for all types of customers.
Customer Service Basics
As food service operators, having knowledge of the basic customer service is essential. A lot of operators assume that because the takeout experience is much shorter than a dine in experience, that it’s an opportunity to skim through and quicken the experience. Faster is better. This can’t be farther from the truth. It’s important to provide the same kind of experience to a takeout customer that you would normally give to a dine in customer. The basics can include always greeting the customers with a smile, keeping the conversation positive, making eye contact, and always thanking the customer for their business. Make them feel acknowledged rather than just another number to push through. Customers always remember when they experienced a positive customer service experience, especially during take out.
A lot of negative customer service experiences in takeout come from lack of accuracy on orders. As a food service operator, it is imperative that each order is completed with accuracy. Staff should be properly trained in ensuring that orders are double checked prior to being handed to the customer or delivery driver. Not only should the order be correct, but the proper cutlery, napkins and side dishes should always be provided. The goal is to create a dine in experience in a takeout order. The easiest way to lose customers is by providing orders that are incorrect.
A new way to provide a great customer service experience is by delivering the takeout order directly to the customers vehicle. Not only does this provide the opportunity to reduce the customer waiting in long line ups but it allows for the customer to interact with the food service operator on a more personal level and in private. An easy way to accomplish this method of customer service interaction is by having a check-in app or website link to notify the team that the customer has arrived. From there, the team can successfully provide a positive experience by hand delivering their takeout order. Montana’s BBQ & Bar has the BBQ curbside pickup experience. Once you park at the designated curbside parking, you mark the lot number in their app, and a food service operator delivers the order without ever having to leave the vehicle. They are one of the many take out restaurants that are expertly offering this customer service experience.
Another new way that restaurants are starting to create a better customer service experience is by improving the technology used for picking up their takeout orders. These methods can improve the reliability of a pickup process and offer a safe and secure environment. Automated cabinets are the newest technology that are being added to takeout restaurants. The cabinets streamline the process by providing order status updates to your mobile device. The customer receives the message and can easily navigate to the appropriate shelf, insert a password provided and retrieve their order without the need of standing in line. A convenient way to build a positive customer experience. Little Caesar’s pizza has this technology implemented now. They have titled it their pickup portal. It has completely set them apart from other takeout restaurants customer service experiences.
Customer Follow Up
Finally, an important step in delivering excellent customer service is by listening to your customers. Allowing your customers the opportunity to have a voice can be extremely valuable to any restaurant. It can make them feel like you value their opinion and are dedicated to ensuring they experience the best service. All it takes is a simple follow up question. While dining in, your waiter would typically perform this step, but how can we implement this step during takeout? The answer to this is with automated messages. After a customer obtains their pickup order, a message will be sent to mobile or email checking in to see if their experience was satisfactory. This is an effective way to make their opinions heard which will retain more customers and have them return in the future.
Being proactive and working on updating your customer service experience is. As the consumer evolves, so will the need to evolve the customer service experience. By using some of the tips above, you will be well on your way to standing out for your exceptional customer service and your customers will keep coming back for more.