The quick serve industry is quickly adopting technology to make the dining experience more convenient for customers, while increasing foot traffic by offering such efficencies. Between online ordering and in-app ordering options, eating out has gotten more convenient. I know I have made use of online ordering when I realized time was not on my side, or the kids’ schedules all blew up simultaneously, or I was out and about and realized that cooking was just not going to happen that night.
A possibly overlooked area is the telephone in this industry. By increasing the ability for customers to call in orders, it opens up even more of a wider net of customers to capture. But, if it takes off, do you have the manpower to handle calls while maintaining service levels in the dining area?
Considering an outsourcing program, or call center for order placement, can be optimal for the quick serve industry. Pizza Hut is an example of one that utilitzes a call center for telephone orders – this centralized unit can take and dispatch orders quickly, sending the information to the correct location based on the customer’s address.
What are the benefits of using a call center vs. calls placed directly to the location?
1. It can potentially cut costs: call centers based on volume can cost less than you might think. It may also cost less to utilize a call center than designate staff at each location to be assigned the task of taking orders via phone.
2. Efficiency: staff can focus on preparing orders and assisting customers who are dining in, rather than shifting their focus between the register and telephone.
3. Perhaps the best argument for using a call center for phone orders is the marketing aspect. Unlike orders placed individually at a location, perhaps by an employee that is focused on taking the order and moving on to the next task, call center orders can capture pertinent customer data, similar to the way online and mobile app ordering work. Data is then compiled and can be used for marketing purposes, to track customer frequency and loyalty, and gauge customer traffic more effective. This is perhaps the most beneficial aspect of using a call center to take customer orders.
Does your company use a call center? If so, is this an effective strategy? Has your company tried this without success? Either way, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Please send your comments below and join the discussion!
Hiring staff can be a tricky process. Sometimes you wish you had a crystal ball when interviewing candidates so you can look into the future to see how they will pan out as an employee for your company.
There are some things you can do now, during the interview process, to perhaps get a glimpse of that. For some industries, it can be tougher, especially when the need to hire is more urgent (think retail in preparation for the holiday shopping season). How can you ensure that you hire the best people for the work instead of “warm bodies” to fill positions?
1. Look beyond the application: you can have a candidate with excellent skill based qualifications, but are they really the right candidate to serve your guests? Richard Averitte, the guest blogger of this article, explains that when hiring servers, companies need to find those candidates that have a passion to serve others. While skills are helpful, the candidate with the right perspective can be easily trained on the task.
2. Use the interview process to really get to know a candidate in small ways: this is perhaps my favorite part of the article. The author cites several examples of how he gauges a candidate’s personality and “passion to serve” during the interview:
1. Drop the pen – Sometime during the interview, I always dropped my pen and waited for the candidate’s reaction. If the candidate picked it up (or at least went for it) immediately, I knew this would be a good hire. If the candidate did not even try to pick up, that told me they did not have a server’s mentality.
2. Yes sir/no sir – If they’re not going to say it to me during the interview, they’re probably not going to say it to the guest. You need to hear “yes sir/no sir” (or ma’am) in an interview. Sounds old-fashioned, but it’s actually timeless when providing service.
3. “Thanks” vs “Thank you” – This may be a personal pet peeve, but I am big believer there is a difference between “Thanks” and “Thank you”. The former sounds can be perceived as insincere and snarky, while the latter is rarely perceived as nothing but upmost gratitude. I want to hear my candidate say “Thank you” when the interview is over, not “Thanks”. I want to hear it because I’m sure my guests will want to hear it too.
4. The door – After the interview, I always walked the candidate to the door. I tried to do it when some guests were near the door. I would open the door for the candidate and observe their actions. Would the candidate allow the guests to pass first? Or perhaps take the door from me and hold it for the guests? If the answer to either question is “no”, I would not hire the candidate. The guests is the most important person in the building and they always come before staff. This snapshot told me all I needed to know.
Looking for personality traits in other ways, Southwest Airlines wants employees who have a “fun” personality. If you’ve ever been on a Southwest flight, it’s likely you’ve giggled at least once over a flight attendant’s or pilot’s comments.
One of the benefits for the airlines is that the FAA requires that their staff undergo training, so they do not necessarily need to hire employees with prior experience. They are another company who looks for attitude and personality during the hiring process, believing that people can be trained to do many tasks, but cannot be trained on attitude – that is something that is inherent to each individual, so they need to find the right people for the work to match their corporate culture and attitude.
What does Southwest incorporate into their hiring process?
1. Group interviews: this is a great way to not only screen many potential candidates at once, but it also gives the company an opportunity to watch the candidates to see how they interact and engage with others. In a group setting such as this one, people can be a bit less guarded and their true personalities start to come through. This helps Southwest identify candidates they want to get to know better.
2. Incorporate “fun” tasks to see how it is approached: by giving the candidates tasks to do, such as fill in the blank for a sentence read to the group or read a passage with humor, they can again get another glimpse into candidates’ personalities and overall attitude. Did they embrace the task, or go into it sullenly, as if it was the last thing they wanted to do? Did the candidate have fun with the task, or simply do what was required? These, much like the tips the restaurant author used above, are simple yet effective strategies to learn more about people.
The job market is tough, and there are many applicants for one position. This makes the hiring process more difficult. Starting with a resume and application is good, but it’s pertinent to remember that just because someone looks great on paper doesn’t mean they are the most qualified for the job. Using techniques such as the ones described below may give better insight into your candidates and help you be more successful in the hiring process.
Social media engagement is important for business, but it’s been difficult at best to show ROI on social media marketing and engagement. However, one company attempted to show how this is possible, releasing a study focused on Facebook and a grocery chain.
The study, conducted by Collective Bias and YetiData, looked at purchasing behaviors of customers of a large grocery chain, specifically at their purchasing habits before and after engaging with the grocery chain on Facebook. The whitepaper is available via download on the company’s site.
Taking a look at the behaviors of 600,000 loyalty card members for the chain, the companies set out to determine if social media connections correlated to purchasing behavior in this subset of customers.
The findings? It looks like there is some ROI to be found in social engagement. The company looked at Facebook fans who were loyalty card members, as well as customer activity on the grocery chain’s social site and compared their purchasing habits to those who were not engaged with the chain on Facebook. The company also clarified that the social site was not solely focused on deals and discounts, so encouraging purchases in that manner was not a consideration.
Facebook fans who posted 10 or more times on the grocer’s Facebook page spent over $1000 more annually than a typical customer, 95 percent more than a typical customer;
Facebook fans who posted 10 or more times on the grocer’s Facebook page visited the store 40 more times annually than a typical customer, 2.5 times the visits of a typical customer;
Facebook fans bought 125 more items than a typical customer, 35 percent more than the typical customer;
Facebook fans visited the store 30 percent more than a typical customer per year.
Those are some pretty significant statistics, and there are some key takeaways from the study outside of the ROI implications:
1. Loyalty card members are one step closer: if someone has a loyalty card, they are likely already repeat customers. As a company, you are one step closer to this subset and can continue to build the relationship. Engaging them on a deeper level, whether it’s on social media, text based message, or other methods will deepen their loyalty to your brand. It’s no longer enough to simply have a loyalty program in place. Tie this into your social sites and encourage engagement for deeper connections.
2. Connect the dots: make sure your loyalty programs tie into social. Everyone is a bit different when it comes to social media – some prefer Facebook, while others prefer Instagram or Twitter. Make sure your customers know where to find you in the social landscape so they can connect where they feel comfortable.
3. Give ’em something to talk about: many of the statistics from this study revealed a correlation between active engagement on the company’s social site and their increased purchasing habits. Ensuring that your social sites are open to two way communication can go a long way in encouraging brand loyalty. While the general findings do not indicate what kind of content was posted by Facebook fans, it is likely that it is varied content, including perhaps feedback, responses to questions/contests/news items, and other relevant topics.
This is one of the first studies I’ve seen that can directly tie ROI to social media engagement. It would be interesting to see other studies done in similar industries to gauge similarity in findings. At any rate, this does illustrate the benefit of social engagement, with the reminder that just having a loyalty program isn’t enough anymore – continued active engagement, whether it’s social or within the loyalty program itself, is key in repeat and satisfied customers.