With economic restrictions once again ratcheting upward in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, “Curbside Pickup” has become a new touchpoint for restaurants, groceries, and retail businesses across the country. With the promise of a contactless pickup experience for both the customers and the employees, it sounds like a simple solution:
- Place your order online or by phone and pay for your order.
- Pull up in your car to the curb.
- Contact the provider to let them know you have arrived.
- Someone comes out to the car and places your order into your car.
- Drive away.
But what seems so simple on paper can often have lots of problems in implementation. Managing Curbside Pickup is proving to be problematic for many businesses.
What could go wrong with Curbside Pickup
1. Resource Allocation
Most businesses have the checkout process very well defined. Whether they use a multi-lane approach (one line/queue for each register) or a single-lane approach (shoppers wait in a single line/queue and the first person in line is served by the next available register), this stuff is pretty standard.
Restaurant owners can tell you that adding a second type of checkout process can easily confuse the process. Adding a drive-through lane can often cause havoc behind the counter. The older folks reading this are sure to remember what Joe Pesci as Leo Getz said in Lethal Weapon 2, “ They f*** you at the drive-thru.” While Leo was sure they did it on purpose, I believe it is just the confusion that the second line/queue process causes.
Add delivery (a third line/queue) to the mix and things just get worse. You have customers waiting for service at the counter, customers in cars waiting for their order, and drivers pressing for their orders since their tips depend on prompt service.
And now Curbside is yet another line/queue that needs attention, just to add the confusion.
Do you add staff to manage curbside or try to build it into the regular workflow of your employees?
Some have a staff person stationed at the curb to manage this new queue. As people pull up, this person must ask each customer a question or two to identify their order. But does this simple interaction increase the risk for both employee and customer? Many customers feel safe in their cars and may not be wearing a mask.
That person then has to go inside to retrieve the order or signal for someone else to bring out the order.
When there is rush or customers, do you need more people outside? When traffic is slow, do you still need to leave that dedicated resource outside to manage the process?
2. What car are you in and where did you park?
Many businesses do not have the luxury of a lot of available curb space. Customers may have to park in an available parking spot or even stop in the street when picking up their order.
Do you have to add the question, “What are you driving?” when customers are placing orders or scheduling a pick-up? Or “Where did you park” when they call to let you know they have arrived?
3. Letting you know when they arrive
While it should be as easy as a phone call from the car when they arrive, it is not that simple
Do you have a special number for curbside pickup? Are customers calling the main business number, along with everyone else who is trying to place an order, get directions, check on hours, or wondering when their delivery order will arrive?
Others have tried asking customers to text when they arrive. But with a standard text message, it only goes to a single phone. If the employee in charge of that phone is busy, the customer may not get prompt service. What if that phone is misplaced during normal operations? Any number of events could prevent that message from being seen and responded to on that single device.
Resolving Issues with Curbside Pickup
There are high expectations for Curbside Service. Any of these issues can spoil the experience for a customer, negatively impact customer loyalty, and ultimately cost your money.
Texting with MessagePro Office Is The Answer To Managing Curbside Service
MessagePro office effectively deals with all these issues to allow you to deliver a great customer experience to those who choose to use Curbside service.
1. Text Enable Your Existing Phone Number(s)
MessagePro Office allows you to text enable your existing business phone numbers. Your customers will now be able to text you at the same number that they have always called you. If your number is in the contact list on their phone, your company name will show if you text them
2. Text messages to that number can be seen by any number of employees.
The text messages can be seen and responded to from any computer in the business or from any mobile device or tablet running the MessagePro Office Application. You can have multiple employees monitoring those “I’ve arrived” messages.
3. No more confusion about matching orders with customers.
Send instructions for the pickup via text and include an order identifier. Ask them to respond to the message when they arrive. That order identifier is now part of the text conversation.
4. In the confirmation message, ask them to text you a picture of their car before they leave the house.
Now you don’t have to guess which car goes with which order.
5. Ask them to text when they arrive or park.
Your employee can grab the right order, step outside and they know exactly which car they are looking for!
Many businesses are finding innovative ways to apply text messaging to their operations. To find more ideas, please visit us at https://www.messagepro.com/products/office/