Keep Your Delivery Customers Happy
When a delivery goes wrong, how do you handle it?
We’ve all been there: A customer places a delivery order from your restaurant. You quote them 45 to 60 minutes. They wait. And wait. Then they call for an update and you tell them it’s out for delivery and should be there any minute. It eventually shows up more than an hour after they called and you just know you’re going to get a call. The customer is angry. Their burger is cold. The fries are soggy. You forgot to send the sauce for the chicken fingers and their kid is throwing a hissy fit.
No matter how hard we try to make every meal perfect and hope the diner’s delivery experience matches the quality you’ll show them if they came in to dine, mistakes happen. Delivery is an ever-evolving machine. Only, until recently, restaurants would handle the entire process — from ordering to packaging the food to sending out the order with their own delivery person.
Now restaurants can partner with any number of online ordering and delivery services like Grubhub, Caviar, UberEats, DoorDash, Amazon Restaurants and more. Some of those places handle the ordering and customer service; others work with restaurants to set up their online menus and the restaurants handle any complaints that may come in. It’s a fine balance, but at the end of the day, you want to ensure your customers are happy and order from you again or come back in.
“Service is really what it’s all about and taking care of our guests,” said Dave Quillen, managing partner, Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab with locations in Chicago, Las Vegas and Washington D.C. “We have to closely monitor that since we’re not at that person’s door. And the quickly growing aspect of our business is delivery and we’re constantly looking at new materials, timing and ways to become more efficient.”
In Chicago, Joe’s, which is part of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, works with Grubhub, DoorDash, Caviar, Postmates and UberEats. In D.C., it employs UberEats, Caviar and Grubhub. Because they have a variety of third-party delivery services acting as a go-between for them and their customers, Joe’s team constantly monitors reviews on social media platforms including Yelp and TripAdvisor so they can respond quickly to any complaints and remedy them. They also have a secret shopper-type of program they have set up to employ people who follow a set of criteria and provide feedback on ordering and delivery experiences. One thing Joe’s does have control over is how an order looks before it goes out the door, using its three-check system.
“When the order is placed, it gets produced in the kitchen and then placed in a see-through wire basket,” Quillen said. “Our coordinator, usually a chef, checks every item and makes sure it’s there and then checks if off. Then a carryout team member does the exact same thing in the carryout room. The last check is when [the driver] arrives, our team takes out everything from the bag and makes sure it’s all there.”
Now if something goes wrong, Joe’s will do whatever it needs to ensure that customer is happy, whether that’s hand-delivering missing items or, in a severe case, offering a gift card for a future visit or purchase. However, not all restaurants want to handle customer service. In addition to managing ordering and delivery, Grubhub also works with restaurants to handle their customer service interactions — and will monitor restaurants to watch for any common irregularities.
“If we see an example where a burger restaurant consistently forgets to not put pickles on when customers request no pickles, we’ll go back and work with them,” said Stan Chia, Grubhub’s chief operating officer. “We want to make sure if something isn’t clear in our technology or if something is missing on the restaurant side. We work to understand the root of the problem and work with the party to solve it.”
Because Grubhub partners with more than 55,000 restaurants across 1,200 cities, the company has access to vast amounts of data, much of which comes via customer feedback in reviews, ratings and surveys. The company crunches that data, watches trends and raises concerns to restaurants so they can ultimately offer the best service and help their business stand out.
“Having relentless focus on the customer is what will differentiate anyone in terms of the experience,” Chia said.
That way, you can try to stay ahead of any issues — and when they do arise, you’ll be better prepared to handle them.