Sure, your delicious menu is what keeps your customers placing orders. They appreciate the effort and passion you have for your restaurant, and enjoy the small touches you include in your recipes that make your specialties stand out from the crowd. Right behind your food, though, is your customer service.
Bon Appetite looked at this from the perspective of two finalists in a new restaurant competition, noting that errors occur — but being able to provide good service and “gracefully tackle mistakes as they happen” are two great ingredients for a winning restaurant recipe.
Good service starts from the very beginning of a customer’s interaction with your restaurant; in online ordering, it begins as soon as they open your online ordering platform.
The most important base for good online customer service is having a well-designed, organized platform where customers can easily and quickly locate their desired dishes and place their orders. Allowing for customization, multiple payment options, and a smooth transaction is the first step.
Ideally, the order will the process through your point-of-sale system, and be funneled right into the list of pending orders. The food will be made, packaged, and then either sent out with delivery or picked up by the customer. Smooth transactions from the beginning make for outstanding customer service.
There are situations, though, that require employees to be more hands-on in the online ordering process, and thorough training is a must when you want to provide your customers with good customer service and an experience that makes them want to return.
Walk employees through the online process. Have your employees practice using the online ordering platform themselves. This will not only allow them to get the hang of the system, but they’ll also become familiar with where certain menu items are located and how to find them. Should customer call because they are having trouble locating their preferred plate, the employees will be able to explain to them how to find the exact dish for their order.
Ensure the point-of-sale system is correctly synced to the online ordering platform. If there is a glitch, employees might find customers arriving to get orders that may not have been processed correctly. Before enabling online ordering, run several mock orders to make sure the connections all work as they should.
Set up easy-to-follow processes from the get-go. Some restaurants, instead of choosing to automate their ordering by syncing their online ordering and their POS system, take a more hands-on approach, and work with their online ordering provider to receive communications from the provider about orders. The back end of the system looks slightly different in that situation. A customer might place their order online, and rather than having it sent directly to the POS system, the provider handles the order coordination. Often, then, the provider will send a message or fax to the restaurant, letting them know what menu items were included in the order and how the customer paid for the order.
In these instances, restaurant owners and leaders should develop a workable system that allows employees to add the incoming orders to existing orders, covering all of the details without over-complicating the process. Before training all employees, begin with a trial period for each ordering option.
Try the system for a few weeks to iron out any delays or hold-ups in the system, and get feedback from the employees involved, as they will be able to give a different perspective.
After the system has been finalized, train employees while they are on the job. Hands-on learning with an experienced peer or manager will help them get a better handle on the steps involved in moving the order from the initial placement to preparation for the customer to pick up their food.
Train employees to understand the customers. If your online ordering is newly implemented, customers might be wary of moving forward. Employees should be able to address their fears, while showing them the personal benefit for each of them by ordering online. From convenience to special offers for online customers, teach your employees to promote and explain how to use your online ordering platform.
Choose a platform provider who will work with you to develop your platform and training program. When you work with Orders2.me, you’ll be working with a company dedicated to your success, with easy-to-update Web and mobile platforms, highly responsive customer service, and options to fit all price ranges and budgets. Contact us today for a demo and learn how Orders2.me can help you give your employees the tools they need to smoothly operate your online ordering.
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.
About us and this blog
We are on a mission to help local restaurants thrive in the new digital economy. Our blog is designed to give local restaurants best practices from some of the top restaurants in the world today.