Why Not to Outsource Your Customer Touch Points

Everyone is looking for more customers, extra door swings, anything to drive revenue into their locations.  With so much pressure to get sales it’s not surprising that two trends continued to show strong growth.

Trend One – Put your brand onto third party consolidator sites, like Grub Hub, Seamless, Fooda etc.

Trend Two – Hire outside firms to deliver your food.  This can be in conjunction with 3rd party ordering companies like Door Dash or Postmates, or using companies that just handle the delivery.

Both services will have a positive impact and bring additional sales into your restaurants.

Outsourcing for online ordering and/or delivery services has four potential advantages. 

1.      Resources – No matter how limited your resources are in house, you can get things up and running with little or no added, development, labor, or equipment purchases.  For large companies like McDonalds, it may just add a level of complexity that the organization cannot scale or requires such significant changes internally it is not feasible.

2.      Its Fast & Easy – Third party vendors do all the work and get things up and running quickly. 

3.      Exposure – Third party vendors have a built-in network of customers that can be engaged quickly.

4.      Technology – You can potentially use technology that is more advanced and offers a better customer experience than you might be able to build and afford on your own.

When considering 3rd party vendors, two specific concerns to consider; what are the costs and how does this impact my margins, also include the potential for cannibalization of any current sales channels. The other big consideration is can they bring in customers that I do not have access too.

Why In-House is the Better Path

There are clear reasons why using 3rd party vendors can be a good option, but the advantages of controlling your customer supply chain outweigh using third parties in most situations.

It’s all about Owning Your Customers.  This means that you control all touchpoints with your customers from start to finish and using these touchpoints to ensure a great experience.  You also, increase loyalty, value, brand awareness and interaction points.

I can use Jimmy John’s as an example, they control the process from start to finish, they take, make and delivery your order, all branded and handled by the JJ team and the internal/external systems associated with the brand.  It’s a simple, straight forward operating system that can be executed quickly (Freaky Fast) and generally error free.  This is what the brand strength and growth was built on.

JJ’s has controlled the customer touchpoints from the very beginning along with being a leader in providing delivery service, but they have not really owned their customers.

There is a difference between control and own.  Controlling the customer supply chain is just the initial step and owning your customers is how you add real value to the interactions you have with them.

Here is a quick run through on how you can really Own Your Customers.  This covers each step in the customer supply chain.

Ordering – The first step in the supply chain offers two specific ways to turn control into ownership.

·         Online – You own your customer data base, with the ability to mine the data for trends and better understand your customers preferences. Use this data for additional touch points, loyalty programs, order confirmation calls, order feedback, and create email marketing services, promos or special items.

·         On the Phone – Quality of the interaction is the key, centralizing phone ordering allows for specialization and high levels of service training.  Using specific scripts as templates for interaction and upselling add value and dollars to your interaction. 

Operations – A single platform helps create a cost efficient, accurate and fast order flow process.

·         One platform integrated into your POS streamlines the order flow, creating a simple and efficient process that will be less prone to mistakes.  The alternative is having ordering coming from email, tablets to run proprietary software, and then your own system.

·         One platform allows easy management of delivery orders by keeping logistics organized and transparent.

Delivery – The last touchpoint can make all the difference between gaining or losing a customer

·         You control the quality of people, their training, their interaction, and speed

·         Your brand is always at the forefront, not the delivery company

·         You manage the follow up

The work involved in setting up your own programs is certainly more work and although it requires more investment up front, the long-term cost structure will quickly make up for these initial costs and give you a much more profitable set of sales channels.

The one big exception for saying yes to using a 3rd party vendor is when they own a customer group that I cannot get too otherwise.


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