Telephones would ring, an order was taken, and the phones would ring again.
Now we are in the midst of a technological revolution to improve this simple process for both the caller and the order taker.
When telephones ring, the caller has agreed to a process of ordering food, preparing their money and staying in close proximity to their door. This "first ring to the store, first ring at the door" process can be altered when the caller hears "Little Caesars, please hold," instead of a positive greeting.
Your marketing brand power and a consistently positive meal experience can be ruined by that initial, hurried, placement on hold. This has resulted in an On Hold Revolution in the pizza industry.
This new process developed to address this has many names: call sequencing, call queuing, or call announcing. Two goals are always the same:
1. Present a consistent, positive, welcoming greeting to each caller each time they call.
2. Never place a caller on hold once they have spoken to a Little Caesar's employee.
Bell Labs studies revealed that listeners estimated the time they were placed on hold to be 10 times longer than the actual elapsed hold time. The revolution started when these studies also showed that the act of first talking to a person and then being placed on hold escalated the impatience and irritation factors.
The second customer decision after who to call is what to order. Directly influencing that decision is one key to profit improvement. Suggesting specials, which reflect doorknob and box stickers increases your brand power. Greeting a customer with the daily special or describing the most popular order in your neighborhood can increase sales.
New technology is currently testing the final phase of the "First ring at the store, first ring at the door" process by calling the customer when the driver is leaving the store with their meal. Preparing money and remaining ready to answer the doorbell becomes another positive experience resulting from excellent customer care.
The telephone is your business's lifeline
Why enhance your telephone system? Why not add more people, more phone lines or enhance the computer system? The simple answer is money. Hiring people to work the rush times is a major process already. Phone lines increase overhead every month whether they ring or not. Computer-based solutions are initially expensive and rarely integrate smoothly with telephones.
The Internet has provided an easy way to download information to and from each call sequencer at each store. Professional greetings with various price points are now available for download into the call sequencing equipment. You may schedule multiple greetings at multiple stores from one keyboard.
Call activity statistics, increased productivity and customized greetings are all related benefits to a call sequencing system. The largest benefit is still eliminating "Little Caesar's, please hold" from your store.
From first ring at the store to first ring at the door, your customers will appreciate the consistent order handling along with a delicious meal.
Robert "Bob" Gilles is executive vice president of Fidelity Communications. He has more than 20 years of extensive telecommunications expertise. Before joining Fidelity Communications 12 years ago as one of its founders, Bob was an executive with First Trust Communications, and prior to that AT&T.
Fidelity is one of the original International Organization of Little Caesars Franchisees sponsors. For more information on Fidelity's products, call 800-683-5600.