Operators need to compare and contrast data.

Many of your customers aren’t lining up outside your restaurant anymore to grab dinner. They’re ordering Grubhub.

Grubhub, UberEats, DoorDash, Postmates—these are just a few of the many food delivery apps taking the world by storm. The average person has two of these third-party delivery apps on their phone and uses them three times a month. And the popularity of these apps is only increasing, with online food delivery sales predicted to grow at five times the rate of on-premises restaurant sales by 2023.

This reality is forcing franchise and independent restaurants to either leverage these third-party delivery companies or compete against them. Either way, restaurants that ignore this trend risk losing out to competitors who choose to take advantage of the changing landscape.

But restaurants who enlist third-party apps worry about the customer experience once the order is out of their hands. Cold food, slow delivery and nibbling drivers are just a few of the factors that can affect a restaurant’s brand and food quality without their knowledge.

To ensure customers’ experiences aren’t sacrificed, it’s important for brands to effectively measure the impact these services offer.

Change your approach to soliciting feedback

Getting feedback from your customers is the most direct and valuable way to understand how third-party delivery platforms like Grubhub affect your customer experience. But asking your customers about their delivery experiences requires a different strategy than if they had dined in your restaurant.

While normally a frontline employee would hand a guest their receipt with a survey link requesting feedback, this doesn’t always fly for third-party deliveries. You can never be sure the receipt made it into the bag, much less the hands of your customers.

Instead, solicit feedback directly with follow-up emails the day after a delivery. Beyond metrics, look for qualitative data by asking about customer pain points and frustrations. Hearing directly from the source is the best way to uncover patterns and issues that threaten your business.

Don’t ignore the voice of the employee

Beyond customer feedback, another voice is critical to understanding your CX: your employee. Your frontline employees witness the day-to-day details and process issues that could derail delivery experiences. For example, if you get feedback that a customer received a cold meal, was it because the driver was late or because your staff is preparing meals too early? Are deliveries late because there isn’t a clear place for drivers to pick up orders?

While your customers can reveal problems, your employees illuminate the cause of the problems. Regularly check in with employees on the ground to understand where things commonly go wrong and how they can be improved.

Compare and contrast key metrics

To gain insight into how a third-party partner might have changed your CX, you have to compare and contrast. What does the experience of an in-restaurant diner look like versus someone who ordered delivery from Grubhub or Postmates? And how do each of these platforms differ when it comes to the customer experience?

Visibility into both qualitative and quantitative data surrounding these platforms allows you to pinpoint which problems can be addressed by your staff and which originate from third-party partners. It’s critical to understand how customer satisfaction rates change as they interact with your restaurant across platforms, as well as factors like late deliveries, incorrect orders and more. Whether it’s choosing the right partner or just streamlining your delivery processes to prevent customer service issues, this data is key to solving real problems for your customers.

Food delivery apps are here to stay. Customers now demand instant gratification on top of excellent food and flawless customer service. Your ability to understand how these changes affect your CX will determine whether they become a threat or a game-changing opportunity.

Andrew Park has spent more than a decade designing, deploying, and consulting on customer experience programs for global Fortune 1,000 companies. In his current role as InMoment’s VP of CX Strategy & Enablement, Andrew provides strategic counsel to the company’s clients, architecting and evolving their customer experience initiatives to deliver maximum business and relationship impact.

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