Customer Service Put On Remote Control
By George Anderson
A growing number of fast food operators are looking to speed up drive through times and reduce errors by using remote call centers to handle customer orders.
A testament to the effectiveness of these systems is that most shoppers have no idea that the person that is taking their order may be hundreds, even thousands, of miles away.
By using call centers, restaurants are hoping to shave a few seconds off of each order. While this may not seem like much, in total it saves an appreciable amount of time for restaurants while speeding consumers through the drive-through.
To date, McDonald’s and CKE Restaurants (Arby’s and Carl’s Jr.) are the only major chains to announce tests of the call center systems.
McDonald’s began testing the system 18 months ago while CKE plans to conduct a test later this year.
Bronco, an operator of one of McDonald’s call centers, is looking to bring the same type of remote customer service inside of stores. The company is working to develop a cart-based wireless system for big box stores that would enable a call center to assist consumers as they shop.
Jon Anton, a founder of Bronco, said one potential application would be helping consumers to find products they are looking for. A call center operator, for example, could tell a customer, “You’re at Aisle D6. Let me walk you over to where you can find the 16-penny nails,” he told The New York Times.
Not everyone is sold on the idea of remote call centers for drive through or in-store applications. Denny Lynch, a spokesperson for Wendy’s, said the company has not seen numbers that support the cost effectiveness of such services. “We haven’t given this solution any serious thought,” he said.
Moderator’s Comment: Do you see a real need and evidence of tangible benefits that would support using call centers
to take drive-through orders and otherwise assist customers? Will this solution become more widely used in the future? –
George Anderson – Moderator