How long are customers willing to wait in line?
The need for curbside pickup has taken a giant leap in 2020. Curbside pickup wasn’t an essential service before the COVID-19 pandemic. Government regulations, health restrictions and technological availability have changed that.
Mobile phone accessibility and online shopping have set a new baseline for customer convenience. With face-to-face interaction becoming less desirable, businesses who adopt curbside pickup stand out.
Customers are the Priority
Customer experience doesn’t stop because of a pandemic, although priorities have changed. Businesses can offer safe and convenient services to build trust and relationships with their customers. We know from experience that recording customer experiences is important for measuring success and improving processes.
Connecting with customers is highly valuable and builds trust that helps to navigate difficult circumstances. Curbside pickup reduces points of contact by removing the need for in store shopping or pickup. Over 90% of customers who have used curbside pickup have said it is convenient.
Who Benefits Most From Curbside Pickup?
The key to success is in the customer experience. Many businesses believe they can start using new technologies to fix issues. This is counter intuitive. Customers must also be of high quality to realise the benefits of software services such as curbside pickup.
Customers are grateful for curbside pickup. This is achieved by providing a tailored experienced complimented with technology.
Elderly and Health Compromised
Curbside pickup allows people to shop without the risks involved with in-person shopping. The elderly and individuals who are immunocompromised greatly benefit from this service.
The physical requirements of grocery shopping can be difficult if not detrimental for many customers. The ability to provide customers with the same quality of service without the negative implications involved is one of curbside pickup’s strongest attributes.
For customers who are immunocompromised, going into a crowded grocery store can be dangerous, particularly with the risk of coronavirus. The safest way to get groceries is to have them delivered directly to a car or home.
It is important that clerks receive proper training in hygiene practices to protect the community. Encouraging customers to do the same and to always wash their groceries and throw out all packaging where necessary.
1. Healthcare and emergency workers
Creating a “Community Hour” is one way a supermarket can support healthcare and emergency workers. During the initial outbreak of the COVID pandemic this allowed Grocers to express gratitude for the workers in crucial industries. This type of support can be extended to those who have compromised health to minimise contact.
The practice of community hour has been proven to be even more effective when used in combination with curbside pickup. Accommodating essential workers and compromised groups encourages their custom by providing a convenient service that supports their needs and the community.
I just finished night shift and was able to drive straight to the store to collect my groceries. Having a time I could come in without waiting was great as I had enough time to pick up food before taking my kids to school.
2. Parents with young children
Shopping with young children is never an easy job. There are many risks with young children including accidents in store or the inability to effectively shop while occupied with a child.
Studies have shown that more than a third of parents in the US have been using curbside pickup for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic. Arranging for curbside pickup can be done from the comfort on your home and eliminates the need for making messy shopping lists.
The time and energy saved is a major factor in parents choosing curbside pickup over shopping in store. The convenience of not having to get of your car, particularly when people have young children results in more positive customer experiences.
Chris (the young man who brought our groceries to the car) was professional and delightful! It’s really hard for me with the two boys so getting everything delivered right to the car is great. Thanks again!
3. Retail team members
When staff are overburdened the customer becomes impacted. Providing updates on the processing of orders is important. Busy periods of the day and holidays periods such as Thanksgiving and Christmas often lead to longer than average wait times. This places pressure on clerks to perform their duties adequately.
Delivery partners such as Doordash and Shipt help to reduce the workload placed on Grocery Clerks. Incorporating 3rd party systems provides accessibility and convenience to your customers. Taking the load off of the Clerk by supporting them with orders leads to greater efficiency, and the feedback shows this.
It is important to remember that Clerks need to be given enough time to know when the delivery driver is coming so that they can pick the groceries accordingly.
This is Doordash. Will be at spot for pickup in 25 minutes. We have 2 pickups. Orders for Johnston and Maher.
It’s Not Just About Software
Just because we are using software doesn’t mean traditional lessons go out the window. There must be consistency. A service cannot be provided to customers and then pulled the next day without warning. If a customer expects groceries or electronics to be delivered to (and placed in) their car then that should happen every time. Maintain consistency among all team members.
Enabling staff to deliver on promises is more important than your software package. They need resources, tools, and efficiency to do their job. There are three ways to support your staff with curbside pickup.
- Appropriate training in social distancing and customer service
- Setting out clear waiting areas for customers
- Providing accurate real-time ETA to staff
Issues will occur from time to time, but when the customer service levels are high, the experience is still positive. Positive experiences result in returning customers.
If your staff are enabled, everyone is happy.