Branded calling could be the missing element.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, food delivery apps such as DoorDash, Grubhub, UberEats, or Postmates were searching for sustainable traction, and restaurants were competing for every dollar in an overcrowded market. Today, with the consumer stay-at-home lifestyle, everyone is relying on quick-service delivery. It’s no longer a decision of food preference, but rather a question of who can provide the best delivery experience?

A recent survey conducted by First Orion showed 89 percent of those polled regularly use a delivery app to order food. This is good news for restaurants navigating the new economic landscape, but it poses new challenges. Providing the best possible customer service has become imperative to success, yet many delivery services have overlooked one key channel for bolstering the customer experience: the phone call.

Viki Zabala, chief marketing officer at First Orion—a company which specializes in branded calling—says app- and website-based ordering make phone calls crucial to a successful delivery.

“On-demand food delivery platforms are incredibly convenient for consumers to place orders and browse menus but can fall short when it comes to customer service,” Zabala says. “If something goes wrong or a driver can’t find the delivery location, customers prefer a phone call to quickly resolve the issue.”

In fact, phone calls are so important that over 70 percent of customers say they prefer phone calls over texts for complicated issues, and half prefer calls over texting when they’re short on time. And when unknown numbers call, customers will probably not answer.

First Orion’s food delivery report shows 87 percent of people don’t answer unidentified numbers, even when it’s during the timeframe when food is supposed to arrive. It’s almost as if consumers expect restaurant names to just appear. Yet Zabala says many business owners are surprised to learn their customers’ phone plans don’t automatically include caller ID.

“Businesses that aren’t properly identified have difficulty getting people to pick up because the unknown number makes your business anonymous to your customers,” Zabala says. “And when a call goes unanswered, a missed, late, or mixed-up delivery can impact the reputation of both the delivery service and restaurant.”

To help resolve these issues and gain better business results all around, First Orion works with food delivery apps and establishment services—such as restaurants that deliver—to offer branded calling.

“With branded calling, more calls get answered—period,” Zabala says. “Our clients in the U.S. and U.A.E. have seen up to a 200-percent increase in answer rates after implementing our ENGAGE® or INFORM® services because a custom, branded message along with a delivery service’s name makes customers feel more secure in answering. More answered calls mean reduced operational expenses, increased retention, more loyalty, and an improved customer experience.”

While the pandemic has changed the way consumers interact with their favorite quick-service brands, food delivery platforms should still ensure an exceptional customer experience no matter where diners eat their meals—or who delivers them.

“Customers want to be reached where and when it’s most convenient for them, and that’s not always on an app or website,” Zabala says. “The phone used to be the one place that couldn’t be branded; now, with branded calling, the phone call is part of an omnichannel communication solution.”

Click here to see First Orion’s full results.

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