There’s this “hidden gem” sushi place around the corner (okay a few blocks) from my apartment. Best sushi this side of town – Sakurabana, in case you’re wondering. Even better than that, they deliver. Better than that, very reasonably priced – I can eat and be full for $20, $40 if I order with friends. That’s a steal in the City for sushi.
So I call probably once a week, give or take, to order dinner. Every time it’s a different girl – no joke. Every time she very nicely asks me my name. My address. My phone number. My order. Every time I tell her this information. Over and over and over. You with me?
Imagine if the next time I called, she asked me for my phone number. Then she looked up my name. My address. My order. Then she could say: “Michelle, same order as last time?” and I could say: “Yes.” She could say: “See you in 20 minutes” and I could say: “Bye.” Time that call. 30 seconds. Time the first call. I’ve timed it: 3 minutes (sometimes more like 5.)
The great thing for Sakurabana is that I keep calling back because the sushi is so damn good. Which is why I think about how much better the service and operational costs would be if they just made that simple change.
First, who doesn’t like to be remembered? Norm! Know my name, know what I like – make it super easy for me. Please? I will tell all my friends and sing your praises. Second, think about the operational costs. I’ve been to this restaurant in person. It’s a decent sized restaurant for a sushi joint but there are only a few servers and they are probably manning the phone too. So, whoever is on that night gets my call. What if the staff were trained to use an iPad to enter the orders? You only need 3 at $450ish – (fuzzy math): $1350. Monitor for the kitchen: $250. Maybe some small cost for the order entry app. Say you need 3 of those at $100 a year – (more math): $300. Wireless network: call it $400 w modem, router and cables. Total cost to the business: $2300. My gut tells me they would cover this cost in one night of sales. So, one night of sales in return for a a far more efficient serving staff, a much better customer experience and, I would bet, more orders and customers (ah, revenue.)
“The easier you can make it. The fewer steps involved. The better the service,” a friend of mine always says, is the key to great service. My friend, I concur.