Online Food Delivery: Using Data to Measure and Improve Customer Service Experience

online food delivery - drive research blog

Before COVID-19, many consumers never solely relied on online food delivery services, but more so used it as a luxury or out of convenience.

However, as a result of more people needing to order delivery out of necessity and public safety,y man saw how convenient the process really was.

Now, 60% of U.S. consumers order delivery or takeout once a week -- and 31% say they use these third-party delivery services at least twice a week (Upserve). 

Many restaurants and food delivery apps are left wondering...

  • How can delivery services keep up with demand from a rapidly widening audience? 
  • After seeing the convenience of food delivery services, will more people stick to this service even after Coronavirus concerns?

Therefore, now more than ever it is pertinent the restaurant industry creates a streamlined process for collecting and quickly acting on customer feedback with data.

Below are five areas of improvement that may be addressed as shifts in consumer behavior from COVID-19 will last far beyond the pandemic.

1. Prioritize and Better Meet Expectations

Wouldn’t it be helpful to know what drives delivery service customers to place an order? 

To gather this feedback, a market research company specializing in the food delivery sector can impartially ask consumers what factors in a list are most important to them. 

Consider Voice of Customer (VoC) market research to dive deep into what customers think and feel when it comes to your business.

Another option is to have consumers rank factors by the level of importance in a market survey.

A market survey can include questions pertaining to factors such as:

  1. Delivery speed
  2. Food quality
  3. Overall price
  4. Reviews and recommendations
  5. Customer service

Plus other key performance indicators depending on your service and industry!

With these insights, a restaurant can know exactly where to prioritize its resources to meet this abrupt demand. 

For instance, if cost is the overwhelming driver, you may want to consider offering more promotional discounts or free delivery. 

2. Beat Out Competitive Delivery Services

Another feasible takeaway from speaking with consumers is a comparison to competitor delivery services.

You can learn a great deal by asking consumers what their favorite delivery services are and why. 

Additionally, consumers could also rate each delivery service across several performance areas such as:

  • Waiting times
  • Quality of food once delivered
  • Cost of food and fees
  • Customer service
  • Expectations

Primary and secondary research may be a part of a full competitor analysis for your delivery service business.

Benefits of a Competitor Analysis

Knowing what the competition is doing during these hectic times is critical.

It will be a fight to maximize market share as every delivery service continues to adapt now, and long after the COVID-19 crisis.

For example, you don’t want to be the only service in the market that still requires some part of the transaction to be completed in person. 

This research also reveals opportunities for your delivery service to offer something that competitors are lacking.

For more suggestions read our blog post, 3 Ways Market Research Can Be Used to Beat the Competition.

3. Optimize Ease of Use for Ordering

The user interface for delivery services is a key component of the overall customer experience.

Therefore, online platforms and mobile apps must be straightforward, reliable, and intuitive. 

Delivery services can assess how well their platform is functioning for consumers through a brief online survey or user experience (UX) interviews with the assistance of a full-service market research company like Drive Research.

These research options allow you to measure aspects of the ordering experience as well as explore the intangibles.

Better yet, with online surveys, results can be delivered to your team in as little as days.

This allows your online food delivery company to act even faster on consumer and market demands.

4. Evaluate the Delivery Experience

The delivery itself is often the stage of the process with the most uncertainty for businesses.

With so many different interactions with customers daily, how can a delivery service company truly evaluate which pieces of the puzzle are working, and what are not?

This is where it makes sense to ask consumers about their personal experiences with their food deliveries.

Consumer behavior research can provide an inside look at critical interactions such as:

  • The friendliness of the delivery person
  • The accuracy of the delivery window
  • The temperature of the food
  • If the food delivery request was correct

This objective can be met with a mystery shopping program.

Benefits of a Mystery Shopping Program

Trained mystery shoppers or actual customers will be provided with a list of action items, such as ordering a pizza on an app or calling a restaurant to ask about today’s specials.

With every action item, the mystery shopper will provide their real-time, in-the-moment feedback of their experience. 

By looking at the entire event for individual customers, you can identify isolated incidents and patterns.

The feedback from a mystery shopping project with our marketing research company can also be utilized as a training tool.

To learn more, watch this video to understand the benefits of executing a mystery shopping study.

5. Understand Drivers of Loyalty

Lastly, food delivery services can use consumer feedback to determine what drives customer loyalty to a certain website or app.

You can present a list of known appealing factors to consumers in a survey or leave the question open-ended if you aren’t sure what could be driving loyalty. 

Customers themselves can tell you whether a rewards program, consistently low prices, minimal fees, or a streamlined process are what keep them returning to the same service.

Conversely, you may discover that consumers lack loyalty to a certain brand in this space and solely decide on an element like cost.

For example, let's say GrubHub was interested in measuring brand loyalty to their delivery service app vs. competitors. 

In a customer survey, GrubHub should include questions such as:

  • How satisfied were you with your food delivery service?
  • What factors did you like most about using the GrubHub app?
  • What factors did you like least about using the GrubHub app?
  • How likely are you to choose another food service delivery app instead of GrubHub?
  • What would drive you to choose another food service delivery app?
  • How likely are you to recommend GrubHub to a friend or colleague?
  • How likely are you to use the GrubHub app again in the future?

Final Thoughts

Groceries, takeout, snacks, meal subscription kits - all forms of food can and will be delivered to doorsteps across America at a skyrocketed pace.

On the one hand, there is an increased business for these companies. On the other hand, this trend also comes with more stress on delivery services than ever before. 

One solution is to embrace consumer feedback and embrace it fast.

Speaking directly with current customers enables a delivery service to obtain actionable information for improvements. 

While you won’t be able to restructure your entire process on a whim, consumer feedback will allow your online food delivery company to fine-tune aspects of the customer experience and close the gap on consumer expectations.

Measure Your Customer Experience with Drive Research

Drive Research is a full-service market research company, serving delivery service businesses across the country. Our experts can help your team by asking the right questions and collecting actionable data.

Ready to contact our team? Here are 4 ways to reach us:

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

tim gell - about the author

Tim Gell

As a Research Analyst, Tim is involved in every stage of a market research project for our clients. He first developed an interest in market research while studying at Binghamton University based on its marriage of business, statistics, and psychology.

Learn more about Tim, here.

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