I’m a huge pizza fan. It’s a major character flaw, and hasn’t helped me in my goal to lose a little of this middle-aged weight.
I normally get the expensive pizza from a local chain. But when the kids are home, I’m more likely to look for a less-expensive alternative. And Domino’s fits the bill.
But Domino’s offers more than just a way to feed the kids for twenty bucks. They offer an inspiration for customer experience (CX) that can apply to multiple kinds of experience.
If you haven’t ordered from Domino’s online, your assignment is to go do that now. Then, sometime in the next week, order another using their mobile app. Notice how they have enabled the ability to watch everything that happens straight from your browser or smart phone.
This innovation is bigger – and more applicable – than it may seem. It provides incredible transparency to their internal operations. And while it’s certainly cool, it does something even more important – it gives peace of mind.
Think about the last time you ordered a pizza from someone else. They probably gave you an estimate. But you never knew exactly when it was coming. How many times are you disappointed at it taking longer than you expected? Conversely, have you had the pizza delivery person show up, and you don’t have your payment ready?
Domino’s solves this through combining transparency and coolness in one application.
What’s even more amazing is the environment in which they do this. We all have field operations that we struggle to engage in a better customer experience. But Domino’s does this with franchises. And operationalizing anything new through a series of independent businesses is far more difficult than your typical field engagement.
Domino’s isn’t the only company offering transparency, of course. Amazon offers the ability to receive texts at major milestones in their shipping experience. I order a lot through Amazon, and more than once have been alerted by the company before I realized that UPS had dropped off a package. While they don’t have the cool tracker that Dominos has, their notification system provides the same functionality, while fitting their specific experience better, since I’m unlikely to watch the tracker for the two days it takes them to send me my product. This may change once the local-delivery business matures.
These lessons extend far beyond pizza or package delivery, applying to almost any customer experience.
For example, when we studied the radiology experience, Domino’s provided inspiration for our clients’ patients. “Why can’t we get a notification like Amazon gives us once our results are to our doctor?” one participant asked. “That way I know when to call the office, and they don’t have to call me.”
Similarly, when we studied the support journey for a B2B software company, their customers shared, “I’d love to see where our support ticket is in their process, just like with Domino’s. ‘Bob received the ticket, then assigned it to Jane. Jane is currently researching the problem.’” You probably have phases such as this in your workflow – who will be the first to provide this transparency to their customers?
There are three critical steps to providing this transparency: Standardize processes, create buy-in, and optimize communication.
Standardizing processes may be the hardest step – or possibly the easiest. Most franchisors train on a standard process, and many require that all locations adhere to it. Franchise locations have often solved this problem already – although not all have.
But this is something you should be looking for, anyway. Standardizing processes is often a first step towards continual improvement – so use this as another reason to move that along.
Creating buy-in takes time. Transparency will scare your teams. What if Jane is always really slow at researching issues? Do we have to share her name? Maybe that will lead customers to request one person, or to request avoiding another.
You will have to decide how to do this at your organization – it certainly won’t be exactly like Domino’s or Amazon. And that will take time. Rely on your governance to help push this along. If you don’t have customer governance established, this may be hard.
Optimizing communication. The communication will vary for each company, from the browser or app that Domino’s uses to text messages used by both companies. Emails are another common method.
Test ideas out first. Emails may be welcome – or considered spam. Text messages may be welcomed, or create significant annoyance. Existing knowledge is helpful, but survey questions probably aren’t your best friend. It’s hard to predict how we’ll react to a new email showing us how things are happening. Instead, test with a small subset of customers to get the idea just right, then (and only then) expand it to your larger base.
Giving your customers more transparency to your internal processes will certainly cause anxiety. I’m sure many franchisees at Domino’s were worried about showing what was actually happening at their pizzerias. But it’s a great way to engage your customers.
Granted, not every customer goes to Domino’s website or monitors their app, and I’m sure many opt out of Amazon’s shipping notifications. It’s the engaged customers who keep the notification – the ones who really care about the brands.
And isn’t that who you’re most trying to serve?