The Outsized Impact of Drive-thru Accessories on Customer Experience

Drive-thru Equipment Accessories Impact Customer Experience
Sure, retail drive-thru relies on the big pieces of equipment working right: drawers need to open and close, remote lane conveyors need to function properly so products, credit cards and money don’t get trapped somewhere, pneumatic tube systems need to be operational to keep traffic moving, and so on. While it’s tempting to say customer experience starts and stops with big, visible transaction equipment, there’s more to the equation.

Whether it’s pharmacies, banks, dispensaries, restaurants—any drive-thru service, really—the little things have as much to do with customer experience as the big things. And it’s not just customer experience, but it’s the experience your staff navigates on a daily basis as well. You know, the experience that goes a long way in determining how long your employees want to stay your employees?

On either side of the transaction, “experience” is the cumulative effect of people, tools and processes working together. What we’re going to explore in this article is how some of those tools—the less-thought of ones—affect your customers and your ability to do business.

Lane Lights
Let’s start with a gimme. Lane lights on a multi-lane drive-thru are table stakes when it comes to customer expectations, especially if you’re talking about banking. The value of signage should be pretty apparent, but here’s something our engineers say isn’t always apparent: running electricity through the overhang prior to your lane light install date.

There are a few facets to video that businesses need to consider, even in cases where video is not a requirement. First and foremost, if you are a dispensary or pharmacy, in-store staff are legally required to see who is in the vehicle prior to executing a transaction in some cases. So there’s reason Number One. Beyond that, video humanizes the experience for your customers and creates a more confident experience overall.

Vehicle Detectors
If you don’t believe in investing in vehicle detectors, ask someone who has made the switch from cameras and mirrors to an alert system based on vehicle detectors how much it improved their process. The basic capabilities you’re enhancing here is responsiveness and attentiveness on the part of your staff. But, consider this: motion or light-based vehicle detection systems can trigger false alarms, leading to frustrated staff. Magnetically triggered vehicle detectors are a much more effective solution in that regard.

This is the biggie. You have to be able to talk to your customers. Especially your remote lane customers. This one is all about communication. Audio can be tricky in certain conditions or climates, so consider audio solutions that cancel background noise and/or operate well when weather is at its worst.

Card Readers
The world is getting more cashless every day. Whether you’re installing drawers or conveyors or both, you need to give customers the ability to pay for services/products in the drive-thru as opposed to handing the card over to a teller who will handle it and run it out of their view. Hey, we all know you trust your employees, but you can’t have a positive customer experience if security is a question mark. Consider custom boxes or frames for card readers/POS systems to protect them from vandals, scammers and weather. Again: It’s all about security and confidence!

The Bottom Line
Consider the totality of all of these solutions. Make them all work together, and they will create a customer experience for your customers and your staff that protects revenue for your business.