Whether you’re a pharmacy, bank, restaurant or other business looking to create or expand the value of your drive-thru services, your success comes down to three factors: accessibility, security and reliability.
The transaction is at the center of the drive-thru experience, so it makes sense that these three factors all directly impact the transaction. In their totality, they affect customer and employee satisfaction, and in doing so, have a direct impact on your bottom line.
You can’t execute transactions without giving customers access to your staff and products. That should be obvious. Accessibility becomes a problem when it’s not easy or when it’s inconvenient. You may have a drive-thru, but if you only have one lane open and a line of cars around the block, you are falling short of providing easy, convenient accessibility.
There’s more to accessibility than just moving customers through a line, though. Do customers have the ability to communicate their needs clearly and completely? That means two-way audio, and in some cases, even video. Consider pharmacies, for example. A second or third lane can provide value by expediting access, but customers are going to have questions about the medication they are receiving. If they can’t ask those questions, the pharmacy has failed to deliver a fully satisfying experience. In other words, accessibility isn’t just the ability to transact; it’s the ability to transact and interact.
Much like accessibility, there are a few angles to look at when considering security: your staff, your customers and the items being transferred between the two (whether that’s paperwork, money, medications, food, etc).
Let’s start with your staff. When looking at lane one drive-thru, draws and windows are the primary concern. If you’re a bank, pharmacy or dispensary, glass needs to provide some level of bullet resistance and draws need to be built in such a way as to prevent someone from sticking a weapon through the draw and threatening workers inside.
From a customer perspective, lighting and security equipment are important. Also ensuring draws or any equipment that may, at times, cross into areas where vehicles pull through are clearly visible so drivers don’t side-swap them (trust us, it happens more than you’d think).
When it comes to items moving in and out of the building, you’re really looking at protecting those items from the elements. Condensation or water getting into pneumatic tubes or conveyors can damage paperwork or product, not to mention the equipment itself.
The net impact of these concepts of security are that they speak to the experience directly, both internally and externally. People don’t want to work somewhere they don’t feel safe, and people don’t want to drive-thru a location where they feel unsafe or their products are at risk. It’s all about employee retention and customer retention.
Reliability is fairly straightforward: You can’t execute transactions if your equipment is down. For multi-lane drive-thrus, one lane being down backs up other lanes, increasing wait times and souring the customer experience. When you look at drive-thru as a service, you’re really putting your staff in a bad position as well. Angry customers can make life difficult for workers. Again, we’re this goes to both customer and employee retention.
Forging a Path to Success
It takes a focus or, at the very least, consideration of all three of these factors to create a successful drive-thru. Some will be ongoing—reliability requires regular maintenance checks—while others are decided when you are selecting the solutions for your drive-thru, such as bullet-resistant glass for security. Regardless, a holistic approach to drive-thru that emphasizes outcomes around experience is ultimately what will determine the success of your business.