Last week for the Optimise Your Business series we looked at raising the efficiency of client queries in an accounting firm. This week the example is in retail, with the catalyst a move from a manual, multiple-step payment to a more efficient – and more expensive – online method.
Suppertime is a home delivery service in Sydney’s eastern suburbs which picks up orders from local restaurants. On a busy night Suppertime and its alcohol delivery arm Jimmy Brings takes calls with up to three staff and its drivers make several hundred deliveries.
The initial process for taking payments over the phone was to write down the customer’s order and their credit card details before manually processing the payment on an EFTPOS card terminal.
This was a laborious process which involved looking up the inventory for the respective restaurant to check the prices, printing out the order, processing the payment on the terminal and then emailing the order to the customer.
The terminal was a bottleneck when three people were processing payments, says Suppertime co-owner Nathan Besser. But it also caused other problems if Suppertime staff took a batch of calls at once.
“Sometimes you’d forget to process a payment or the credit card would decline and you would have to call the customer back a long time after they had placed their order,” Besser says.
Suppertime had to destroy customers’ credit card details after every order because they had no way of storing them securely, as required by law. Repeat customers had to hand over their credit card details each time instead of just confirming another purchase.
The manual process meant it was impossible to track what customers had ordered. It was difficult to give business customers a copy of an invoice for a previous order.
Looking up the inventory for each restaurant was also time-consuming as the staff had to manually calculate prices for each purchase. Suppertime had moved to a single spreadsheet for all its member restaurants but the company had to keep the spreadsheet in sync with the data on each restaurant’s website.
Suppertime and Jimmy Brings moved to an online payment gateway integrated with the delivery services’ websites.
“It’s more expensive to process online than with a physical terminal but we chose online because of the efficiency,” Besser says.
The online gateway, provided by eWay, stored all the credit card information in its highly secure data centre so repeat customers could reorder quickly and easily. Suppertime staff can select from the online inventory which automatically calculates the total and emails the customer.
“We replaced three processes with one. Previously you would have to locate the inventory, take down customer details, print out the order and process the payment and email the customer the invoice. Now we just pay through the gateway,” Besser says.
Image credit: Suppertime