An abbreviation for Interactive Voice Response, an IVR system is the automated greeting we hear when we call many businesses. You know, “Press 1 for sales, 2 for support…”
While it’s a relatively old technology, the emergence of all things “in the Cloud” mean small businesses (and I mean really small businesses – the kind that fit onto 4 wheels) can have an IVR system that’s super cheap and very easy to set-up and change.
So why taco trucks?
In metro areas across the country, the rise of food trucks has seen a surge in both supply of food vendors as well as the consumers who want them. In fact, in many ways it seems like a cultural evolution of sorts, where Americans are discovering “street food” as commonly found in other parts of the World.
But in many places such as San Francisco, during lunch time the taco trucks are horribly inefficient. During the two hour period between 11am and 1pm, the popular trucks have lines that literally curb around the city block, with wait times of over 30 mins.
Some taco truck owners are getting creative about tweeting their locations on a daily basis (since they change frequently) but that’s not really efficient considering that not all of their customers necessarily use twitter. And that’s not the only inefficiency –
A) Wait times of over 10 minutes means trucks are turning away all but the most loyal of customers.
B) Changing locations means that only those who use twitter can find out their next location.
C) To go orders (since they’re all to go orders) can’t be ordered ahead of time.
Solution? An IVR system. Here’s how to set it up –
1) It’s a shameless plug, but I really do love the Halloo IVR system. It’s pennies a day, very reliable voice quality (read: not Voice over IP) and it’s super simple to set up or change.
2) Create a greeting menu on the IVR where owners announce where the taco truck is going to be for the day. If the schedule is known a week ahead of time, announce it right away.
3) Allow callers to push an extension (say, #1) and get a live person or a voicemail where they can leave their order. That way, folks can call ahead and avoid waiting in line while truck owners have an idea of food volume they’re going to sell that day. It will also allow corporate accounts to call in and put in bulk orders! Never underestimate the power of business buyers who purchase in bulk.
4) Set up the IVR system so that callers can be forwarded to any cell phone. With Cloud-based IVR systems, corporate orders can be forwarded to one cell phone, general inquiries can be forwarded to another cell phone, etc. Your cell phones, in essence, become your business phone system – and smart phones are not required.
5) Get a toll free or local number and place it on the truck. Seriously, owners spend a lot of money and time painting pigs (for bacon) the Korean flag (Korean tacos) or anything else that their truck sells – why not the phone number so customers can actually give you their money?
For the cost of a couple of taco truck lunches a month, truck owners can make more money, sell more food and create more happy customers. Try it, it’s easy!