Is the “Estimated Delivery Time” on the Faasos App a gimmick?

Jaideep CEO

Before we get onto proving that “estimated delivery time” on the Faasos app is actually a piece of technology (one which we are all proud of at Faasos) let us just first establish why we need it at all, in the first place. After all, any innovation that does not result in superior customer experience is pretty useless.

Right from the start of our journey c.a. 2011, “delivery time” and questions like “Kitne time me ayega” has been a concern for both us and the customers. The question “how much time will it take?” has haunted us forever and we don’t think even drone deliveries can help. I’ll tell you why.

Because, there are several issues with such an approach. They are:

  1. Estimating the time to delivery during Order Taking: The representative does not always have an idea about what the customer’s exact location is or what the traffic situation is between store and customer’s location. She also does not have a very accurate idea about how many orders are pending in the kitchen and the approximate time it will take to prepare this particular customer’s order. The answer she gives is actually, at best, a guesstimate without any accuracy!
  2. Post Order Placement: In most cases, after placing the order, the customer goes on with her life. Like she should. But a minute in real world is about 5 minutes in the hungry world and after about 20 odd minutes {which is about 1 hour and 40 minutes in the hungry world} she realises that the food is still not there: surely she is losing her cool! Result: The experience of ordering for food and getting it delivered becomes the most stressful waiting experiences ever.
  3. The people at the outlet are also under tremendous stress. Instead of focusing on incoming orders and ensuring that orders go out beautifully- on time and with right quality- they get busy handling customer queries / calls etc. which has a serious impact on their ability to give great service and product. This by far is the biggest anti-customer aspect of this to-and-fro tele calling in the name of customer service.

So, when we slowly transformed into a primarily app based business, one of our first problems to the tech team was “how can we completely remove all these uncertainties, stress, phone calls and loss of focus on product and service from the Faasos experience?”. The tech team’s ( we seriously think we have the best in the world ) answer was “estimated delivery time” and “tracking against that time”.

By the way, we did weigh in a “Fixed time guarantee”, but we don’t think there is a bigger fraud than that in food business :). Most of the time you, as a customer, are caught unaware by the 15 different T&C – not applicable on x,y,z, not applicable during evening, lunch, weekend (basically whenever you are ordering), not applicable on more that three items (which is when you have guests over and need the order on time) etc etc. So, we said what is the purpose of giving a guarantee that we are not sure of keeping given the massive number of variables?

Anyways, coming back here is what the tech team proposed and delivered. And we, probably the first time in the world, introduced Estimated Delivery Time with 97% accuracy:

  1. When someone orders on Faasos, at the end of the order, the app estimates the delivery time based on:
    • The distance between the delivery address and our fulfilment center where the order will be dispatched from
    • The traffic situation between the two locations
    • The current load at the center ( if you are second in the queue v/s if you are 15th – it makes a difference )
    • The preparation times for each of the individual items that you are ordering
  2. Before you press your final “place order” button, you will actually see this “estimated time” and can decide whether you want to proceed with the order or not. After all, it’s totally up-to you,  the customer, to decide as to what is the maximum amount of time you should wait for your food.Screenshot_2016-04-15-15-25-31
  3. If you decide to go ahead and order, an order tracking appears on your screen and you can see a clock ticking away towards your estimated time. Which means, even if you are not watching the time, intermittently you can check the tracker and see how much time is left before the “Estimated Time” for delivery is lapsed. So, that saves you a phone call and saves the outlet another unnecessary interaction, when they should focus on getting great quality food out of the door as quickly as possible. Also, you get periodic updates on your order such as “Food getting cooked”, “out for delivery” etc. based on where the food is.1 (1)
  4. Right at the stroke of the “Estimated Time”, you get a message asking “ Have you got your order?” 97% of the cases today, we get an affirmative answer, which means for about 3% of the cases we were wrong about the Estimated Time, or something catastrophic may have happened and we got late. If the customer says “no” in answer to that question, a notification immediately goes to our Customer Service Center, who gets on the job of finding out what happened to the order. As soon as the whereabouts of the order is established, the customer gets a call / text back conveying the situation and the revised estimated time (mostly 5-10 more minutes).Orders - track order - done

So, that’s how “Estimated Time” works. It is not a gimmick. It is accurate to the tune of 97%. And it has helped us secure the following as a business:

  • A 4.3 rating on service out of 5 across more than few millions responses
  • A 4* + rating on android play store – probably the only food delivery app in India at this scale ( 2 mn+ downloads )
  • Ranked as one of the most innovative companies in the world by Fast Company* (http://www.fastcompany.com/company/faasos)
  • 87% reduction in support calls and associated costs
  • 100% of our stores now are without a dedicated customer phone rep ( our people are all multitaskers )

Keep watching this space. There are more “world’s first” that have been cracked by the Faasos team. We will unveil those one by one.

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