This week when I was in the Tim Hortons drive through line, a very very famous Canadian coffee/donut chain, and I noticed something very peculiar. When I got to the order kiosk in my car, a very friendly voice greeted me and talked about their latest breakfast ordering. Nothing out of the ordinary, the tone of the voice might have been a little more pleasant than usual, but nothing too unusual. Anyone whose ever worked as a cashier knows that after saying “Hi. How may I help you” many times over, that you get a little less enthusiastic with time. Anyways, like I said nothing too too special, so I went ahead and proceeded with my order. However once I had finished another voice came on to give me my total and tell me to drive forward.
That was odd. At first I thought maybe I was in the middle of an employee shift change, or that maybe I had missed something entirely. However because my car window was still opened when I drove up, I could hear the next car as they drove up to the booth and the same very friendly voice started with the exact promotional description of their new breakfast menu item. The person ordered, and again the second voice came back to give the amount and tell the person to drive forward. Then as I moved up further, although I could barely hear, I did notice the same pattern again.
What’s interesting about this is that it’s the first time I’ve personally seen a company use an automated greeting at a drive through (I’ve heard of order being taken in another country, but not an automated greeting). But what’s VERY interesting is that it seems to be very effective! Why not do this? Firstly you’re guaranteed that every single drive through customer will get a very pleasant greeting. Second, you know that whatever you’re trying to promote will be promoted. Thirdly, you will get exactly the corrent content and tone you’re looking for, it will be a professional voice. And lastly, other than a few people, no one will really notice it!
Now the question becomes just how effective is this technique? I don’t know, only Tim Hortons knows this. But from anecdotal evidence, I can say that the last time I was at Timmie’s (as it’s affectionately nicknamed in Canada), I saw many people ordering this new breakfast menu item. Possibly it’s due to TV commercials, possibly to other marketing avenues, but this definitely can’t be hurting its sales conversions.
Even if it isn’t that effective, the cost of using this technique can’t be very expensive! And as a worse case scenario, you get a consistent and standard greeting that’s guaranteed for all locations. It’s great to see companies trying and testing new marketing techniques in the wild. I suspect this one will become more and more common with time, at least until it’s overused.