Jones noted that drivers from other route-based businesses might seem like good candidates, but operators must realize that these drivers might think they already know how to run an OCS route.
Jones said it pays to ask prospective candidates questions on the phone before having them in for an interview. One question to ask upfront is the salary expectation.
An important question for any prospective driver is if they can respond quickly to customer comments and concerns, Jones said. “We need people who think fast on their feet,” he said.
He suggested also asking them about their weaknesses. OCS operators want drivers who are confident, but not too confident.
Before hiring a new driver, Jones said to make sure they ride a route with an existing route. This will give both parties — employee and employer — a chance to see if it’s a good match.
He said it also makes sense to have the person first work in the equipment repair center, giving them some equipment training.
Jones encouraged his listeners to recruit prospective candidates even when the company is fully staffed in order to have someone ready when an opening arises.
He suggested asking waiters and waitresses at restaurants if they’re interested in becoming OCS drivers. “If you don’t have a system, it’s a crapshoot,” he said.
He noted his company has not hired one driver from classified ads.
In summarizing the single-serve brewer session, Steve Silha, Midwest regional sales manager for LaVazza Premium Coffee Corp., noted technology is changing the single-serve brewer market. He said cashless payment is an emerging option.
Sustainability of portion control packs is also becoming an issue, Silha noted.
As for marketing single-cup, Silha said many OCS operators have found social networking Websites to be helpful avenues since the target demographic — young people — frequent these Websites.
E-commerce expert offers tips on how to have a good Website
Consider sensible product categories,
search boxes and customer reviews.
Everyone in business today realizes that having a good Website is important, but knowing how customers and potential customers use your Website can be difficult. To address this concern, Richard Smith, president of OCSAccess, an e-commerce solution specifically designed for OCS, presented a session on
e-commerce during the Coffee Summit.
Most OCS Websites list products the company offers. Smith said it is important to organize the products in a way that is easy for the user. A user should be able to click on a product category listing to call up subcategories within that main category listing. He said it’s possible to have three levels of categories without confusing the user. “Don’t overdo it; there is a point where it will actually add confusion,” he said regarding categorization.
One issue that operators often fail to address is how categories are named. Smith said it is important not to use industry specific terms like “frack pack” since it
will confuse many potential customers. “Just because
it’s intuitive to you doesn’t mean it will be to the shopper,” he said.
He said it’s also important to avoid using abbreviations, even if they are common in the industry.
Smith suggested asking someone who doesn’t know your business to try to find something on your Website.
SEARCH BOXES ARE A MUST
Search boxes are important. “No matter how good your navigation is, you have to have the search box,” Smith said. “Some people will use the search no matter how good the categories are.”
Website software usually allows site managers to track searches, which Smith encourages. These tools allow an operator to track the most searched for items.
The search tool can give an operator good marketing insight. “You can learn things from searches; it’s not just for users,” Smith said. He noted that one office products Website allowed users to search for garbage bags by bag thickness. The company learned that its customers often searched for garbage bags by thickness.
Website search functions should allow a user to find what they want even if they misspell a word, Smith noted. He said there are ways the search can find the item using different spellings.