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Why Customer Centricity is at the Heart of McDonald’s

McDonald’s is making big changes to how it handles customer service.

In recent years, the company has suffered declining customer satisfaction levels and sales. Former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson announced in 2014 that improved customer service needed to become a top priority for the brand: “You will see changes in our customer service model as we work to create more memorable experiences and to deliver an unparalleled convenience.”

Based on customer feedback, the fast food giant set about to initiate a variety of changes in its effort to improve customer satisfaction:

  • Burger customization with premium ingredients.
  • Self-order kiosks to improve order accuracy.
  • Improved mobile-ordering services.
  • Table service in some locations.

At McDonald’s, customer-centricity has officially become the order of the day with the 75 year old company making changes at every touch point, from menu to marketing to restaurants.

Using Customer Data to Improve Satisfaction

Having ranked dead last in the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index for two straight years, McDonald’s has come to realize that the only way forward is to listen to its customers.

Limited Services Restaurants ASCi Scores

New CEO Steve Easterbrook announced plans earlier this year to strip away unnecessary layers of management and focus more on listening to customers, all in an effort to more quickly and effectively respond to customers’ changing tastes.

To improve overall functionality, McDonald’s has increased efforts to capture more and better data with regards to customer feedback and satisfaction. The company measures satisfaction levels at both the national and franchise level across multiple channels: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and customer satisfaction surveys. They then synchronize the data, creating a clear picture of the customer journey. With this information, McDonald’s is better positioned to identify critical points of interaction and, in real time, address problems which cause customer friction.

And to increase overall transparency, the company encourages discussion on social media, enabling customers to make menu suggestions or ask any questions they have about the quality of the food, a long standing point of criticism for the brand. For example, customer feedback is directly responsible for the company’s recent announcement that it plans to discontinue using caged chickens to produce eggs. In addition, it will serve breakfast throughout the day. According to a company press release, “more than 120,000 people tweeted McDonald’s asking for breakfast throughout the day in the past year alone.”

Modern Day Customer Service

Some financial experts blame McDonald’s dwindling sales on the fact that the company has failed to acknowledge the changing tastes and ideals of customers, unlike competitors In-N-Out Burger and Chipotle, both of which receive consistently high marks for customer service while also managing to provide inexpensive and quick food.

Simply put, the McDonald’s model was created for a different kind of customer in a bygone era, a customer who accepted that McDonald’s prepared its food ahead of time, so that when the customer arrived, it was ready to eat. But today’s consumer has evolved, rejecting the cookie-cutter delivery model of the past in favor of innovation and indivualisation. If McDonald’s is unable to provide a customer with a gluten-free hamburger topped with locally grown produce, then the customer will take his business elsewhere. 

That said, today, McDonald’s is joining a growing list of company’s who are choosing to embrace a more customer-centered approach to doing business. McDonald’s has come to realize that ensuring customer satisfaction is its most important commodity.

A vast social network presence is giving McDonald’s customers plenty of opportunities to sound off about the company. And McDonald’s is listening. According to U.S. CMO, Deborah Wahl, “ We are moving from a philosophy of ‘billions served’ to ’billions heard’. Today, we are working harder than ever to evolve with our customers. ”

 

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