McDonald’s Recognizes Need to Revive Quality Customer Service
We already knew that McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) is going back to basics with its Bacon Clubhouse burger, but we didn’t realize the chain is also trying to get back to the roots of quality customer service. Chief Financial Officer Pete Bensen spoke at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference in New York on Tuesday, and along with his assertion that McDonald’s is now refocusing on its core business and promoting its breakfast menu, he voiced the need for the chain to prioritize providing fast, friendly service.
McDonald’s rolled out a number of new novelty menu items in 2013, including the Mighty Wings, Egg White McMuffin, and McWrap, but as the company focused its attention on those launches, Bensen admitted Tuesday that it lost sight of its customer-satisfaction guarantee in many ways. According to the Wall Street Journal, the CFO said that while McDonald’s was busy navigating its new menu options in 2013, it had “service and some customer-satisfaction issues that were actually detracting from the sales.”
That’s a big problem for McDonald’s, considering it prides itself on fast and friendly service, and it could explain why CEO Don Thompson admitted in January that the chain had lost relevance with many of its customers. Thompson noted in his conference call at the beginning of the year that McDonald’s had overcomplicated its menu, leading to customer service pitfalls, and he said, in the future, “The key is going to really be to re-establish the trust of customers.” He also went on to say, “That means basic execution at a restaurant level, marketing engagement at a much stronger level, and also to make sure that our menu is relevant.”
Now, three months into 2014, the need to get back to the basics of providing fast, friendly service is still there. According to the Wall Street Journal, McDonald’s is now devoting the first six months of 2014 to ensuring that its restaurants have sufficient levels of staffing to make sure customers receive fast and accurate service. Getting consumers’ orders right and making sure they’re pleased with their service is very important to the Oak Brook, Illinois-based chain, and although Bensen admits that the new focus “sounds mundane,” he also recognizes the necessity of it. He maintained that improvements in customer service can have a significant impact on sales.
The Wall Street Journal also reported Wednesday that McDonald’s is now reorganizing its marketing efforts so it can more effectively target consumer groups such as millennials, families, and adults. The chain recognizes that each of its different groups of customers are now craving different things, and that’s why splitting them into different groups is more effective than splitting food into different product categories like beef and chicken.
McDonald’s is still hoping that the new Bacon Clubhouse burger goes over well with all its customers, no matter their age. The company definitely knows a thing or two about burgers, so while it wasn’t exactly successful with its Mighty Wings or other seasonal offerings, its executives are confident that the chain’s new burger will remind customers why they have always loved McDonald’s so much.