CUSTOMER CARE AT McDONALD'S
Customer Care at McDonald’s
This paper is about the analysis of customer care service in specific organizations. The writer has chosen McDonald’s as its company. For the first part, a brief overview on customer care is presented to introduce the readers to the main topic. As it approaches the middle part, the actual application of the customer care concepts in McDonald’s is discussed. Topics included are the specific practices and policies of McDonald’s in extending superior product and customer service to its internal and external customers, issues relating to customer service and examples of their treatment regarding the said issues, and others. For the last part, a conclusion/recommendation section is added to formally end up the discussion.
The Importance of Customer Service
What is the importance of quality customer service in a business’ success? As experts on customer service says, anybody can compete on a product. You can differentiate your price, product, etc. However, you also need to consider differentiating your service. Excellent customer service combined with efficiency is the best tool for any type of business in any type of industry. Nevertheless, fundamental principles in the art of customer service vary for every culture and race. Certain factors like culture, history, religion and others require customization or modification for some principles. That is why they should be considered in identifying what specific practices are acceptable in extending customer service for specific customers in a specific country or race.
Customer Service at McDonald’s
The success of McDonald’s, since its first opening up to the present, can be attributed to its very strong culture that bonds together its franchisees. Their main driver in everything they accomplished is people, from the brand ambassadors of their customers (employees) up to the customers themselves.
Organizational culture is a relatively enduring, interdependent symbolic system of values, beliefs, and assumptions evolving from and imperfectly shared through organizational members’ interaction allowing them to ascribe common meanings to the encountered stimuli in the organizational context. These functions are accomplished by mediating the implicit and explicit rules that act as cultural warrants. Simply stated, it is the way things are done around the place. And for McDonald’s, their vision statement is Quality, Service, Convenience, and Value (QSCV). These beliefs are their shared value system, which forms the basis of all its business decisions.
McDonald’s Hamburger University
As the restaurant wants to be known for its consistent high quality food and uniform methods of preparation, the Hamburger University is created to train unskilled people to follow the McDonald’s formula. Through this, they can ensure repeated business based on the system’s reputation rather than a single store/operator’s quality. The specific things taught at the said university ranges from the making and serving of a hamburger, quality control, all through its way of dealing with customers and crews.
They are also taught to possess and practice strong traditional values like loyalty, dedication, and service in maintaining the family-like culture of McDonald’s. This culture is reinforced continually through inspection and administering of contests that determines who among its sets of franchises best reaches McDonald’s standards. They are honored in a ceremony where these franchises and regional associations feel their oneness as a big family.
The manuals of the McDonald’s employees not only emphasize the organization’s motto and QSCV, it also spells out everything they need to know to perform their tasks efficiently. It includes detailed rules on cleaning, food preparation and employee’s grooming and hygiene. They help ensure efficiency, predictability, and control in the production and customer service.
McDonald’s Three Strategic Priorities
Three strategic priorities of McDonald’s are integrated in their core values. The first one relates to its emphasis on their profitable value-meal combinations as a way of enhancing their message of McDonald’s value-driven motive in behalf of its customers. Second is to provide exceptional customer care by exceeding their expectations, which includes finding ways to add personal touches that go beyond convenient locations, quick service, clean restaurants, and quality products. Lastly, to remain an efficient producer without sacrificing quality, by searching on different innovations in food processing, construction, and design operations that will increase global profits.
The management style of McDonald’s is described as “tight-loose”, meaning it is the corporation that sets the overall quality standards, while the franchisees are given the freedom to make localized decisions. The Filet O’ Fish and the Egg McMuffin, and other new product innovations are examples that originated with the franchisees. Recently, McDonald’s has expanded their efforts in developing new products, in response to nutritional concerns of the customers. However, their concern focuses on maintaining their niche of “serving a small number of products that have mass appeal.”
In connection to their profitable value-meal combinations, the ad campaign “Great Food at a Great Value” successfully promoted the said product. Along with other ad campaigns, their $1 billion marketing budget has aided McDonald’s in maintaining its level of consumer awareness as the second-best-known global brand. As described by its customers compared to its competitors, they are the easiest and best place that satisfies customers and gives best value. Thus, McDonald’s emphasizes more on customer convenience. It can be manifested in their self-description as a leader in the industry of quick service, rather than in the fast food industry.
For a typical McDonald’s, there are roughly 2,000 people served per day, 60-70 percent of which comes from take-out orders. To be able to achieve its goal of preparing hot and fresh food, and serving it within two minutes to its customers, McDonald’s rely heavily on the ability of its service crews. To do this, the McDonald’s engineering department has designed a specific layout and equipment for its restaurants. One important component of its operational strategies is the anticipation of customer traffic patterns and food selection based on a detailed history sales and trends analysis. They used the said information in the preparation of various menu items in the right quantities at the right time, in order to have the food ready for the customers’ arrival. Food may be stored in the bin for about ten minutes before disposal.
In retaining its position being the world’s best quick service restaurant, managers need to spend more time with their staff and customers while gathering the needed information. For the McDonald’s in the UK, “BusinessObjects” is their main source of quick information.
“BusinessObjects” (BO) serves as its integrated query, reporting, and analysis solution. It delivers rapid information via an intranet. They have access on Oracle database that holds information on restaurant’s performance to be able to create suitable reports overnight such as sales, income statement, and business controls to customer contacts and the speed of service of the Drive-Thru. It lets the company track, understand, and manage its business performance well. As the company’s corporate culture is built upon the measurement of product and service quality, BO enables the proactive management of the company, of its restaurants’ performance, improved its effectiveness, as well as the introduction of new measures like the basket analysis, in enhancing promotional activities.
The said system also allows the identification of possible problems in specific restaurants. Upon knowing the situation, it can be resolved in the soonest time possible. Furthermore, through the faster collection of the information needed by the management, restaurant managers are more concentrated on customer service.
As a result, significant improvements are accomplished in the customer contacts. Some five hundred stores even achieved a zero complaint for more than two consecutive months. The focus on customer service is enhanced through the information acquired from the three monthly visits of the “Mystery Shopper” in each restaurant. The qualitative information reported via BO ranges from criteria such as the crew’s friendly greeting, wearing of name badge, and the restaurant’s overall cleanliness.
Due to the increased competition and price sensitivity, proactive management of new promotions is also essential in maximizing the sales of the promoted products. On the other hand, the sales of other products should not suffer the consequences. While at the same time, the ever-growing customer requirements should also be met constantly.
Issues on McDonald’s Customer Care Service
The Use of Company Blogs
Blog technology is what best describes this type, instead of a public blog. This has been the focus of many leading organizations around the world, including McDonald’s. They have been using the said software in revamping internal communications, reaching out to its suppliers, and remaking of corporate Intranets. What makes them an attractive form of communication is its nature of being an interactive type and cheaper deployment. They are a means of organizing a company’s knowledge.
The very main reason why blogs supplants the traditional corporate Intranets is its easy set-up and cheaper cost of running. In addition, they are designed to change daily and most important, to receive comments from the public. Meaning, as traditional corporate Intranets are static, blogs are the ones that has the capacity to generate conversations.
The first corporate blog launched at McDonald’s is the one used by its Chief Operating Officer Michael Roberts. He used it for purposes of spreading information through the global operations of his company and receiving feedback. Nowadays, McDonald’s is distributing to its employees blog access, to be used in reporting daily operations worldwide. The only question now is when they will extend the said blogs to outsiders, such as its customers. For this case, they can use it as a means of marketing their product. People are willing to provide all types of demographic information on blogs, which can be further used in providing more customized services and advertisements to its targeted customers.
Companies interested in the opening of such blogs to the public face plenty of risks involved. Rivals of the company can use it in spreading malicious rumors that can damage the image of the company. On the contrary, if criticisms appear on the said blogs, companies can learn quickly and respond from this. For giants such as McDonald’s, a lot of considerations are needed, as the use of the said blogs is a big gamble that needs strategic move on the company’s part.
McDonald’s Soft Drink Issue
A lot of studies and researches are done to figure out the specific reason why people order smaller drink sizes in the drive-thru compared to inside. Whether it is the cup-holder size, the tendency of getting hot before you finish it, or the possibility of not finishing the drink before reaching destination, all these obvious reasons are results of a failed study. Even simple reasons such as worries on spilling and peeing are not enough in proving the real reason behind the issue. Only more complex researches such as commercial ethnography can give justifiable answers to such issues, and all we can do is wait for that time to come.
Customer service is important in the success of any business. It is as important as the company’s product. In building strong customer relationships, factors such as trust, knowledge, efficiency, and friendliness are important considerations. People like to do business with people they trust. Trust is built through personal experiences as well as other people’s recommendations. That is why it is important to treat your customers well. They are the bloodline of your company. Trust is the number one way to build and retain your customer base. Second, people prefer doing business with people who know what they are talking about, making them reliable at the same time. And for the third and last factor, people want doing business where their precious time is not wasted, and with people who are friendly and approachable, making them sensible to deal with.
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