To be honest, I’m not lovin’ McDonald’s food! However, I’m lovin’ their plans to overhaul their Customer Experience to regain the 500 million lost customer visits. McDonald’s plan to upgrade to the “Experience of the Future “ has much to teach us all about how to adapt to the changing expectations of today’s discerning (and demanding) customers.
McDonald’s rolls out the new experience to 2,500 U.S. locations by fourth quarter 2017. They are adding meal delivery, app-based mobile ordering, curbside pickup and a facelift to the stores. In the dining room, they will also use self-serve kiosks and have employees deliver food to the table when it’s ready.
Why Easy is Crucial to Customer Experience
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An easy experience is essential to a brand, particularly in the fast food business. It serves as a competitive differentiator. Also, being easy is indicative of a consistent experience. In fact, this easy concept is so significant to delivering exemplary Customer Experiences that I included it as one of the 7 imperatives in my latest book, The Intuitive Customer, co-written with Professor Ryan Hamilton of Emory University.
In my book, we discuss why customers behave the way they do; more specifically, how psychology affects customer behavior. Customers want to make decisions without having to think about them a lot. It takes energy to decide something rationally. Your brand’s consistency becomes what the customer remembers about your brand and compels them to return for more of the same without all that energy-depleting thinking.
If there is one thing that McDonald’s understands, it’s consistency. They built their brand on providing a consistent experience. Customers know what they are getting at McDonald’s whether they order it in Des Moines or Detroit.
However, because customers are more demanding and the competition is more intense, providing an easy experience requires more than consistency these days. People expect a certain amount of technology in their Customer Experience today.
McDonald’s recognizes the shift in customer expectations—especially since 500 million times their customers shifted over to the competition. McDonald’s also recognizes an area in their experience due for an upgrade.
“To bring customers into the restaurants, McDonald’s must matter to people and be relevant in their daily lives,” the company’s press release said. “To do so, McDonald’s is accelerating digital capabilities and enhancing its use of technology in restaurants, in the drive-thru, and on the go.”
McDonald’s Goes Mobile
Mobile Apps are more common than ever. Clutch, a business research firm, reported in their data published this month that 67% of small- and medium-sized businesses plan to develop an app as part of their Customer Experience. Why? To improve their customer service.
Some digital experience experts compare the customer’s mobile device to a remote control used to engage with brands. Using mobile apps, customers have the function they value in transactional experiences, such as ordering fast food. Moreover, it’s easy.
McDonald’s press release uses the words “on the go,” referring to a mobile app. The mobile order and pay will be launched around the world by the end of this year. The app allows customers to place orders to pick up curbside and communicate profile information and saved preferences to the kiosks when the customer is in the dining room. It simplifies ordering, making it easy.
Delivering the Goods
Delivery is key for McDonald’s food in other part of the world, mostly Asian countries. Last year, China’s delivery business grew by 30%. Does anyone else find it entertaining that in China they order American Take Out?
McDonald’s sees delivery as a huge opportunity for growth outside of China and other Asian countries. McDonald’s is everywhere and not just everywhere in the U.S. When McDonald’s surveyed their major markets, they found that nearly 75% of the population of these areas lives within three miles of a location. With that type of market coverage, McDonald’s could have an easier time deliver the goods for delivery. The question will be whether that is the type of easy their customers want.
The truth is, my visits are among the 500 million that didn’t happen since 2012 for McDonald’s. Building on their consistency by making it easy to order, have delivered, and enhancing the digital capabilities to provide the “Experience of the Future” could win back some of their lost customers.
What do you think? Are you lovin’ McDonald’s plans to enhance digital capabilities and the Experience of the Future enough to go back? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.
Learn more about improving your Customer Experience and, like McDonalds, make it an ‘Experience of the future’. Register now for Beyond Philosophy’s Customer Experience Essentials training course.