The story behind McDonald’s new focus on improving service is informative for professional communicators on several fronts:
· McDonald’s executives reduced their analysis of the company’s recent earnings slump with a PowerPoint slide that had three, plain non-jargon words: “Service is Broken.” If that ain’t clear, we don’t know what is. At CommCore we advise our clients that complexity must be reduced to effectively communicate messages that will resonate rather than confuse, and lead to actions and a solution. Kudos to the executive team for breaking their “problem” down to a simple core message that defines the issue starkly.
· The executives recognized that customers now have more ways to supply quick feedback about poor service, including e-mail, the Web and social media. In today’s world of real-time electronic communications a problem can turn to a crisis in a nanosecond if it isn’t recognized and dealt with quickly. Prompt engagement of customers and employees across multiple communications platforms is critical to any successful organizational campaign.
· They immediately pinpointed the nub of the problem – 90% of McDonald’s 14,000 stores are independently operated. That helped identify the challenge ahead as McDonald’s seeks to redress its second-to-last ranking in quality of customer service – communicating with and motivating the franchisees to commit to improving service.
The writer George Bernard Shaw famously said that problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place. Astute internal analysis and laser-like messaging such as McDonald’s ensures that all stakeholders get the message. Now the challenge is what they do with the message and suggestions for improvements.