retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that McDonald's executives, in a recent webcast with franchisees, pushed them "to improve staffing and service amid mounting complaints about rude employees."

In the presentation, the executives said that "1 in 5 customer complaints are related to friendliness issues ," and it is getting worse.

According to the story, "The webcast identified the top complaint as 'rude or unprofessional employees.'

"One slide said that complaints about speed of service 'have increased significantly over the past six months.' Another mentioned that customers find service 'chaotic.'

"'Service is broken,' said a slide from part of the webcast delivered by Steve Levigne, vice president of business research for McDonald's USA."

The story goes on: "The reason behind the rise in customer complaints is unclear, but some franchisees say it could be partly because customers now have more ways to supply feedback. In recent years, the company has added an email address to its food packaging where customers can direct complaints, and restaurants in some regions of the country have recently started asking customers to fill out an online survey, using information on their receipts.

"High employee turnover also could be a contributor. While McDonald's declined to comment on its turnover, fast-food restaurants have an average annual turnover rate of 60%, according to a 2010 report from the National Restaurant Association."
KC's View:
The part about this story that makes me crazy is the suggestion by the franchisees that the real problem is that customers now have more ways to make their displeasure known.

No!

The real problem is that your service often sucks. If you weren't hearing that before, then maybe you just weren't paying attention. The ability of consumers to make their opinions and feelings known is not your enemy ... it is your friend, because it allows you to embrace the problem and fix it.