When it comes to customer service from the golden arches, Canada is actually lovin’ it. What’s the secret? Well… they’re nice. Seriously. They’re also honest with their customers, especially via social media, and have managed to turn a major Canadian stereotype into an asset for the company.
Stateside, McDonald’s has a reputation of being notoriously secretive when it comes to answering questions like, “Is your beef actually beef?” The corporate talking heads, even when appearing to be honest and open, tend to spew pre-rehearsed lines that are usually laced with rhetoric designed to gloss over the facts in an effort to preserve their company’s image. Even with scandals of pink slime infested food products and their contribution to the nation’s obesity epidemic, only selective media outlets are given access to the ladder climbing higher ups of the mega corporation.
Through the “Our Food, Your Questions” program launched in June 2012, McDonald’s Canada is talking directly to the people that really matter when it comes to their business—that is, the customers themselves. Canadian customers are encouraged to ask whatever questions they may have about McDonald’s’ food, but to get an answer, they must connect via Twitter or Facebook. This effectively increases McDonald’s social media standings—a concept not all that new in a world filled with customer service and social media integration.
The honesty of McDonald’s Canada’s responses and their willingness to not dodge questions is perhaps what makes this program so successful. It reminds the public that the corporation is in fact run by humans, not faceless, money grubbing, hamburger slinging robots.
Within the first four months of the program, over 16,000 questions were asked and of those, over 10,000 were answered. Not bad at all. So what kinds of inquires were made by curious customers that were actually answered? Surprisingly, when faced with the customer inquiry, “Why does your food look different in the advertising than what’s in the store?” McDonald’s responded, “Thanks for your question. You’re right; it does look a little different. But rather than us telling you with text, let our Director of Marketing, Hope Bagozzi, show you why in this video.” The embedded, three-and-a-half minute video shows details of an actual photo shoot, demonstrating the dark arts of food stylists and retouchers. The video makes it clear that all the ingredients used in the commercial are exactly the same as those used in the restaurants; but it acknowledges, with almost shocking candor, that the product is heavily manipulated for the cameras. The video’s been a huge hit on YouTube.
The honesty of McDonald’s Canada’s responses and their willingness to not dodge questions is perhaps what makes this program so successful. It reminds the public that the corporation is in fact run by humans, not faceless, money grubbing, hamburger slinging robots. Sometimes, the best business secrets are the simplest. Smart marketing is about providing help, not hype—a worthy lesson from our nicer counterparts up north.
[via Fast Company]