McDonald's overhauls its customer experience functions

The burger giant named Manu Steijaert its first chief customer officer, overseeing a new customer experience team to manage digital and in-restaurant diner interactions.
McDonald's Manu STeijaert
Photo courtesy of McDonald's

McDonald’s on Monday named Manu Steijaert its first chief customer officer, giving him oversight of a newly created “customer experience team” designed to manage how the company interacts with its diners in and out of its restaurants.

The team brings together McDonald’s data analytics, digital customer engagement, global restaurant development and restaurant solutions functions under one department, helping the company “create an unparalleled customer experience at each physical and digital customer touchpoint.”

Steijaert, who has been with McDonald’s in Europe for 20 years, will take the position effective Aug. 1 and will report to CEO Chris Kempczinski.

The creation of the team is an acknowledgment that much has changed about how restaurants interact with their customers over the past 18 months as digital and delivery orders become a bigger part of the company’s sales. The team will use the data gleaned from these orders to determine its service strategies in the future.

The team “strengthens McDonald’s ability to lead the industry in anticipating and delivering on customer needs at every part of the brand journey, which increasingly extends beyond the walls of the physical restaurant through digital, delivery and drive-thru,” Kempczinski said in a statement.

He said the goal is to “create a frictionless brand experience across all our service channels using the insights generated from our increasingly important digital platforms.”

Steijaert is currently vice president of McDonald’s International Operated Markets division, overseeing 12 large global markets. He has been with the company since 2001, when he was a field service consultant in Belgium, and he has held several positions in Europe since then. He is also the son of a McDonald’s owner-operator and worked as a crew member in his parents’ restaurants in the late 1980s.

“We have reached a pivotal moment when technology and data have begun to shape nearly every facet of the customer experience,” Steijaert said in a statement, noting that he hopes to “create more and better ways to connect with customers at every touchpoint.”

McDonald’s creation of its customer experience team comes as companies are working to bolster their efforts to use the data they get from digital orders more strategically—while also bridging the gap between those orders and the ones made in restaurants and in the drive-thru.

The company recently launched its MyMcDonald’s Rewards loyalty program, which will provide the burger giant with mountains of data on how its most loyal customers use its restaurants. McDonald’s app is also one of the most popular restaurant apps in the U.S.

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