Industry News | April 5, 2010

Panda Express Wants Your Feedback

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By employing a new software system that allows companies to gain access to Customer Experience Management (CEM) data, Panda Express is aiming to get more out of customer feedback to improve its Asian quick-service chain.

“Access to actionable, up-to-the minute guest feedback is critical to Panda Express, where focus on guest service is priority,” said Nader Garschi, Panda Express’ executive director of concept innovations, in a press release. “We needed a technology solution that would deliver timely guest feedback, in an easily accessible manner, enabling employees from management to a store’s front line to understand top areas for improvement and then act on that information.”

Via transaction receipts, Medallia’s Customer Feedback Management system, which was deployed across Panda Express’ entire 1,500-unit chain, allows guests the opportunity to respond to and rank their restaurant experience.

“Our approach is a little different,” says Nelson Pascua, vice president of retail client services for Medallia. “It’s really about creating an engaged workplace that’s very iterative in terms of listening to the customer and acting on the feedback the customers give you in terms of not only just the numbers, but in terms of the specific comments that they’re giving you.”

So far, the system has had positive response in the Panda Express system.

“What people get really excited about is having comments in real time,” Pascua says. Within an hour of a customer leaving a Panda store, operators and managers can read the customer’s comments. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, it provides the store with insight about employee engagement with customers, customer service levels, sales, and customer loyalty.

As an incentive for customers to respond to the survey, the receipt offers a buy one, get one free offer for Panda Express entrées.

“We’re really looking forward to a long-term relationship with Panda,” Pascua says.

“I know that in the past they’ve had a system that was focusing more on the numbers than the experience, and I think for any organization who truly wants to implement a feedback system, their objective shouldn’t be around performance management and [providing incentives to] people to improve their scores; it should be about helping them improve their business by improving the experience that they’re having with customers.”

By Jill Watral