McDonald's Aims to Bolster Engagement with New Customer Experience Team

    The team is tasked with interconnecting marketing, menu, and digital. 

    Fast Food | July 26, 2021 | Ben Coley
    Manu Steijaert headshot
    McDonald's
    Manu Steijaert, the new global chief customer officer, has more than two decades of experience with McDonald’s.

    McDonald’s has formed a new customer experience team to evolve how guests engage with the brand at each physical and digital touchpoint.

    The group is a combination of global marketing, global restaurant development and restaurant solutions, and data analytics and digital customer engagement, which are departments central to Marketing, Core Menu, and the 3Ds (digital, drive-thru, and delivery). Each are pivotal parts of McDonald’s Accelerating the Arches Growth Strategy, and now they are part of the same structure. 

    “The formation of the Customer Experience 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,” said President and CEO Chris Kempczinski in a statement. “As customer needs continue to evolve, we will create a frictionless Brand experience across all our service channels using the insights generated from our increasingly important digital platforms."

    As part of the new format, McDonald’s promoted Manu Steijaert to the newly created role of executive vice president and global chief customer officer. Steijaert, who starts his new job August 1, will report directly to Kempczinski.

    Steijaert has more than two decades of experience with McDonald’s, most recently working as vice president of International Operated Markets. Within that role, McDonald’s said he leveraged a customer-led and growth-focused approach to support teams in 12 markets. After starting as a crew member in 1987 in McDonald’s stores owned by his parents, Steijaert worked as a field consultant in 2001 before moving up to vice president of operations for France in 2012 and leadership of the Netherlands market in 2015. He began serving as vice president of International Operated Markets in 2019.

    “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do at McDonald’s, and 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.  “I am thrilled to lead this new team as we work to create more and better ways to connect with our customers at every touchpoint, transforming the definition of customer interaction.”

    The new customer experience team will interconnect Marketing, Core Menu, and the 3Ds, and ensure the pillars reinforce each other—something McDonald’s has already accomplished through its celebrity collaborations. For example, the chain leveraged the marketing power of BTS and other celebrities to showcase love of its core menu items. Also, the promotions were brought to life through digital activation. 

    News of the customer experience team comes a few weeks after the nationwide launch of the brand’s first loyalty program, MyMcDonald’s Rewards. McDonald’s said the loyalty program is the latest edition of its new “digital experience growth engine,” which includes kiosks, digital menu boards, delivery, drive-thru, and the mobile app. The fast-food giant has more than 40 million active app users in its top six markets and features delivery in up to 30,000 restaurants. McDonald’s is in the midst of deploying the loyalty program to all top six markets by the end of 2022.

    The company earned almost $1.5 billion in digital sales in the first quarter. In the U.S. alone, roughly 20 million customers are using the app, and delivery has grown to an all-time high in dollars and sales mix. According to Apptopia, a real-time competitive intelligence platform, McDonald’s in June had the most-downloaded quick-service app, with 1.6 million downloads. The next-closest was Starbucks with 939,000.