Saturday, March 12, 2005

Oh, yaah, ya wanna super-size that, OK?

Yahoo News (Reuters) | Look Who's Talking at the Drive-Through
McDonald's Corp. wants to outsource your neighborhood drive-through. The world's largest fast-food chain said on Thursday it is looking into using remote call centers to take customer orders in an effort to improve service at its drive-throughs.

"If you're in L.A.... and you hear a person with a North Dakota accent taking your order, you'll know what we're up to," McDonald's Chief Executive Jim Skinner told analysts at the Bear Stearns Retail, Restaurants & Apparel Conference in New York. Call center professionals with "very strong communication skills" could help boost order accuracy and ultimately speed up the time it takes customers to get in and out of the drive-throughs, the company said.
You know, the more I think about this the more sense it makes. The customer and the order-taker can't see each other in most drive-throughs: Does it really matter if the order-taker isn't actually in the building? Thanks to modern telecommunications, the cost of an always-on voice line is negligible. And most fast-food employees' microphone skills are abysmal: It would be a genuine pleasure to deal with someone who knew how to speak. English. Clearly.

On the other hand, my manurometer begins to quiver when I remember how other companies have implemented remote call-centers. When they start talking about how much more efficient it is, I know they mean "cheaper". The first time I pull up to my neighborhood McDonald's and hear a New Delhi accent, I'm a'goin' to Burger King.

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