The pandemic changed a lot of things for us all, including restaurant chain McDonald's, which saw large shifts in how its customers interacted with the brand. And now it is making changes to keep pace with evolving customer needs.

This week, the fast-food giant announced additional investments in its customer experience and personalization efforts by creating a new customer experience team and restructuring its internal business units.

McDonald’s has its work cut out for itself as it works to integrate the organization’s Digital Customer Engagement, Data Analytics, Global Marketing, Global Restaurant Development and Restaurant Solutions. By reducing internal data silos, it hopes to help the organization be more responsive to customer needs, better serve customers through all service channels and keep up with changes and disruption in the market.

Earlier this month, McDonald's launched its long-awaited rewards program, MyMcDonalds Rewards. This new program will feed into these new teams, structures and initiatives and help McDonald's better understand its customers, according to company officials.

“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 Chris Kempczinski, president and chief executive officer.

Leading this effort is Manu Steijaert, who has been promoted to chief customer officer from his previous position of vice president of international operated markets, effective Aug. 1. “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,” Steijaert said.

Learning Opportunities

“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.

Steijart has more than 20 years experience within the McDonald’s corporate machine, and his roots stretch back further than that with the restaurant chain. His father was an owner-operator of a McDonald’s in Belgium where he worked as a “crew member” in the late '80s.

“Manu’s deep understanding of the needs of our customers and his rich perspectives from multiple markets will be invaluable in leading this new team,” said Kempczinski.

McDonald's overall revenue has risen 13% in 2021, and its organization has reached market value over $180 billion.

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