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When Customers Test New Products: The $800 McDonald’s Burger


This is what an $800 McDonald’s burger looks like:

800 burger

Well, actually, it ended up costing around $24.00.


McDonald’s recently launched new, upscale “build your own burger” kiosks to cater to those who love burgers and even McDonald’s, but prefer an upscale experience. The kiosk allows customers to build their own burger, adding a variety of toppings and extras as they please.


One customer decided to test the system to see what would happen. In the video below, you will see the customer’s order as it is placed – he decided to see how far he could “push” the system, learning more about how much you can really add to the burger.


After maxing out on all of the possible options, he went to the counter and received his total – $890.00. The look on the cashier’s face is priceless. It appears that, not only did the customer test the limits of the kiosk, but he also uncovered a pricing glitch. The actual total came to just around $24.00.


Customers love to try new things and some will even see how far they can go with new apps, programs, and features. This is a fun Friday example – enjoy!


Who’s the Boss? (Hint: It’s Not You)


I attended a webinar this week, and the speaker gave a quote that is so true:


“No one owns the customer anymore, but someone owns their moment of opportunity…”


Essentially, given the age of technology, customers are not as loyal as they once were to a brand, and they tend to go where they can do business on their terms, using their preferred method, when they are ready to buy. For some, this means going into a store after careful product research; for others, it means picking up that item they’ve thought about buying but they made the leap because of a timely email from a company.


As a business, you may not “own” the customer anymore, but you can make changes and evolve your strategy to “own” their moment…that moment when they are ready to make a purchase and choose to do so with you. While you may be CEO of your company, you are no longer the boss: your customers have taken over that role, for better or worse.


Below are some tips for ensuring your customers are getting what they need, and that you’re first in mind when the moment of opportunity arises….


1. Find out what they want: just because all of your competitors have recently rolled out an app, should you? It depends on your customers. Unless you ask though, you won’t know for sure. Replace (or enhance) your current customer feedback survey to incorporate some more generalized questions, such as “how would you like to best make purchases from us?” and “what is your preferred method of communication when you need help?” The insight you will get can be invaluable in helping you develop new offerings and strategies to best serve your customers.


2. Take some time to dig deep and get to know your typical customer: while this sounds daunting, utilizing a social media monitoring program can give you all of the information you need. Take the conversations collected and find out what people are saying they like/dislike about your brand? What are they saying about your competitors? If there are “wish list” items customers are talking about, take a closer look at them. Your customers may surprise you!


3. Focus on values, not features: show your customers the value of doing business with you. They can likely find any product they need anywhere, whether its in your store, a competitor’s, or online. Make them see why it’s good to do business with you, whether it’s a great loyalty program, real time incentives while customers are browsing the aisles, free shipping with no minimum, mobile shopping, or anything else that makes it easy to get what they need.


By building value, engagement, and ease of doing business with your company, you will be better equipped to stay in front of your customer so that when their moment arises, you will own it like a boss.


Mystery Shopping Snapshot: One Picture, Two Lenses


Mystery shopping captures a particular snapshot in time of one person’s experience in your place of business. While it is a great tool to get an idea of what customers experience, especially from an operational standpoint, sometimes doubling up could give you additional insight you didn’t expect.


Recently, a client asked us to send two shoppers into one of their locations on the same day, around the same time. Coordinating schedules, two shoppers visited the same location within the same general time frame.  What happened next was interesting…


Both shoppers were in the restaurant for the majority of their respective visits. One was seated at a table at one end of the restaurant, and the other was seated in a back corner, somewhat out of the way from the “main” dining area.


One of the questions on the report asked if a manager visited the table. The shopper who was seated in the more populated area of the dining room, closer to the kitchen and bar area, was visited by the manager on two occasions during the visit. The other shopper, seated a bit out of the way, was never visited by a manager. In fact, this shopper reported that the manager did visit those tables within close proximity to the kitchen/bar area, but never visited tables on the other half of the dining room.


One visit, two very different experiences. On further exploration, the company learned that this was the manager’s typical methodology, tending to only visit tables that he could visit quickly and get back to his other tasks, leaving a good portion of diners ignored.


While this could have been an isolated case, the double shops revealed some interesting information that the company may not have known. And sometimes it’s good to double up for the mere fact of changing up the mystery shopping schedule – over time, employees will come to realize the shopping schedule, which may impact the performance scoring.


In short, changing up a mystery shopping routine has many benefits, one of which is looking at a snapshot from two different lenses.