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Q&A: Arby's on the Voice of the Customer

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Shawn Siegel

There is saying you care about the customer, and there is putting the voice of the customer--and its the resulting, measurable insights--at the center of strategy.

Arby's fits into the latter, and in this exclusive interview with Shawn Siegel, the fast food chain's Vice President of Operations Integration and Measurement Chuck Sliker walks through the mindset of his business' approach.

You can next hear from Chuck at the Future Call Center Summit.

Can you discuss how Arby’s rolled out a branded VOC reporting tool?

Absolutely, at the Summit I will be prepared to discuss how we developed, tested, evaluated and implemented Arby’s "Promise Check." This is our customer perception measurement program, a tool that we have used since 2007. We use it to measure our performance in the areas we believe are the most important to the customer.

What are the benefits of using text analytics?

For a reasonable monthly fee, we’ve been able to move hundreds of thousands of customer verbatims into less than 50 key categories that allow us to quickly identify trends of commentary and dive quickly into specific issues. Instead of reading hundreds of comments and manually tagging buckets, we use quick searches to come up with the answers we need for operations, marketing and training. As a result we can make decisions/judgments faster and our people can complete analysis work instead of mining comments. I also save tons of temp labor when digging into spikes.

Can you share a specific instance where customer insight led to a change that benefitted Arby’s bottom line?

We made an unplanned packaging change during the middle of a product launch. At the Summit, I’ll show how we identified the criticality of re-balancing our focus on speed of service vs. order accuracy.

Are there any other exciting new tools or analytics that you think will have great application for customer service?

We are now in the process of working with our vendor, Mindshare Technologies, to launch speech to text in order to capture voice mail verbatims and bucket them with the same ease we now have for written text. Additionally, we are testing the use of an enhanced comment report that can be shared with our restaurant teams to further signal what our customers are saying, both positive and negative.

Lastly, what are some successful strategies you employ for creating consistent customer service across all Arby’s locations?

A few ideas:

  • A focused interviewing & training program we call (not surprisingly) Arby’s Red Hat Service.
  • We are in the middle of rolling out a new, interactive training system we call e-Train and are converting all training programs to this platform.
  • We’ve launched a brand new operational review process and tied a restaurant management incentive program to the results.