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Arby's Reveals the Go-To Tech Behind its Superior Guest Satisfaction Strategy

While fast food is about speed of service, in today's competitive marketplace, it's also about customer service and loyalty. Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc, the nation's second largest quick service sandwich chain with more than 3,700 restaurants nationwide, utilized a variety of measuring tools to evaluate customer feedback, but it didn't have a system in place to hear the voice of the customer in real time and communicate that information to the appropriate operators in the field immediately for resolution or to applaud superior performance.

To address this need, Arby's Operation Services Group met with Mindshare Technologies, to determine how the company could implement the technology to best meet its goals and success criteria. Mindshare is a provider of real-time, automated customer feedback and employee engagement solutions.  With clients in more than 25 different industries, they help companies improve operational excellence through measuring customer and employee satisfaction. 

An extensive review of the business produced the basic questions needed to be answered to create a customized system:
1. How do we get our customers to take the survey? (survey invitation)
2. What questions will we ask our customers? (survey design)
3. How do we receive and disseminate the feedback? (reporting and hierarchy)
4. How do we use the information to improve? (training and best practices)
Based on the above criteria, Arby's and Mindshare then worked together to design and brand Arby's new customer service program as Arby's Promise Check (APC). Arby's identified and executed the multiple steps associated with testing, evaluating, refining and integrating APC into all of its corporate restaurants.

Customer feedback process

At Arby's, the process for receiving customer feedback is now simple:
1. Customers are invited to leave feedback via an invitation on their receipt (incentive driven)
2. Feedback is captured through integrated phone and web surveys (approximately 3 minutes)
3. The real-time feedback is transformed into actionable information
4. The information is populated into real-time reports, and also triggers customized alerts
5. Local operations leaders use the information to constantly improve operations every day

With Mindshare's assistance, Arby's hosted several training webinars to educate operators on the importance of APC, the reporting system, and the real-time alert management program.  Subsequent training sessions were recorded on a DVD for all employees to review at their convenience.

Happy customers, happy employees
Arby's has seen tremendous results following the implementation of Mindshare's real-time reporting system. Since its inception, Arby's has seen a significant increase in customer satisfaction scores across the board, including in the category of taste and quality, speed of service, order accuracy, friendliness of staff and cleanliness of restaurant. As a result of listening to customers and acting on their feedback, the likelihood of them returning and recommending Arby's has potentially increased as well. Mindshare's technology has also allowed the restaurant company to reach out to unsatisfied customers to address their concerns immediately and to help regain their loyalty. 

In addition to increasing customer satisfaction, Arby's has also experienced a boost in employee enthusiasm about their customer feedback. Managers and area operators treat their customer feedback as a vital part of their daily operations, and look at it with the same level of passion as cost control and other performance metrics. They use voice comments straight from customers to coach their teams when needed and to reinforce positive behaviors by recognizing exceptional service.
In today's tough economic environment and highly competitive market place, listening to the actual voice of the customer is critical. While there are several methods of measurement, the most effective choices are those that provide real-time feedback and real-time reporting from the customers themselves. Arby's uses the feedback to focus on strategic operational improvement efforts.

Chuck Sliker currently serves as Arby's senior VP of the operations services group, which contains four disciplines: technical services, customer relations, operations support and restaurant systems. He joined Arby's in 1971 as a hourly team member and has served the system in a wide variety of operations and support leadership positions.  
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