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Brands Like McDonald’s Kept Customers Engaged During COVID. Here’s How.

The pandemic changed the way we go about our daily lives - and some of those changes will stick. Steve Pearce, digital portfolio manager for McDonald's UK, and James Poulter, CEO and co-founder of Vixen Labs, joined us at VOICE Global 2021 this week. They discussed the recent voice experience that they've launched together over the past six months and provided insights into the role they see voice playing in the overall digital ecosystem for both McDonald's and the broader market in the UK.

Driving user engagement even when closed

One of the biggest challenges during the pandemic was maintaining customer engagement through the rollercoaster of shutdowns and re-openings. To that end, McDonald's bet on mobile and voice. And voice is a crucial element in the mobile experience as it's not locked into any specific medium and has the ability to tie in multiple channels from the digital services ecosystem.

"So you could start the order on your app, seamlessly browse the menu, place the order. And Alexa then takes over and manages the tracking of the order and gives you regular updates of when Uber will deliver it. I think that could be really powerful in the future and demonstrates that voice doesn't just sit by itself as a standalone digital product, but how it kind of crosses all those platforms and creates this kind of unified experience across digital," Steve shared.

Ask, and you shall receive

Turning to the future, McDonald's sees a "frictionless" drive-through experience. With vocal assistants built-in to cars, a family could be driving on the motorway and, using voice, could place an entire order - and pay for it - while driving. Once at the restaurant, they can seamlessly glide through the order point and the payment window and head straight for the collection window. Or they could simply park the car and have the order brought out to them, using McDonald's new ‘Click & Serve’ service, launched at the end of last year.

Looking at the longer-term future, James Poulter told VOICE Global attendees, "I see a future where you'll be driving along the motorway, you'll see an advert hoarding all over the motorway that says, ‘Order your Big Mac now. Pick it up at the corner.’ And you'll soon be able to do that. And I think that that's a phenomenal potential future of where this goes."

The future of quick service restaurants (QSRs) is a flowing, conversational ordering experience and McDonald's vision is at the forefront.

Catch all of the great content at VOICE Global

Watch the recording of Steve Pearce and James Poulter discussing how voice drives customer engagement and the future of voice-driven drive-throughs on-demand. Be sure to also check out our blog describing How Mastercard Opened the Door to Voice-First Experiences for Restaurants and Retailers.

VOICE Global