Tuesday, April 11, 2006

McDonalds piloting drive-thru order-taking outsourcing

Mark posted the craziest thing I've heard in a while.

McDonald's is piloting a program where your drive-through order is taken by a remote call-center, sent back to the restaurant's computer system, and delivered to you as normal at the pick up window.

That this could save money is hard to wrap your head around. It makes sense when you think about it (economies of scale, average-load-balancing resulting in less down-time, rush-hour loads absorbed across time-zones...) but it's still nuts.

The world is a crazy place.

The pilot has the call center based in California, but it's not a leap to imagine that if successful, it'd be moved to India in short order (pun intended). If this occurs, there's a delicious (yes, intended) irony in all those burger orders being taken in a land with a large (~3/4 IIRC) Hindu populace.

This paragraph about the call center worker's job was particularly Orwellian:

Vargas seems unfazed by her job, even though it involves being subjected to constant electronic scrutiny. Software tracks her productivity and speed, and every so often a red box pops up on her screen to test whether she is paying attention. She is expected to click on it within 1.75 seconds. In the break room, a computer screen lets employees know just how many minutes have elapsed since they left their workstations.

"Hello, may I take your order?"
"Sure, I'll get the Soylent Green trio."


Anonymous said...

If this is the kind of story that interests you, I would highly recommend The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. He mentions this, as well as a lot of other stories about how technology is turning common sense on its head. The chapter on open source software is pretty interesting too.

Dan said...

Soylent Green.

Web2earn said...

Hello and thanks for the opportunity to post on your blog.

I believe call center and answering service outsourcing is the way to go for many US-based companies who want to cut down running costs and thus increase their overall profits. However, one of the main issues that needs to be dealt with is that of staff training. There are a lot of professional call center training courses that are destined to be attended by the call center agents in order for these people to be more efficient and to be more specialized in their jobs. Most of the call center operation staff is composed by call center industry managers with experience in telecommunications, information technology and business development. Call centers are normally providing a whole range of external services, such as: call center services, contact center and help desk towards the biggest companies in the whole world.

In case you wish to read more about this I invite you to read my study on outsourcing call center services

Warm regards,

M. Rad