Following on from last month’s article using SpectrumInsight’s real-time consumer insight methodology, we look at how customer views towards McDonalds and the Banks have changed over the past month, and more importantly, why?

We touched on the importance of using feedback from twitter streams as a vital means of extracting perceptions and genuine emotions. This not only reflects true opinions by capturing a natural flow of thought without inhibiting factors such as the ‘how did we do’ approach, but also allows for a ‘sprawled on the sofa’ level of discussion which so often never gets captured, but is the foundation of where true opinion and reflection lies.

Mark Westaby Director of “SpectrumInsight” offers an astute evaluation of views and possible reasons why people’s perceptions of the service they receive can alter, which can often depend on current national and global issues on the social media radar and beyond, as well as the actual service they are receiving, in a given snapshot of time.

For example over the last month happiness levels have significantly decreased on average for both McDonalds and the Banks. This arguably reflects the traditional post Christmas and holiday blues, but what about the other issues currently circulating in the media, which may be influencing peoples’ opinions?

It is widely known that mass media has a huge impact on public opinion. The horsemeat scandal has undoubtedly played a part in the distrust of our food industry*. And in the banking sector, the threat of double or even treble-dip recession along with the endless debate over who is to blame for the current financial mess, may well be dominating factors.


Banks are a tertiary industry and McDonalds are seen to a certain degree as part of the secondary sector as it has a high focus on process and production, however it is clear they both offer a level of service that ultimately follows a very similar pattern.

Whether we’re queuing up for a burger or waiting at the bank to cash a cheque, we have come to expect an express service that meets our needs in the shortest space of time, with a better experience than we would get elsewhere. Convenience, quality of service and a feel-good factor is what makes or breaks our experience, and what can ultimately alter our perception on whether we’ve have had a good day or a bad one. It’s as simple and fundamentally important as this.

The study shows that there was more anger towards McDonalds than towards banks; however the really negative emotions, such as disgust, contempt and fear, still reside predominantly with the banks. Could these results be skewed by the latest mis-selling scandal to hit the headlines in January, after the Financial Standards Industry revealed that up to 90% of interest rate swaps may have been mis-sold to small businesses?


Overall, McDonalds continues to score significantly higher than the banks; however the brand and its service have a lower score than a month ago.

A far deeper delve into the data, using such tools as the Customer Experience Index, would be required to pull out a more robust pattern of data than this snapshot. A full review and assessment of the past twelve months would determine whether the reasons for the two major pieces of insight in this month’s study are due to real issues within the service McDonalds provides, or whether the hilly results are influenced by the seasonal and social antennae.


There is a need to understand in real-time what our customers are experiencing and expecting from us at ground level, and how the fast-growing social communication trend is affecting our businesses practices. Since the onset of globalisation, technology has grown at a much faster rate than our understanding of the changes in cultural and social development, and the utilisation of continual mass-flow information on opinion and perception is a highly innovative, and at this time arguably, the most crucial way to develop our responses to customer needs.

It appears that so far, no single major driver is responsible for the drop in scores of both McDonalds and the banks; however the reasons may become more distinctive as we continue the journey. In these early months, our aim is to demonstrate the methodology, leading to a concluding piece in April which will provide a more robust examination of all the data.

As for the question of whether McDonald’s has been tainted by the horse meat scandal, the lack of specific mentions of the equine species in tweets might suggest McDonald’s has come through remarkably unscathed.


Author: Neil Skehel
Neil is a business leader and innovator who has achieved significant results in roles of up to £100M direct P&L responsibility in both multi-nationals and small businesses. With over 25 years’ spent delivering business operations, change, growth and improvement he has significant experience in identifying and managing the expectations of senior managers, operations teams, corporate functions, suppliers and customers.

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