Friday, October 11th, 2019 | 9 min read
Jola leads a team that is responsible for global social media listening and research for McDonald’s. This Q&A is an excerpt of Sprinklr’s webinar, AI for modern research.
What challenges were you trying to solve with Sprinklr’s artificial intelligence capabilities – Sprinklr Intuition?
It all started a little over a year ago, when our Chief Communications Officer Robert Gibbs – former White House Press Secretary under Obama – came to me and said he wants my team to develop a capability so that he and his exec team could have three things:
Lucky for us, Sprinklr had just rolled out Smart Alerts – an AI capability that automatically sends an email, SMS and dashboard notification when there is a rapid change in sentiment or rapid increase in number of mentions for a specific word or phrase.
How did you develop a process for setting up Mcdonald’s Smart Alerts?
Once we understood which alerts we needed and the people who needed the alerts, we then partnered with Sprinklr’s Managed Services team to build out a process for setting up Sprinklr Smart Alerts in each market. We had three requirements for the types of alerts we wanted:
We needed to make sure that the Sprinklr Smart Alerts managed all three of these types of anomalies. We worked closely with Sprinklr to set up the topic taxonomy with the different types of anomalies in Sprinklr Smart Alerts and to activate them.
How did you test the alerts?
When it came to testing, we assembled a small team in McDonald’s on the risk management side within corporate communications and turned on 10 topics. We started small. Every time there was an anomaly, the team would receive and rate whether that anomaly was relevant, and if they received the anomaly on a timely basis, which would determine whether the threshold we set was high enough. The anomaly could be relevant, but if too many alerts were received, the threshold might not be high enough.
After about a month we got excellent feedback from the team. We then scaled the alerts for a much larger team of internal stakeholders and created distribution lists so that not everyone received every alert. Right now we have over 450 Sprinklr Smart Alerts within McDonald’s that we’ve created in four different languages.
Can you describe a McDonald’s Smart Alert workflow?
We first capture the conversation when a user posts about their experience on social media – focusing on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for Smart Alerts. Then, we classify the conversation based on keywords we detected. Next, Sprinklr’s AI determines if there is an anomaly based on the velocity of the conversation, volume of mentions and negative sentiment. Lastly, the Smart Alert gets distributed via Sprinklr dashboards, email, SMS and repository. The repository collects information on particular alerts and topics over time. We use it for diagnostics and to report out on the most impactful alerts.
What results did McDonald’s find in the beta phase of Sprinklr Smart Alerts?
Our beta test recipients received Smart Alerts via email only. Within those alerts, they could see the trend of that alert in a chart, the sentiment, what area of the country or market it corresponded to, and top words triggering that alert.
The reaction from teams across McDonald’s to our beta phase were very positive. Our risk management team said the alerts were “timely and useful.” Our global policy team said “the alerts are very relevant.” And, our human rights team said, “this tool alerts me about the issues going viral.”
Can you talk about how Smart Alerts helped McDonald’s manage a crisis?
I personally receive between a 100 and 200 alerts a day. These are just a couple of examples out of the many crisis management use cases we have.
The first was early in May. McDonald’s had been working very hard to remove plastic from our restaurants in the form of plastic lids and straws. On May 24th, we were informed that a couple of young girls under the age of 10 had signed a petition to stop the use of plastic toys in McDonald’s and Burger King kids meals in the UK. That petition got some press and the girls were on a BBC show “The War on Plastic” on June 5th. We had already set up a Smart Alert covering plastic toys conversation, and an alert was triggered right when the show appeared. The UK and US team received the alert within 35 minutes of the BBC program airing and the UK team was able to get the context needed from social media to consider in their response to the press.
That was a great use of Smart Alerts and it highlighted the fact that the functionality is truly usable across our markets and not just across our corporate team in our headquarters.
The next example explains how our Chief Communications Officer Robert Gibbs uses Smart Alerts to monitor different conversations. This August, Robert received an alert at 7:30am that highlighted a post focused on the gender pay gap. Robert reached out to his corporate communications and public affairs team and asked them to monitor this topic to see if it was getting an increasing number of mentions. My team saw that it wasn’t going viral, so we issued a quick report for Robert via email with a visual dashboard showing Sprinklr data to explain that the post wasn’t going viral and no further action was needed.
How else are you using Sprinklr to monitor social conversations for crisis management?
In addition to Smart Alerts which are used by all management levels including non-data savvy employees, we also have Sprinklr dashboards that provide a deep-dive analysis opportunity for data analysts to dig into social conversations. The information from these dashboards is pulled into a report that shows all the viral social stories, news stories, proactive posts from McDonald’s and competitors – which is emailed through a McDonald’s daily briefing report. This allows everyone in the organization to have access to social trends. We also use Sprinklr Display on a large monitor our Chief Communications Officer’s desk that shows him real-time news and viral conversations.
How are you hoping to use Sprinklr to achieve McDonald’s business goals moving forward?
We are constantly pushing for the next thing. We are creating a new website for all our employees to access social conversations powered by Sprinklr Display wherever they are. We are also updating Smart Alerts on SMS, building specific thresholds for alerts would need crisis mitigation. Those are called Tier 2 crisis alerts, so we’ll have a team that will receive only those alerts via SMS and email.
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