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Hammered by a string of food contamination scandals, McDonald's Japan plans to launch an app for customer complaints, but many consumers see it as a sign that the company is lost.
"A customer that wants to lodge a complaint would need to download and register for the app – that's asking a lot of them, especially when the company is trying to encourage customers to come forward with complaints," said Japan Food Analyst Association (JFAA) analyst Takao Shigemori. "Although it does look like an effective way to reduce the number of complaints," he said.
Japanese customers have deserted McDonald's following a string of reports over the past few months that its nuggets and burgers were contaminated by various objects including pieces of vinyl and a screw. Same store sales plunged 28.9 percent on-year in February and 38.6 percent in January.
The company's response?
McDonald's promised on Monday that it will release an app that allows users to send complaints directly to the company.
"A customer won't have to approach a crew member at the store but will be able to contact headquarters directly," said McDonald's Japan spokesperson Takashi Hasegawa. "[This app is] the first step in addressing our shortcomings in communicating with customers."
McDonald's has hired two outside experts to advise a team of 10 employees led by the company's number three executive, representative director Hiroshi Sato, to "debate and review" the customer relations process.
It will also set up a "voluntary action plan" to improve communication with customers, according to the press release. Details will be announced in April, according to Hasegawa.
JFAA's Shigemori remained unconvinced, however. "McDonald's are still looking back at what went wrong rather than looking forward. And I don't understand why they need a new app to field complaints when they still have traditional avenues (like email and a customer hotline),"he said.
Read MoreThird strike for McDonald's Japan
Unimpressed with the fast-food giant's latest effort, customers took to Twitter to question McDonald's judgment.
Where on earth is McDonald's headed?
First thought would be [the app] would only encourage idiots to complain but on second thoughts, maybe an app would send personal information to the company?