AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Friday, October 29, 2004

KFC - or: Customer experience starts at the point of purchase

This is an easy story - my kid and I went to get food in Kentucky. It is easier to order for him in McDonalds, since they have smaller portions, as McD markets more aggressively to the kids but since McD's shop in Megamall was closed (closed? - it is Ramadan - boomtime month - but what contradiction is that?), so we trotted over to KFC.

It was close to the break of fast, people started to come in and I could see that the place filled up quickly. Muslims were sitting at their table, waiting the few minutes before breaking fast.

Well, I looked at the menu and saw that the Ramadan Special Menu looked like my boy would like it - two pieces of chicken, mashed potatoes, Jelly, icecream, the usual mini-salad and a carbonated drink. Now, while I eat a lot of rubbish (but try to get better at it), I try to order things that are somewhat healthier (or calm my bad consciouness by ordering "somewhat better food" as, after all it still is "unhealthy" fast food) and that he likes - we way too often throw food away.

So - here I go with the negotiation. First - mashed potatoes. While not that healthy, my kid prefers french fries - so my question to the girl behind the counter, whether or not we could change that mashed potatoes to french fries. She shakes her head and smiles - "sorry Sir, this is not possible".

Okay - got to stick with the mashed potatoes. Next try - very friendly from my side, with a big smile on my face. "But may be it is possible to change the carbonated drink to Milo Ice?" Here you can see me on the health trip. I don't like it when he drinks carbonated drinks - okay, a sib, once in a while, but not more. The smile again - "cannot". I ask her why, since this is just an exchange of one drink to another. She just repeats her cannot. I am getting a bit moody, grumble under my teeth, that this is not very customer friendly.

She gets the food and than comes her question about the chicken - spicy or not spicy. Here, it surely should be possible to have a mix. I ask her if a non-spicy one and a spicy one would be possible - it is possible that my kid doesn't like the spicy one, so he could have the normal one. I cannot believe her response - it is not possible. I mean, come on, chicken is chicken and if it is more expensive to put spices on top of it, than KFC would even win under my proposition. But it is not possible. I don't understand why not - these are small changes. If someone says that carbonated drinks are very much cheaper than Milo Ice, and that a change would make a big big difference in the end of the day - okay, they might argue with me about that. I still would say that this doens't meet my expectations.

My conclusion? It is the flexibility at the point of purchase, the moment of truth, when the real customer orientation is delivered. And don't tell me that this is corporate policies. It is my opionion that if a customer is asking for something that is not even out of the world, than damn the corporate policies and meet the customer's expectation? I didn't ask her for Pizza instead of chicken or to dance when she puts the chicken on the tray (okay, I am getting unfair here).

What is more valuable? The customer, who is happy and wants to spend or the one, who has to live with bad compromises. What goes down the drain? My perception of KFC - I know this contrasts with Jordan's experience with KFC and what he experiences is great (Jordan - if you read this, please add a search to your blog - the link above doesn't lead to your great KFC experience!). Individual experiences are different of course, no doubt about this, but it is the great individual and consistent experience that is demanded by consumers in the dawn of the experience economy. Heavy words as we are a long way from that! Remember my experience with Bodyshop and how "corporate" they reacted.

I am posting the story here, I am submitting a feedback form to KFC - an online form with a link to this blog. I don't think that they will react to it, but may be I will be surprised. Anyway - in the days of the Internet, when bad news travels fast and wide, competition is strong, corporate reputations under attack - I believe that those incidences shouldn't happen. Am I asking for too much? I think not! There must be a WoW in store for every customer.


Powered by Blogger

Blogarama - The Blog Directory