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.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

KFC - Number Three

Okay - in the beginning of this week, I posted about an experience with KFC in Megamall. I wasn't really happy that I couldn't change the menu the slightest bit. For me, that apparently was a lot at that point of time, while the changes seemed little from my perspective, for KFC. I am still of the opinion that customer experience is often handicapped by some stupid corporate policies, however - nothing will change my opinion about this.

The entry, however, received some stronger feedback and critics about my behaviour - basically, I came over as a bit arrogant in my behaviour during the "sales process". This critics is okay to me - critics are feedback that is constructive and it made me think - if you want a first hand write-up, click here.

I allowed myself to send the links to KFC (somehow, I need to get some corporates to read blogs and learn about the power of blogs as well!). They visited the blog and gave me the following response:

"I read with keen interest the comments by CFK NEKCIHC and your keen observation that they were pretty good remarks. Given that I represent KFC, I am so inclined to jump up and say, ‘Yes, its exactly what I would have replied to your dining experience at one of our outlets, albeit a less than pleasant one’. Having said that let me firstly apologise for the unpleasantness that you experienced in your visit to our outlet at Megamall, and if I may, take a moment to expound some thoughts further.

The ‘rationale’ for the responses that you got as outlined by CFK is so apt that I couldn’t help but thinking that there are indeed kind souls out there who tend to be forgiving and understanding. But I guess the acceptance stops there. Yes, we know we are a fast food outlet and if we are to cater to everyone’s whims and fancies it will indeed cause long queues. Yes, also to the fact that we tend to train our staff to regiment themselves to delivering service based on strict guidelines because indeed most, if not all our outlets are under a computer linked inventory control systems that require strict variance controls. And yes, it will certainly create headaches for any front counter staff if they are required to try and convert equivalent prices of different items in a set menu, much more when they are not trained to handle such situations.

Notwithstanding, we have over some period now tried to move pass the excuse of ‘Operational efficiencies’, to do exactly what you and many customers have come to expect from big service organization as ourselves. It’s becoming a necessity for many companies and we are not excluded, to differentiate ourselves competitively by delivering more than what’s expected by customers and to an extent within the bounds of reason and flexibility, to listen and respond to the voice of the consumer. As rightly u put it, as a “normal” customer you are not expected to know the orientation of the company and any “less than expected” experience would certainly leave a bad aftertaste and drive a bad perception of the company.

Hence, we admittedly still have some work to do to ensure that the mindset of customer mania is one that is alive, lived, and breathed everyday in our restaurants by all levels of our frontline operations. Being a world-class company is our aspiration and we believe is one that we can achieve, more so when we continuously work to improve ourselves and be maniacal about delivering products and service that WOW the customer.

We appreciate the feedback you had given us. Please accept again my sincerest apology and be assured that your comments and feedback will be one that will be shared with our frontline operations staff so that we may be able to meet the expectations of our discerning consumers."

Interesting, isn't it? There is understanding on their side and they "indicate" training for their staff. A very neutral response. I am not sure how I should take it. Should I react to it at all, beside thanking them? I think, what bothers me is the neutral part of it - it is so "corporate". I don't know. Something is there that doesn't sound quite right and I am not sure what it is. But probably it is just me who reads too much into the lines. However, I am happy they reacted and reacted fast. Not all are doing this. And they inquired further, after they were not able to open the original link that I sent to them via their comment submission form.


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