Google+ Consumer Psyche: An extra tissue plz

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An extra tissue plz

Cost cutting is every where. Most of the times the customer  understands as the pich is familiar to him too. But some times it just gets over done. The firm and its employees go over zealous and push it too far that it breaks the bond. Let me give you an example from the restaurant  industry. Serving good food and providing a good experience is what the bond is built on. This is a sacred bond. But most of the places I went to last weekend had the same policy. The waiters were bringing only 1 tissue, 1 sachet of tomato sauce, etc. This was at CCD, Barista, KFC and a few other restaurants.  I have read the case study that calculates the huge sums of money saved by ensuring that 1 tissue is saved per customer and how it could impact in reducing costs.

Lets take KFC. KFC has been highly rated in my books as all the previous experiences were good. But this time they lose. There was no water in KFC! On all my last visits to KFC outlets all around India had provided me chilled water and excellent service. But here there was no salt, no pepper, no tissues and no service. Only soft drink, salt was not being given(though he brought it after 15 minutes), pepper was out of stock and so on. This was at Forum. After paying a premium price for the meal I am expected to shell out some more and buy the drinks and KFC failed to give me the complete meal. The AC was turned off and there were no fans. When we asked the waiter why this so. The answer was, "Talk to the manager." 

Was this rude? For a moment we thought so. The instantaneous idea was to call his manager and teach him a lesson or two about CRM and how to handle customers and their requests, etc. The manager would apologize, scream at the waiter. Give us the salt or pepper or whatever we were asking for or just say sorry. Would that solve my problem? For the day, yes. But on second thought I felt the manager knew that there was no water being given. And this was a conscious decision, either taken by the manager or his boss or KFC itself. Too focussed on reducing costs or selling more Coke. In that case all the effort and the management lessons I intended to teach him or all the rules of customer service I learnt at the B-School which were being broken would be just ignored. 

Any brand should be consistent in its communique that emanates from it. Be it in the product or service or just communication. You mess it up once, the customer would notice. If he makes a noise and gets what he wants he is just straining the bond. The brand would be a sour one next time, not only to the noisy customer but to the entire crowd there. Chances are that this customer still would return for another purchase as he knows he can yell his way out. But the real danger is the customer who silently walks out deciding never to return. I tell you he is more precious than the one that yelled at you and certainly more than the tissue you are saving. It is interesting to see how the firms miss minute things.

So dear KFC, if you continue doing this most of us will be walking to the McDonalds at the other end and you can make planes of the tissues.
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