Our favorite KFC drive-thru failed to give us 3 of 4 large coleslaw sides we’d ordered. Foolishly, my wife and I didn’t check the bag handed to us till we arrived at our daughter’s home 10 miles away for a large Miller family gathering.
When we discovered this, everyone was disappointed. I mean, who doesn’t love KFC coleslaw? The Millers sure do.
To escape the background noise of Millennials and grandkids, I went outside to call KFC. The manager answered. I told her about the missing product, expressed my frustration, and stated matter-of-factly I’d be back for a refund.
Clearly possessing a “tin ear” when it comes to interacting with dissatisfied patrons, her only comment was, “Bring your receipt back and we can do a refund.”
Now, before I go on, let me say this: I suspect while speaking into my iPhone as I stood on a driveway under the Colorado sky, I used not an indoor voice but an outdoor one. We’ll never know, I didn’t record it. 🤣
The In-Store Conversation
Two hours later, I arrived at KFC. The manager was cold as ice. I handed her the receipt and she began to work the register. Suddenly, she says, “Mistakes happen, you know, and you shouldn’t have yelled at me.”
I was taken aback by her remark and said something like, “Sorry, I do speak loudly,” but then it hit me — this situation was now all about … her?
I know we’re all on this Earth together and I’m accountable for treating people with kindness and respect, but something just felt off here.
From that point, the conversation pretty much went downhill. As I left the store, this exchange took place:
Customer: “I’m not sure I’ll come back to your store.”
Manager: “That’d be fine.”
Customer: “Well, okay, then. I’ll let your franchise owner know you said that.”
Manager: “You do that.”
Out of the Mouths Of …
When I shared this less-than-stellar experience with our 20-yr-old AMC Theater supervisor daughter, she was flabbergasted. Her immediate reaction: “Dad, you’re kidding, right? And this woman works in retail? I get yelled at every day by unhappy customers!”
Now, I’m not sure I yelled at the KFC manager, but if I did, should this situation have become about … her? Or should she have stayed focused on showing contrition while resolving the customer’s problem?
Be Outstanding, Be “Customer Centric”
I submit this to you:
In outstanding organizations — which is what the Outstanding! book is all about — moments like these should be customer-centric where our only objective is to retain customers while increasing their loyalty.
Because we want the patron to return over and over again. Said differently, when I am in the role of the service provider, it is never about me. 👍🏼
Do you agree? What’s your view?
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