Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Why did the Chicken, cross the Oprah?" or, the KFC debacle.

This is a letter I wrote to "Lawana" in Corporate at "K.F.C." after she had emailed me a .pdf (coupons) to pass on to several other people who had trouble getting them printed out before print out my coupons, with her blessings.

Remember me?

You did say to call you if I had any problems……… Would you take a second to give me the “official take” on this situation?

I seem to have been appointed new “spokesperson by proxy” for KFC in my circle of influence. After our pleasant conversation I was a hero for a whopping 24 hours or so, and now I’m being drawn and quartered. This is because the girls (separately) took their coupons (the ones you sent to pass to them and print myself) to their local Powder Springs franchise and were embarrassingly turned away! I now have an audience getting into the tens!

I called one of your local restaurants; they basically treated me like I had the plague. Assistant manager “Jose” told me that they want me to COME IN TO THE STORE, and fill out an information form for each coupon (that would be four), and that I should mail them away to then receive new coupons. I asked if the forms were available anywhere else to fill out and send in without making additional visits to the store, and I was told in no uncertain terms a flat, curt -“NO”.

I am not sure if these policy makers in your organization are hip to what is going on out here in the real world of kids, work, economy and the entropic nature of our society in general but: I haven’t the time to attempt to make special trips to the restaurant just for an “application session” to redeem my own in person & I don’t know too many people who do these days. I thought at first that I might be over-reacting, but I have run into many people who have the same feeling. At this point, I am wondering if I should even bother taking the ones I printed out, to the local restaurant here in Florida (Deltona).

To be honest; Up to now, other than the pleasure of making your acquaintance, I have a good amount of time, effort, a little printer ink invested & I am a little frustrated. I don’t mind paying for my food but my point is this:

If I invite you to dinner ‘gratis’ at my home, in an open attempt to gain your friendship and trust, should you have a right to be a little put out when I hand you an axe and compel you to split a chord of wood before dinner?

Just F.Y.I.: I am running into some very, very frustrated, upset people. Being that I am the curious type, I have taken to keeping a finger on the pulse of this issue in several circles. Many of them are unmoved by what some defenders of KFC are saying (basically that “people shouldn’t complain, because it’s free”, “KFC had no idea what the response would be”, “It’s all Oprah’s fault” (lol).

The point is, many people (like myself) are longtime, loyal KFC fans/patrons (personally I have never set foot in another “chicken joint”) The public take seems to be that KFC should not only have seen this coming, but shouldn’t offer something free and then plainly play “jump through these hoops” games about delivering on it regardless. This sounds hokey but what would “The Colonel” say about this display of policy and ethics?

My professional feeling is; amazement at the fact that such a historically marketing savvy, “survivalist” company as KFC could possibly be caught so “pants down” by this, and that there isn’t the depth in management there to handle this chaotic crisis on the fly.

I can tell you this: my initial feelings are that I won’t be visiting the store within the time period just to fill out a bunch of paper work. As much as I hate to sound petty; Next time I am looking to spend “out-eat” money, I will think twice about what I am experiencing.

As a savvy public relations marketing entrepreneur myself, I hope you guys have some awake and aware people on the ball, who will seize this and make it right before it hurts the company. If not, they should let you and I roll up our sleeves and get in there. SOMEONE is dropping the ball terribly! I would think, the company has about three days before this begins to stink pretty badly.

Thanks for the chance to express my opinion, and I hope you can appreciate why I took the time out of my schedule this weekend to write. If I were sitting in KFC’s ivory tower, I might just value hearing voices from the hordes that are thought out and reasonable.

Warmest Regards

Thomas Scott Negron

No comments: