Wednesday, 3 July 2013

How *Not* to use Social Media

KFC is a big brand. Its known all over the world for fried chicken done to perfection using the Colonel's secret recipe of eleven spices and herbs. Except in South Africa, where they appear to have a problem with the concept of the chicken. Raw chicken is not good, even when coated in eleven herbs and spices. This is a photo of a recent purchase we made... Not at all appetising and more to the point, dangerous to health. Their facebook page is inundated with pics of substandard products and tales of poor service.

The problem with KFC South Africa is that they appear to have contracted out their complaints handling operation to the most cack-handed and inept operation we've ever come across (and there are lots of them in the world of digital media management, believe me! ). This company is called DSG but they don't handle the actual social media itself  - this is done 'in house' so there is an immediate disconnect in their customer service operation there. very poor!

Now, To recap the story so far. KFC South Africa are struggling with customer service and quality of their food. They have subcontracted their complaints operation to a so-called specialist in this field, DSG.


We started posting comments and pictures on their Facebook page two days ago. We also started engaging in conversation with other disgruntled customers on both Facebook and Twitter, as well as blogging about the standard of food and service we've received from KFC over the years. But instead of heading us off at the pass by answering our comments and getting in touch with us by private message or Twitter DM, they simply posted their standard reply over and over again. From what we can see, they have three responses which they cut and paste onto Facebook in answer to complaints and comments. Apart from this, their entire Social Media strategy (if you can call it that) is to 'broadcast' KFC news. There is no real meaningful engagement with their customers. In fact, its not a social media strategy at all, its simply a digital media advertising strategy.

KFC South Africa (and DSG) have missed the point entirely. Its not called *social* media for nothing guys!
A real missed opportunity to build brand loyalty by true engagement with consumers, and to deal with complaints effectively, turning them around into satisfied customers. Just standard replies and broadcasting. Boring and ineffective.


But there's worse... When we continued to engage with Facebook users who had made complaints, they blocked us from their facebook !! How stupid is that? Not only do they have a complete lack of understanding of how social media is supposed to work, but they send out the message (which we continue to spread on Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, Google+, Trip Advisor, FourSquare etc etc) that if you complain too much about their food or service, they'll try to silence you by blocking you from their page. Problem with this folks is that there are simply too many other social media channels on which to create the conversation about their poor quality food and indifferent customer service.


They must be worried because no less than the Executive Director (restaurants) from KFC South Africa, Peter Horne, phoned me up to ask what it would take for us to stop attacking their brand! They just don't get it do they? Its their abusive use of social media both themselves and via DSG which is the problem. DSG just don't get how to use it properly, and thats whats attacking their brand, not us...Daryl Shapiro from DSG who also called me yesterday needs to take a long hard look at his company social media operation because he's letting his clients down - big time. They advertise social media management on their website but they just don't deliver (see the last blog post on here about using a specialist social media consultant).

And so to prove the point, we made up our own facebook page, Finger Lickin Gross which has had hundreds of views in a few short hours. We've blogged about this as well. Again, thousands of hits. The twitter amplification has topped 250K views.  Please go visit, and comment, because it is supposed to be social media after all. And help us prove a point !

And to KFC South Africa... you might want to rethink and refashion your complaints handling process, because it's not working to protect your brand from the terrible service and poor quality food your restaurants serve up here in South Africa. Social media is about creating conversations. So go online and talk *with* your customers and stop talking *at* them.

Oh yes...and remember, blocking customers won't stop them talking on social media, it just encourages them to talk more...


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