Tuesday, February 14, 2012

KFC Malaysia Crisis: I-City KL Incident of Customer Assault

KFC Malaysia has once again been thrown into the limelight. On 7 Feb 2012, a video was uploaded showing a KFC employee assaulting a customer at its I-City Kuala Lumpur outlet. KFC Malaysia responded promptly to the incident by posting a video message by its Deputy President on its Facebook page.

The message in KFC's Facebook video was (a) we regret and acknowledge the incident; (b) we are conducting an internal investigation and have suspended the employees involved; (c) a police report has been made; (d) we constant train and monitor our staff but our system failed us in this instance: and (e) we will learn and improve to prevent it from occurring again. A quick analysis of online reaction to KFC Malaysia's response shows that netizens are still angry.

So where did KFC Malaysia go wrong? Let's conduct a Stakeholder Analysis and see how KFC Malaysia could have done better …



If you look at the Stakeholder Analysis, the Stakeholders had two main issues/ concerns - customer safety at KFC outlets and whether KFC Malaysia would cover-up the incident.

Hence, if you look at KFC Malaysia’s response, you will realise that it did not fully address stakeholder concerns resulting in continued anger by netizens. Using the Stakeholder Analysis as a basis, KFC Malaysia’s key messages should have been as follows:

(a) KFC Malaysia acknowledges and regrets the incident;
(b) KFC Malaysia takes the safety of its customers and employees very seriously; and
(c) KFC Malaysia will deal with this incident in an open, firm and fair manner and asks for the public’s patience and understanding.

An important point that was not reflected in KFC Malaysia’s response is that to their internal stakeholders. Perhaps they did communicate it, but we are not privy to it, but I believe that customer and employee safety are equally important messages. While the customer is always right, it does not give them the right to abuse an employee. Thus, I believe it is important that any KFC response emphasizes “KFC Malaysia takes the safety of its customers and employees very seriously” and that “KFC Malaysia will deal with this incident in an open, firm and fair manner.” The latter message being to reassure employees that KFC Malaysia will not unfairly discipline its employees for the sake of a customer.


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