The Secret Marketer: Does your social media live up to expectations?

This week I was approached by a journalist for my comments on customer experience. My immediate response was that this was an expression from the 1980s when ‘quality circles’ was the latest fad. However, a personal experience at my local fast food store brought it all crashing home…

Secret Marketer

I got home from work to receive a flier through the door offering me a discount at my local fast food joint – let’s call it Fast Food Delivery.

The branding on the flier was identical to that of the parent company – Fast Food – and most people would assume Fast Food Delivery was merely a sub-brand that offers a home delivery service, much like the way that Tesco Personal Finance is part of the grocery retailer.

I should have realised something was not right when I found the delivery discount offer required me to “collect” from the store.

But off I toddled to my local Fast Food outlet, only to be told that they could not honour the deal, as Fast Food Delivery had its own premises and operational set-up.

So I tweeted my discontent.

And would you know, I got a tweet back within minutes from Fast Food expressing their concern and giving me the details of who to raise it with (so, obviously the parent company or their agency manage their social media experience).

Ten days after my email, I got a response back but rather than an explanation, it was a standard “thank you for your enquiry… we value your opinion… it will be passed to the relevant department to help us improve your experience”. And that was that – no apology, no explanation. Nothing.

Which brings me back to the subject of customer experience. Whose crazy idea was it to create a sub-brand that offers the identical product but through a completely different distribution channel and in such a way that can only confuse the customer?

To add insult to injury, the company’s social media set-up was spot on but was just not carried through – in speed nor deed – by the real operation.

This is one of the biggest fast food companies in the world, yet this experience was disappointing.

Sub-brands can be useful but also dangerous territory. And as I have said before, social media sets expectations that the rest of the operation must live up to.

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