A contractor and his plumber was at my house to install a new water heater and wash basin a few days ago.
While his plumber was going about his work, we had a little chat.
The contractor was sharing with me his experiences with different customers he encountered.
One of the customer demanded the tiles of his balcony to be replaced because the tiles expanded and popped up under the sun. The contractor relayed it and still the customer was not satisfied. The contractor re-do the balcony for a third time. When he asked for payment after the third time, the customer said he needed to observe it for two weeks before making payment.
One month has passed and there wasn't any complaint or feedback from the customer. So the contractor asked for payment again. But when he did so, the customer said he needed to observe for another two weeks.
Another customer had his house renovation completed in April 2015. When asked for payment, he claimed he did not have the money and request to delay the payment till July 2015 after he received his bonus.
The best one was a owner of a new house told the contractor that his workers cannot use the toilet bowl.
"Where are my workers going to pee? This is a new estate and there wasn't any public toilet," the contractor said.
I was like "Huh?"
Then I said, "How will the owner know if you use it without him knowing?"
This was what the contractor replied.
"He used plastic to wrap up the whole toilet bowl!"
A marketing manager with a large company received an email invitation to attend a seminar on digital marketing.
He registered for the talk and forwarded the invitation to his business associate who runs a consultancy business specializing in marketing.
The consultant promptly signed up as well.
Two days before the talk, both of them wrote in to the organizer to check if they have been successful as they did not receive any confirmation.
The marketing manager received a reply informing him that his registration is confirmed. But there was no reply to the consultant.
Why did the organizer choose to reply to one but not the other? Did he choose to reply based on certain criteria such as size of company, company brand, job title and potential to sell something to the candidate based on these criteria? If this is the case, that could probably explains the reason why the consultant owner's email was ignored. But could he at least has the courtesy to respond to the email? Was he too busy, too lazy or simply couldn't be bothered with those he classified as poor prospect? And what makes him think that a person with senior job title from a big company is a better prospect than a small business owner?
Guess what happened when the both of them talked about this organizer?
Did you see the new self order kiosk by McDonald's? (Click here)
I had an opportunity to try out the new machine recently.
They have all these machine right at the entrance of the outlet, which customers will pass through even before they reach the counters. The idea is to let you place your order yourself without having to speak to a counter staff.
The whole process is simple and hassle-free. You just need to select eat-in or take-away and from the menu what you want to order based on the food categories. Say you want to order a Big Mac. You just select Burger from the food category. The screen will show you a list of burgers based on the meat patty. So you have beef, chicken and fish. Select beef and you will see a list of the different beef burgers they have (hamburger, cheeseburger, McDouble, etc). When you click on the Big Mac, you will be prompted with the options of ala carte or set meal.
I believe that you can choose to change the drinks and whether to upsize your set meal and all the combinations that a customer ever asked that McDonald's can think of (though I did not try it). Adding on other items and removing wrong items ordered are also fuss free.
Once you've confirmed everything, you'll be prompted for payment either by cash or card. If you pay by card, you will collect a payment slip with an order number and can proceed to the waiting area to wait for your order. For payment by cash, you'll need to queue at the counter to make payment. You will then be issued with a order number slip before proceeding to wait for your order.
This is a totally new way of ordering fast food for the industry. The idea behind it is not new. We've been doing it for a long time since e-commerce was born. But it is the first time the idea is being implemented in a physical environment instead of online.
The beauty about this self order kiosk is that it not only allows you to place order, it also allows you to customize your burger, something that McDonald's is not known for in the past.
McDonald's is well-known for its system for churning out an average burger in the most efficient and cost effective way. Its system is so idiot-proof that any person in any position can be easily replaced by another cos there is a manual that the person can follow that works all the times. Try ordering a hamburger without pickle in the past and you'll know how inflexible the system can be. It just doesn't allow for any variation. And so someone who doesn't eat pickle literally has to remove it herself.
Of course, things have improved and now you can order a hamburger without pickle.
With this new feature, customers can so called order a "gourmet burger" with premium ingredient like wagyu beef and according to their liking. Prices will depends on the types and number of fillings you choose.
Another difference between ordering customized burger and standard items is that the customized food will be served to customers at their seats with nice presentation.
Photo Source : McDonald's Singapore
Is this a counter measure for the tight labor market in Singapore? Did McDonald's develop it themselves? If not, did other fast food restaurants think of this idea as well? What's so special about this initiative and what can we learn from it?
1. These self ordering kiosks probably cost a lot in capital investment. It's not so simple as just putting in a few machines for customers to place their orders. It involves redesign of their whole operations. In fact, the outlet that I went to underwent a renovation of their counters and kitchen. Counters shrink from about 6 to 3. There is a pick up counter, a monitor to show the order number. The kitchen is reconfigured to accommodate customization of burger.
Staff work flow and duties tweaked so that they now bring food to the customers. The systems have to be integrated so that customers who pay by card will have their orders automatically sent to the kitchen for preparation, which then gets reflected on the monitor when order is ready for collection.
McDonald's strength lies in its size. With more than 100 outlets, they can achieve economies of scale. Ordering 100 or 200 of these kiosks will cost less per kiosk than ordering just one. They also have the mass in customers to ensure that these kiosks are used frequent enough to justify the investment.
When this new initiative was launched, they have their staff manning these kiosks to promote and encourage customers to try out and also to guide and teach them how to use it.
McDonald's know that no matter how easy a new technology is, there is always fear in trying out something new, especially in a public place where the stake of looking stupid is high. Old habits are hard to change. Without the encouragement, would customers even notice it, let alone trying it out without prompting? Will they have the misconception that the kiosks are for customized burger? Would customers feel stupid if they do not know how to start? Would customers feel lost if they make a wrong entry?
2. The kiosk is so easy to use. McDonald's has thought through all the possible steps in placing an order and also what mistakes customers are likely to make using the kiosk.
3. By replacing order counters with self ordering kiosks, McDonald's not only reduce the number of staff they require to man the counter, they also free up resources to be redeploy to other areas. There are fewer cases of staff keying in wrong order due to miscommunication and communication barrier. More importantly, with less requirement for manpower, they save costs and time on recruitment, training, scheduling and staff issues.
4. As mentioned, the new kiosk allows customers to order customized burger which are at a premium price. This means that the order size per customer increases for every customer who customizes.
5. For customers who order customized burger, food will be served to them at their seats. Instead of giving a number stand to customers, a beeper is given instead. Such beepers are used in other F&B businesses where customers are informed that their orders are ready for collection when the beeper sounds. So you must be wondering why is McDonald's using a beeper instead of a number stand? After all, a number stand makes it easier for staff to spot the customer when serving the meal. My guess is that since preparation of customized burger is still in its early stage, there will be a lot of teething problems. So for the start, the meals are sent to customers instead of getting them to collect themselves. But there will come a day when the whole process of customization becomes so efficient and seamless and integrate with the rest of the work flow nicely that customers do not have to wait long for their order to be ready. And that's when the beeper will be useful. Could it be McDonald's intention that in future, customers who order customized burger will have to collect their food themselves? Or perhaps they will continue to serve the food to the customers so that they can make justification for the price.
Never let it define
- Who you are
- How you behave
- What you can/cannot do
- What you are entitled to
- How you treat others
- How you value others
- What you must/must not do
- Your duties and responsibilities
- Your relationship with others
- Japanese Association in Singapore
- Universal Music Singapore
- Optical Shop in Johor Bahru
- Shopping Mall in Bangkok
- SBS Transit
Facebook Page that never read and respond to messages.
Which makes one wonder if they set up Facebook Pages because it was hot at that time?
Are they leaving it die a natural death knowing that they are not achieving their objectives or lack of manpower? Which leads to the next question - why not shut it down? Perhaps they've forgotten that they have one.
Many years back, there was a Southwest Airline passenger who never failed to send a letter to the company after every flight she took, when email was still not invented.
In fact, she wrote so many letters that she became known as "Pen Pal" in the company.
She complaint there was no first class. She asked why no meal was served. She wanted to have assigned seats. Every letter is a complaint about her dissatisfaction with the airline services.
Being a customer-oriented company, the airline did their best to addressed her feedback.
Unfortunately, nothing they said or did would satisfy this customer.
As usual, after her latest flight on Southwest, she sent in a letter giving a whole long list of her displeasure, which stumped the customer relations staff. The letter was sent to Herb Kelleher's desk with a note: "This one's yours."
Instead of pacifying this offended passenger with free drink coupons or a gift, Herb wrote the woman back a four-word message.
1. Too small quota?
2. Too many emails?
3. Too few staff?
4. No one manning the mail box?