Prime Coat—February, 2018

By Hans Mugler,

  Filed under: Departments, Lead, Primecoat


When The Bucket Runs Dry

Running a small business can be hard, very hard, but don’t think running a big business is any easier; take Kentucky Fried Chicken for instance. You may have heard that KFC has been hit with a chicken shortage.

I’m not kidding—you can’t make this stuff up.

Many of KFC’s British stores have been experiencing a chicken shortage for a few weeks now, and more than half of its 900 locations in Great Britain have been closed until new supplies of chicken make their way from new distributors looking to turn the tide. The powers that be at KFC have gone onto Twitter to apologize to their customers and the picture they ran shows an empty KFC chicken bucket. The apology that ran with the article said…

“A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It’s not ideal. Huge apologies to our customers, especially those who traveled out of their way to find we were closed. And endless thanks to our KFC team members and our franchise partners for working tirelessly to improve the situation. It’s been a hell of a week, but we’re making progress, and every day more and more fresh chicken is being delivered to our restaurants. Thank you for bearing with us.”

You have to give credit to KFC for admitting the problem, poking fun at themselves via Twitter, and trying to do what they can to fix the issue for their customers. They didn’t run and hide. They stood up and acknowledged what needed to be said, and they are handling the problem.

As an independent paint store owner, you’re not going to run out of chicken, but maybe your inventory runs low on a product, and a customer is standing there waiting for it…impatiently. What do you do to fix the situation? Obviously, there are multiple ways you can attempt to fix the problem. If you have a good POS system (check out our article on that subject next month in TPD), hopefully the problem doesn’t arise—your POS system should be good enough to tell you when inventory is falling short on a particular product or product line.

Maybe the customer will allow you to color match the product with a competitive line to solve the issue. Maybe you can special order the product and have shipping expedite it. Maybe you can offer to bring the product to the jobsite as soon as it arrives in your store. Maybe a discount is in order for the customer, because remember, the customer is always right, and it’s funny to me how often a customer will bring that up to win an argument.

Bottom line, many small business owners, i.e., most independent paint store owners, are problem solvers much of the time. Knowing what the problem is and coming up with the most effective ways of dealing with the issue can really set you apart from the paint manager at a big box store, who usually doesn’t have the ability to solve problems the same way you can solve them.

Admit to the customer that the situation is not ideal and move directly to problem solving, because when you position yourself as the authority on problem solving in your business and store, you will have customers consistently coming back to you…just not for fried chicken.

Then again, an occasional free lunch is a great way to get some noontime business!