Shortly afterwards, a pair of lorries collided near junction one, neither driver was injured.

These three junctions are in the vicinity of Rugby, where DHL – KFC’s recently appointed logistics company and only warehouse is located. With the DHL lorries stuck in the traffic as soon as they left the depot, and no other locations to send deliveries from, the delays that would lead to the KFC chicken shortage began here.

By February 16th, the lack of chicken began to hit stores. KFC’s started to shut down locations in response to their missing ingredients, meaning that by February 18th, only 266 of the 870 restaurants in the UK and Ireland were open.

By February 19th, news had broke across the UK and the nation had officially gone into fried chicken mourning…

In our latest insight series, we tell the story of how the KFC Customer Care Team delivered support to customers during the Great British Fried Chicken Crisis and how they can use HelpHandles™ Customer Service Health Profile for better contingency planning and expectation management in times of crisis.

Inbound Mention Volume

The KFC Customer Care Team received a total 1,076 mentions from the day of the initial incident Weds 14th February up until 21 February when KFC outlets started to reopen and serve chicken.

Response Rate

Over the week long fried chicken crisis, the KFC Customer Support Team responded to 300 (28%) mentions to their help handle…

Responses under 30mins

…of which 44% (132) of those responses were made quickly in under 30 mins.

Support Coverage

The KFC Customer Support team were busy over great British fried chicken crisis with customer service peaking for late lunch around 3pm GMT time responding to customers at a rate of 30+ replies per hour and again for dinner at 7pm, GMT with 40+ replies per hour.

Top Hashtags

It was pretty obvious what had gone down on Twitter…

Sentiment

…and even more obvious that customers weren’t too chuffed either…

Conclusion

The #KFCCrisis is a complex one involving many stakeholders from logistics, supply chain, retail stores, customer service, and marketing reacting as quickly as they can to manage customer expectations and turn around public opinion in the midst of an unplanned crisis.

Whilst many will be analysing what could have been done to reduce the impact and disruption to KFC, what is becoming obvious is the lack of contingency planning and expectation management to ensure better resilience during times of increased pressure on the business.

Whilst the KFC Customer Care team did their best to respond and deflect the incoming flood of grief and complaints to their help handle, ultimately the team had their back up against the wall and were fully in reactive mode.

During unpredictable times of increased volume of mentions and complaints, social media customer support teams can use their HelpHandles Customer Service Health Dashboard as a crisis management solution to proactively manage customer expectations. Giving customers more information and access to real time updates on customer service performance during busy times can help improve the outcomes of customer conversations and help improve satisfaction, even when your customers are a hangry bunch and can’t get their fix of finger lickin’ fried chicken.