Monday, February 22, 2010

Dear Jack...

A letter to Jack, c/o Jack-in-the-Box
Dear Jack,
I  stopped at your restaurant the other day for lunch. I was in a hurry & you guys are fast.  I also like that you serve breakfast all day.  Sometimes, I like 87 pieces of meat & cheese on one bun too.  So, variety and fast are the draws for me. 

That day you were trying something new.  There was giant red-ish ATM looking box out in front with a friendly attendant beside it. Nice kid.  The box had pretty images of all the food and a touch screen for people to select their choices.  Then, it would take their money, give change - the whole sale.  It had a friendly female voice.  Must be your wife in there... uh Jackie is it?  It's like those self service things in Lowe's, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, probably your local grocery store. 

The attendant was out front and not at the usual register.  Behind the counter, I heard workers say as they looked toward Jackie, "He wants us to use that and not the register for the front".  No customer knew how to run Jackie in the box to get their food, so the cashier was there doing it for every one.   There was a family of four in front of me.  Jackie's helper patiently stepped them through each question & option for each item the chose. 

"Do you want cheese?"  Someone has to touch yes or no.
"Do you want sauce?"  Someone, please touch yes or no - just like last time.
"Do you want to Super Size, that?"  touch it. NOW!
"How about the drink only?"  Answer her by touching the right spot!
"How about the fries only?"  Noooooooooo!  Stop with the questions!

Everyone was helping touch the screen too.  Nice... I get to handle something handled by thousands just before eating. 

Finally after 5-6 minutes of watching as we moved to the 4th person, I left.  Went to the Burger King across the street. The one next to my other 5 options for fast food where the cashiers take my order quickly and effectively. It was cheaper too. 

So Jack, whoever told you the talking, touch screen, self serve, Jackie-in-the-box was a good idea...?  Well, draw your own conclusion. 

My Best,
What's the lesson for the rest of us?  There are several I suspect - some of which deserve a whole post.  Somebody in Jack's house fell in love with something that others were doing at their point-of-sale and sold it internally as a good idea. I actually like the non-linear thinking and for a moment thought it might be fun. Until I saw the process in action and pondered the whole idea while standing there.

In the internet presence management space, I see the same thinking applied a lot on websites, social media or in the use of 3rd party ads (like Google's Adsense).  Jumping on band wagon to do something because it's the latest thing or everyone is doing should always be pondered at some length.  It maybe really cool but, still not fit your needs, those of your client or your brand.  Think about the purpose and value of it first.  Not the "whiz-bang" factor only. 

Note: I am certain Jack's people presented a wonderful ROI story on Jackie.  Problem would have been - someone had vested interest in it delivering that ROI.   Maybe the round headed one himself.

Let's Grow!