Great Customer Service Tastes Like Chicken Too!
Posted on October 10, 2010 by Nathan R Mitchell, One of Thousands of Business Coaches on Noomii.
Small business consulting company, Clutch Consulting LLC, Tulsa, OK, addresses the great customer service of a fast-food winner.
Excellent customer service is usually not synonymous with fast food; that is, unless the fast food company is Chic-Fil-A. Chic-Fil-A, home of the “Eat More Chikin” brand, was founded by Truett Cathy in the early 1960′s, and opened its first restaurant at a mall in a suburb of Atlanta in 1967. Since the company’s inception, it has grown steadily over the past 40-plus years, and now claims 1500 locations in 38 states. The company’s sales are now more than $3.2 billion annually.
What makes Chic-Fil-A different? First of all, team members have a sense of urgency; they are attentive to the needs of the customer, and are trained to be extremely polite. For example, anytime a customer says “thank you,” team members respond with “my pleasure!” Sounds like something you would hear at a much finer eating establishment, but the company’s founder believes in adding personal touches to the fast-food dining experience that customers don’t typically expect.
Each year, the company spends more than $1 million evaluating its customer service. Through the use of focus groups and customer surveys, the company is able to identify factors that most affect customer loyalty, and utilizes the date collected to strategically work on them. Utilizing “Open Book Management” techniques, each store location receives a report detailing how they are doing relative to the top performers in the chain; thus allowing them to identify gaps, and come up with a game plan for success. With regards to speed of service, Chic-Fil-A strives to complete orders within 90 seconds at the drive-thru, and 60 seconds inside the store. Unlike McDonalds, Chic-Fil-A serves the customers inside quicker than they do those in the drive-thru. It is one way the company differentiates itself from the competition.
Chic-Fil-A is not shy about making it known that they are a successful organization with Christian values; nor should they be. In fact, the company spends a great deal of time hiring employees that share the company’s values. New franchisees endure numerous interviews. Oftentimes their spouse, parents, and other family members get interviewed as well. Although it is not mandatory that employees be Christian, they must be of good character and be humble, passionate about what they do, empathetic to the needs of the customer, and genuine.
To this day, every Chic-Fil-A restaurant is closed on Sundays in observance of a day of rest and worship. And with $3.2 billion in annual sales, the company’s financial vitality is not at stake as a result of only being open six days out of the week!