Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Fast Company | Chick-fil-A's Recipe for Customer Service

Fast Company Chick-fil-A's Recipe for Customer Service

I missed the free cow giveaway, but here's some of Chick-fil-A's customer service ideas. Are they on the stock market somewhere?

Mind your manners "My pleasure"

Cathy loves to add service touches that people don't expect from a fast-food restaurant. His latest is folding the last sheet of toilet paper into a triangular point. He believes it conveys a sense of cleanliness and meticulousness that customers appreciate. When he or one of the operators comes up with a new twist, he promptly sends out a voicemail message to owner-operators at the nearly 1,200 locations.

Nobody sells your business like your customers
After serving the crowd a free dinner, Cathy gives them 10 coupons for free meals and deputizes these "raving fans" to act as Chick-fil-A ambassadors. They promise to spread the word and hand out each coupon to a different person, someone unfamiliar with the restaurant.

If you want to race, build yourself a race car
In Louisville, Kentucky, owner Chris Flanagan erected a big red "drive-through wall of fame" to motivate employees. It lists the current record (110 cars an hour) and the names of the employees who achieved it. Whenever a team sets a new mark, he rewards each member with $50.

Know what matters to customers
The 20 or so questions focus on four factors that most affect loyalty according to Chick-fil-A research: taste, speed, attentiveness and courteousness, and cleanliness

You're can't be too thorough about hiring
The process of selecting new franchisees is so painstaking and lengthy (up to a year) that it's easier getting into the CIA

Operators don't necessarily have to be Christian, Cathy says, but they do have to exhibit humility, passion for service, compassion, and genuineness.

The main idea of "servant leadership," says Cathy, is that leaders serve the staff. Managers treat their employees how they want those employees, in turn, to treat customers. "If we have to keep telling people what to do, it means we're not modeling the behavior ourselves," says Cathy. "If we're living it every day, we don't need to talk about it."

Great article at FastCompany.

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