I had the opportunity to deliver a 3 hour form of the important correlation of positive attitude to customer service at the Oklahoma Dept. of Rehabilitation Services Fall Meeting in Tulsa last Thursday (photo below). When I asked them of a place that came to mind when they thought of customer service and positive attitudes, Chick-Fil-A was a frontrunner as well as their QuikTrip convenience stores there.
When I talk with my three children about the ‘working world’ out there there are two things I emphasize that are critical for success: a positive attitude and customer service.
There are many other things, but those two are big. My oldest, son Jack (photo below) is a 20 year old college student who also works 4 nights a week. Because customer service is so important, I encouraged him to work at a local Chick-Fil-A as their organization is known for tremendous customer service.
I recently asked Jack to share some insights, which his manage was fine with (I called him because I wanted to make sure it was okay to reveal some of their philosophies).
“The owner and site manager of the Chick-Fil-A I work at is Edward Endres,” Jack told me. “He has an approach called ‘Think Mike.’ Mike is an older, disabled man who comes in once a week. We take his tray to his table. When families with lots of kids or older or disabled people come in, we ‘think Mike’ and take their tray to their table so they don’t struggle. We don’t ask, which would be emphasizing that they can’t or it’s a struggle for them. We just do. Edward has a slogan of ‘Second Mile Service’ which means going the extra mile.”
Jack shared all kinds of inspirational customer service methods they practice, such as they never ask, ‘How may I help you?’ Instead, it’s, “How may I serve you?’ It is all about service.
“We never say, ‘You’re welcome,'” said Jack. “We always say, ‘My pleasure.'”
Jack sometimes works the register. Other times he moves around the Chick-Fil-A looking for opportunities to serve. “When picking up trays we never say ‘trash,'” said Jack. “We always say something like, ‘May I take your tray.'”
When Jack works the counter he says they always say, “I can serve the next guest.” They always make eye contact. They then get the name so that they can let that person know their order is ready by saying their name rather than saying some number.
“They are never customers,” Jack said. “They are guests.”
Edward is very big about us not being fake, but being genuine,” he said. I think that’s a great point because I know sometimes when I go in a Jimmy John’s and they all shout out a welcome, it doesn’t seem genuine.
Jack says on the door leading out from where the food is prepared into the dining area are signs with Edward’s philosophies, such as “Think Mike” and “Second Mile Service.”
“Edward is very big about us being ‘relationable’ with customers and not ‘transactional,'” Jack told me. “It’s about building a relationship and not just taking money through a transaction. He wants us to create a tiny memory with that customer so it’s not about getting as many customers through but about being a nice place to eat.”
“We also have an approach of we should do something for them before we ask how their meal is,” he said. “For example I may go out and ask if I can refill their drink. When I bring it back then I will ask how their meal is going?”
He brings up a great point. How many times have you been in a restaurant when the manager or the waiter or waitress flies by and asks how everything is going. Then they zoom off to another station.
“When a customer asks us to do something we always answer with the word ‘absolutely,'” said Jack. “That word has an immediate and positive energy in it and it means we are going to do something immediately.”
My thanks to my son Jack for these valuable contributions. Whenever I speak at colleges I always say that their ability to have positive, solution centered and team oriented attitudes and understand the importance of exceptional customer service will dictate – along with determination and perseverance – how far they go in life.
Last year Farmer’s State Bank had me speak on positive attitude, customer service and peak performance at their off-site meeting. Their leadership had the Chick-Fil-A training video played at the end of the day. There were hardly any dry eyes after watching it. If you have not seen this short 2 minute and 39 second video, I encourage you to watch it below. It is about how every customer has a story. It … is … powerful …
–Charlie Adams is a 1985 graduate of Ole Miss and is a native of Oxford. He is also the author of 4 books on positive attitude and peak performance, including 2013′s “How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing!!” and “Stoke the Fire Within.” His books and motivational keynotes and seminars are designed to make sure events reach their objectives and to help create winning cultures. Email him at:Charlie@stokethefirewithin.com.