When I am on the road a bit there is one business that seems to have a tractor beam on me. I can't get away no matter how hard I try. And that place is Chick-fil-A. In fact if you've seen me lately I am beginning to show signs of my affection for their original chicken sandwiches (around my waist).
Their restaurants are always clean and employees polite. No matter how long the line is it always seems to move more efficiently than any other fast-food place I've ever been to. I love how when I say thank you they say "My pleasure," as if it was a computer program that had no other ability then to give you a polite smile and a Ritz Carlton reply rather than the typical nod or "your welcome." Watch their eyes while they work. Their employees are always paying attention. And not just to the customer from their line --- but to ALL GUESTS.
Steve Hoggle (Honda of Ocala) and I recently attended the Automotive Leadership Roundtable in Miami, FL where a guest speaker (a real DEALER!) relayed his recent retail experience at Best Buy:
And I paraphrase: "It was time to buy my teenage daughter a laptop for school. We had some time before an evening commitment so we all agreed to head to Best Buy to purchase the laptop and then head somewhere for a fun sit-down dinner. At Best Buy it took forever to get anyone's attention. When we were finally waited upon I found the associate knew little about his product let alone the competitors products. Our decision became instantly less clear but finally after about an hour we purchased the laptop that we had actually initially come into purchase. Since our Best Buy experience ($1400 dollars for a new laptop) had dragged on we no longer had time for our sit-down dinner. We headed to Chick-fil-A for food to meet our time crunch."
"The line was super long and I figured a frustrating evening was about to get more so. There was a young blonde women approaching our car so before I could get out of line I rolled down my window:"
Associate: "Sir we apologize for the wait this evening but we would like for you to enjoy a free sample while you wait to place your order"
Me: "Thank You – Sure"
Associate: "My pleasure"
"The line moved quickly and we checked our bags when we arrived at the delivery window. Everything that we had ordered was accounted for and in our bag."
Me: "Can I speak to your manager"
Associate: "Sure is their something Wrong?"
Me: "No I'd just like to pay them a compliment"
A minute later up walks the same young blonde girl from before (the one with the free samples, the one who was walking outside of the store in the drive thru).
Me: "I get it. I get it. I get it. I just spent $1400 dollars on a laptop at Best Buy and $16.89 with your restaurant and I received a better experience HERE. Thank You"
Manager: "My Pleasure."
Lesson Learned: Culture is built through process but also by example. Never ask your associate to do something that you yourself wouldn't do. Lead by example.