Posts Tagged ‘think differently’

Above And Beyond The Call Of Duty

Friday, January 14th, 2011

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While I am a big supporter of our nation’s military, this post isn’t about them.  It’s about going above and beyond the call of duty in our business.

A perfect example of this is Chick-fil-a.  If you don’t know about Chick-fil-a, or have a restaurant near you…I’m sorry.  Stop reading this blog — RIGHT NOW — and go to the Chick-fil-a website and find out how to become a franchisee.  I’m serious!  I’ll wait.  (No, I am not affiliated with Chick-fil-a in any way…just a fan.)

Not only does Chick-fil-a have great chicken (the new SPICY chicken sandwich is the best!), they lead the industry in having the lowest turnover rates (many start in high school, continue through college, go into management after college, and later become franchisees), they have great advertising (I never thought I would say cows were cute.) — this is a company that knows how to create customer evangelists.  They truly go above and beyond the call of duty.

Some examples:

  • Staff, often management, walks the floor at the restaurant to see if there is anything the customer needs, including free refills on beverages.  (If only they offered that on the spicy chicken sandwich…  Never mind, I’m already a 3-time loser..I mean gainer…I mean joiner…at Weight Watchers.)
  • When it’s raining, there’s a smiling staff member dressed like the Gordon’s fisherman with the largest umbrella I’ve ever seen — escorting patrons from their car to the restaurant and the restaurant to their car.  (I had a window seat one day watching a teenager break into a run when he saw someone without an umbrella getting out of their car.  That impressed me!)
  • No matter what the weather — even when it’s 100+ degrees outside in Houston’s heat and humidity — there’s a staff member outside in the drive-through lane taking orders for people waiting in line BEFORE they even get to the ordering “station.”  Why?  It decreases the time each patron waits in line.  They are focused on continuous improvement!
  • When you thank a staff member, when you receive your order, for a refill, or whatever, they respond with “my pleasure.”  In an era when you say “thank you” and, if you’re acknowledged at all, it’s typically with “no problem,” this is HUGE!  “No problem”  is one of those phrases that sets my mother (a Boomer) off.  (“Whatever happened to ‘you’re welcome.'”  “Why should it be a ‘problem.'”)  Good point, mom.  Words matter.

These are just four examples of how one company is going above and beyond the call of duty.  Oh, and for those of you that aren’t familiar with Chick-fil-a, it’s a quick-serve restaurant (formerly known as “fast food,” just like “pre-owned” vehicles were formerly known as “used.”  I repeat — words matter.).   If a quick-serve restaurant can deliver this level of service, why are so few OTHER companies following their lead?

How does Chick-fil-a do it?  Their corporate culture is obviously something special to generate the kind of loyalty — from their employees — that is not only unmatched in the quick-serve industry, it’s pretty impressive PERIOD.  And that culture from the top is creating herds (pun intended) of customer evangelists like myself.

What are you do doing for YOUR clients that goes above and beyond the call of duty?   Please leave a comment to share it with my readers, or recognize a company that has gone above and beyond the call of duty for YOU.

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ADDENDUM:  In looking for a photo for this blog, I found something Chick-fil-a does NOT do well!  Self-promotion!  They have an online store with SOOOOOO many cute things!  (I especially love the Exercise/Nutrition Journal — so I can “Lose That Burger Belly!”  Please, oh please, don’t tell me how many hours of Zumba I need to do to work off my beloved spicy chicken sandwich!)  Attention, Chick-fil-a management:  if you somehow stumbled upon my blog, you might want to promote your store more — or at all — there are fans out there waiting for you!



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