What is the magic?
Chick fil A just reported their system-wide sales numbers for 2008. It is their 16th year of straight year of double digit growth. Now I know you are thinking in this economy fast food is one of the few companies reporting profits. But the 16 year figure and same store sales up by 4.6 percent indicates this is not a company simply benefiting from people watching their dollars. And how did they accomplish this?
Customer service seems to be their trump card. They are rolling out an initiative called “second mile” service. The first mile is already solidly in place. This includes basics such as a clean parking lot, smiling faces and great food. Employees also say “it’s my pleasure” when responding to a customer thank you. That is a lot better than what I mostly hear when I say thank you and the most common response is “no problem”.
So what can a fast food restaurant do to go the second mile? The second mile is teaching staff more etiquette and encouraging a walk through the dining room to check on guest’s needs. I was recently approached and asked, “May I refresh your beverage?”, now that was a surprise. Truett Cathy, the founder and owner of this 63 year old business, says they are always tweaking and refining. He poses these 2 questions, how do you stay relevant with the customer? And how do you continue to reshape and retool the business?
Now is a good time to ask those questions for your own business. Think for a moment, this is fast food – a business with limited face time with the customers yet they have figured out how to create very loyal customers. What have you done lately to create second mile service? This stuff works. I even have my favorite Chick fil A where I love to be served by Sair at the drive through and am hugely disappointed when he is not there – that is fierce customer loyalty.
Make something good happen today.