Customer Service- Going the Extra Mile the Chick-Fil-A Way.
What are you doing in your business to set yourself apart from your competition? What level of service are you providing to your current customer? Do you make sure that with each experience the customer leaves with a better view of your business than prior to their arrival?
Today acquiring new customers for many businesses can be challenging, so it is extremely important to maximize the relationships that you have with your current customers. One way to do this is to provide outstanding customer service.
Often I visit a local mall and I normally stop in and get a Philly-cheese steak and a drink at this one particular restaurant in the food court. Overtime, the owner of this restaurant has gotten to know me, because I am in the mall, so often, shopping and buying food and drinks from her.
While I am shopping in the mall, I normally get my drink refilled 2 or 3 times. The last time I visited her restaurant, she told me that she was going to start charging for each drink refill. I looked on the menu board and it said “Free Drink Refills.” I mentioned this to her and reminded her of how often I was in mall and how often I bought food and drinks from her. I told her that I bought food from her more than any other restaurant.
My efforts seemed futile trying to get her to understand what a loyal customer meant for her business. Still I tried three more attempts to reason with her and to no avail.
Finally she told me “I don’t care! I am charging you for the drinks.”
As soon as she said this to me, I knew I would probably not be buying any more Philly-cheese steaks from her anymore, especially when all of the other restaurants in the food court offer free drink refills. My immediate thought was well “If you don’t care, why should I care.” although I did not say this to her that is what I thought.
Instead, I asked her if she knew the difference between Chick-Fil-A and her restaurant.
She replied “No”
I explained it to her with three short words “Service and Sales.”
To make matters worse for this restaurant owner, I sat down in the food court to eat and quickly noticed the General Manager of Chick-Fil-A asking all of the Chick-Fil-A customers if he could get them a refill on their drink or get rid of their trash.
After I finished eating, I went over to the Chick-Fil-A GM and told him my story. He quickly realized the opportunity and refilled my cup for me, even though it was the cup of the other restaurant. Then he explained to me that a refill on a drink only costs 3 or 4 cents. Then he says to me “If you need your drink refilled while you are shopping, please just let me know.” Guess where I go to purchase my food in the mall now? The chicken tastes better than the Philly-cheese steak ever did.
About a month later, I was talking to the GM of the same Chick-fil-a and the mall management walked by us. I quickly stopped them and told them about the whole Chick-Fil-A experience that I had a month prior and what an outstanding job this GM did of fixing the situation and refilling my drink, even though it really was not his problem.
Mall management was very excited to hear about the service of the Chick-fil-a GM, but was pretty irritated about the service of their other tenant.
After the mall management left, the Chick-Fil-A GM reaches in his shirt pocket and hands me a FREE Chick-Fil-A sandwich card for sharing my experience with the mall management.
That is service and that is why Chick-Fil-A excels in sales.
The lesson to be learned from all of this is the owner of this business had a very loyal customer and because of one bad experience, and a competitor having better customer service, I will probably never buy from her again.
Loyal customers are the life blood of your art business. Whatever you have to do to take care of your customers, just do it.
Current customers are the lifeblood of your business for several reasons.
- It takes up to 8 times more money to acquire a new customer as it does to maintain a current customer.
- Current customers are more likely to purchase from you on a regular basis than new customers
- Current customers are less sensitive to price than new customers.
- Current customers have already had a positive experience with you and that is why they have returned.
Plus, now with social media and all of the review sites that are online and on mobile phones, the entire dynamics of the business to customer relationship is changing. The customers have a lot more control over who visits your business and most of it is based off of their total customer experience.
This includes the quality of your product, the service you offer, and did the price justify the entire experience.
Social media is dramatically changing the customer and business relationship. Depending on the experience of your customer determines what they tell their friends about you and your business in person, on Facebook, Twiiter, Google’s +1 or whether they leave that positive or negative review on the web. This will either bring you more customers or chase people away.
In the future, as more and more people integrate the mobile Smartphone technology into their lifestyle customer service is going to be even more paramount and the reviews will be immediate as they leave your business. It all makes a difference!
I know personally, I go out of my way above and beyond anyone’s expectations to make sure the customer leaves happy.
So my question to you is what are you doing to offer outstanding customer service in your business?
Here are a couple of customer services guidelines for that you can implement:
- When a customer approaches or walks into your business, or if you are meeting with a customer, always smile and say hello. I have walked into many small businesses where the staff never even acknowledged I was there. This is not good for sales or building repoire with your customers.
- If a customer comes to you with a complaint try to solve it. Instead of viewing the complaint as a negative, look at it as a way to improve and earn a loyal customer.
- Remember service sells and people will pay for a higher level of service. So go the extra mile and make sure all of your clients leave with an experience that was above their expectations.
Following these guidelines and using commonsense and just remember how you like to be treated when you visit a store or a restaurant. One final tip, to see this in action, go be a customer at a high end retail store and look at the service they offer you compared to other stores. Incorporate some of those customer service strategies into you business also.
Or better yet, visit your local Chick-Fil-A and watch how they interact with customers. To follow up on this story, yesterday while I was at eating at Chick-Fil-a, I noticed one of the managers go outside with a customer and try to jump start his car. They still could not get it started. So the manager went to his truck, got out his toolbox and started to try and fix the customer’s truck and get it started for him. He stayed outside for almost an hour until the car eventually started. That is service is service and going the extra mile to earn a lifelong customer.