One lesson that my mom taught me has stuck with me like glue throughout the years. Always go above and beyond. It’s important in business. And it’s important in your personal life.
My buddy Trip sent me a message on G Chat the other day. He just had to tell me about the awesome experience he had with his gun manufacturer. This company went above and beyond. They did things he didn’t expect. They basically made his used gun feel like it was brand new. I’m not a gun dude, but if I were, I would be going where he went. The best businesses aren’t the ones that give you what you ask for. They exceed that. They make great customer service the number one priority.
Chick-fil-a is a company based around two C’s – chicken and customer service. Their motive is to create “raving fans” that not just enjoy a good old fashioned deep fried chicken sandwich, but have an awesome experience that they tell others about. To accomplish this they’ve become far more than just a run of the mill fast food restaurant. Their customer service liaisons waltz through the dining room offering to take your finished tray and give you refills on your Coke or sweet tea. They are courteous at every turn. They greet with a smile and say “my pleasure” as they hand you your tray. Chick-Fil-A isn’t just serving chicken. They’re serving kindness.
There’s a new start-up used car company in my hometown of Atlanta. Their name is Carvana (very fitting name) and they have their own set of customer service tenets that elevate them to a level far beyond your neighborhood used car dealer. If you have any questions while doing your shopping online a joyful Carvana Advocate is ready and waiting to help you – no silly prompts and having to punch the number 6 to get to a human. Once you accept delivery you’ll probably find something extra you didn’t expect like a gas card in the tank or even a dog bed for your pooch in the back seat(they seriously did that). And if you decide you don’t like the new ride there’s a no hassle refund policy for seven days. What other car dealer offers that? You can even keep that dog bed!
One time I received a hand written note from Wag.com with my order. I honestly don’t even remember why. There was some minor issue with the order and the customer service representative at Wag decided that writing some kind words down on pen and paper were in order. I remember calling them on the phone and not having to prove my point either. They listened, agreed, and fixed my problem. They made a distinct impression on me with that interaction. One that I tell people about. All because one thoughtful employee took 2 minutes out of their day to drop me a friendly line.
These are just a couple of examples of how a business can become more than the sum of what they sell. More than a product. They can take on a quality far beyond that of mere service provider. Whether you are a small business person or just a dude or dudette working in a cubicle, do your best to give your customers or coworkers more than they expect tomorrow. Real human empathy and kindness change the entire ballgame. And they don’t cost a thing.
The cherry on top? Giving people more than they expect benefits everyone involved. Great customer service changes everything. Living life in a way that gives people more than they expect has long lasting positive effects on you too!
[photo courtesy of Gordon]
7 Comment responses
Sorry, Chick-fil-A but one aw s*** cancels out all the good your customer service people do inside the restaurant. Seriously, the anti-gay rhetoric being spewed by your CEO is a big one that will keep me and my friends away for a long long time.
I totally understand your anger at Dan Cathy over those comments. When a CEO makes bombastic statements about a group of people or a political party it is bound to incite anger or create hostility where there initially wasn’t any. It’s usually a terrible idea for a CEO to use his or her public persona in that way. It hurts their customer base!
Absolutely agree that great customer service goes a long way. I am much more apt to re-visit a business that provides excellent customer service, perhaps where I only experienced average service or a product, vice a business where the product or service might be slightly better, but the customer service sucks.
Me too James. I love being able to tell people about awesome experiences I’ve had with companies. And if I’ve had an awful one, I definitely try to stay away in the future. It makes a huge difference. And the word of mouth you get from good customer service is the best kind of advertising possible – free.
That being said – they have changed the customer service game in the fast food industry. I felt that they were, and continue to be, a shining example of excellent customer service.
I don’t get to Chick-fil-a often as there aren’t any in the area I live; however, I don’t recall ever having a bad experience in any of the restaurants.