The time tested principles for building a successful business will always remain: Provide a quality product or service at the right price for something that is in demand. How do you take that success to the next level? By providing exceptional customer service.
When I think of exceptional customer service, one company always comes to mind, Chick-fil-A. In a marketplace saturated with fast food restaurants, Chick-fil-A continues to thrive and build a loyal fan base. It’s not because they have the best food. Don’t get me wrong, their food is always good. However, I have had better chicken at a couple of other places. The one thing they truly specialize in, and I am reminded of every single time I visit a Chick-fil-A restaurant, is exceptional customer service.
While it seems clear that they train their team members on customer service, it doesn’t stop there. They embody it in everything that they do from the top down. Their managers don’t just sit around spouting customer service phrases, they are a living example of customer service. Every employee from the very top, all the way down, has one primary focus: taking care of you, the customer, in an extremely courteous and helpful manner. When they tell you to have a great day, you truly feel they mean it.
In the words of their founder, Truett Cathy,
“We must motivate ourselves to do our very best, and by our example lead others to do their best as well.”– Truett Cathy
This simple statement by Mr. Cathy is much deeper than it appears on the surface.
- We are all leaders. Whether we know it or not, there is always someone who looks up to us. We must always provide a good example to others.
- We must motivate ourselves. Most leadership and management experts agree on this single point: An individual is the only one who can motivate himself.
- We must always do our very best. While our very best may not be the same as the person we are standing next to, we must still continue to push on and do our very best. This in turn will help lead others to do their very best.
- Doing our best and leading others is the work for everyone. It is not just the customer service department or front line employees who must do their very best, it is the job of everybody in an organization who must do their very best.
The fourth point has always been the most revolutionary to me. It is not enough for an organization to require exceptional customer service from some of its employees. An organization must embody customer service from the very top, all the way down through every level. This quality leadership will truly have a positive impact on all the employees, and in turn, the customers will see it.
Not only do they say this, but they put it in action all the time. If you are dining in a Chick-fil-A restaurant and need a drink refill, one of the team members probably noticed and came by your table to take care of it for you. If for some reason they didn’t and you go up to the counter, the first person who sees that you need a drink refill will immediately come and take care of you. It doesn’t matter if it is the general manager or a cashier, their primary focus is to make sure you, the customer, are taken care of as efficiently as possible with a friendly smile and greeting.
So if you want to make a real impact with your business, it needs to embrace extraordinary customer service in all levels, in every interaction with your customers. It needs to be exceptional customer service from the top down.