What Chick-fil-A Can Teach You About Customer Service


“It would be my pleasure!” We don’t hear phrases like that very often. Do you know anyone that says that? I don’t. Actually, nowadays, you’d probably think someone was being sarcastic with you if they used a phrase like that in regular conversation.

But, Chick-fil-A has claimed “it would be my pleasure” as their customer service mantra. And it works. (Hundreds of thousands of loyal customers would confirm that for you.)

In case you’ve never been to a Chick-fil-A, they’re famous for their unparalleled customer service. They don’t just keep customers happy, they win customers over by going above and beyond... and they’re excited to do it. In fact, being America’s Best Quick-Service Restaurant at Winning and Keeping Customers is one of their primary goals.

The positive experience that they create for their customers is as much about what they do as it is about what they think. Their employees could say “my pleasure” all day long, but if they said it with contempt, customers wouldn’t believe it, and it wouldn’t be effective.

So, what is it that motivates Chick-fil-A employees? And why does what they’re doing work so well?

Here are three inspiring quotes from S. Truett Cathy, Chick-fil-A Founder, Chairman & CEO. It's very apparent that he's instilled his great ideas in the entire company from business executives all the way down to drive-thru workers.

So, how does this apply to you? These aren't just things that could change a fast-food restaurant. These customer service secrets can translate to any business. Including yours. (Who wouldn’t want to be famous for their customer service?)

1. “We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed...”

Cathy is referring to the human experience. Even though our world is vastly different than it was 100 years ago, or 1,000 years ago, think about what it is that hasn’t changed. It’s what makes people tick. People have been living, smiling, laughing, loving “feeling” all since the dawn of time. That is the constant. Having a good experience is important to people.

So, what does this mean for your business? Appeal to the human experience. The good thing is, no one knows more about that than you do. How do you want to be treated when you visit or call a business? What would make that experience exceptional for you?

Make your business about people, and your reward will be just that: people. People turn into loyal customers. There’s no better marketing than word of mouth. When people have a great experience, enough of a great experience that they want to tell someone about it, that’s when you know you’re on your way to success.

2. “Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else: our time, our love, our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.”

Customer service is about giving, no matter what business you’re in. What if, every time you came in contact with a customer, you asked yourself, How could I make this person’s day? And then did it?

Going the extra mile makes you stand out. Most businesses in our world today deliver only what you expect. Unfortunately, many deliver less than you expect. You could be one of the few that goes above and beyond what's expected!

The last time I went through the Chick-fil-A drive-thru, I had two old fast food cups taking up my only two cup holders. When I pulled up to the window, I realized I had nowhere to put the two new soft drinks they were about to give me. It was really obvious to the girl working the drive-thru window that I was struggling with two old cups in my arms, while trying to pay her and grab the food and new drinks at the same time.

Side Note: If you’ve worked at a fast food restaurant (which I did as a teenager), you know that this happens a lot. Some people will even ask you to throw their trash away for them. I know from experience how much fast food employees hate that (really, they talk about it), so I wasn’t about to ask her to throw away my dirty, old cups.

Imagine my surprise when the Chick-fil-A girl asked, “Would you like me to throw away those cups for you?”

I was floored! “Yes, that would be fantastic!” I said.

And of course she responded with, “My pleasure.”

She was thinking about me. She gave of her resources. She had a trash can, and I didn’t. And that small act made my day. The little things can go further than you might expect.

3. “Being in the food business, you have to remember to do each and every thing right, every time.”

Consistency is more important than you think it is. You can win a customer by doing something right once, but you can’t keep a customer unless you continue to do it right every time they visit.

At Chick-fil-A, I’m treated the same way every time I walk in the door. I never encounter an employee with a bad attitude. I never eat an undercooked chicken sandwich. I always know what to expect there.

This builds trust between you and your customers. When they know what to expect, they're more likely to turn to you in their time of need. When they know what to expect from you, they'll be glad to pay you for it.

What are your thoughts about these customer service insights? What customer service secrets have worked for your business?