After waiting patiently, you finally order your 8-count of nuggets, small waffle fries, and sweet tea. You pull up to pay at the window, receive your food, and ask for extra Polynesian sauce. Before pulling out of the drive-thru lane, you say, “Thank you,” and the worker responds, “My pleasure.”
For 70 years now, one of America’s most loved fast-food restaurants has been raising the bar on word choice and customer service. Chick-fil-A, “Home of the Original Chicken Sandwich,” has made the phrase “my pleasure” a critical element of customer interactions, favoring it over the more common response of “you’re welcome.”
The founder of the fast-food chain, Truett Cathy, began business in the 1940s with the Dwarf Grill, which eventually led to creating Chick-fil-A. From the 1990s through today, the chain has managed the successful “Eat Mor Chikin” campaign, cleverly using cows as endorsers. With your business’s reputation constantly on the line and under evaluation, customer service can’t fluctuate as promotions change, new restaurants open, and employees come and go. Cathy decided to make “my pleasure” Chick-fil-A’s official response to customers after it was said to him during his visit to a Ritz-Carlton. The Ritz is a high-end luxury hotel that prides itself on its foundational Gold Standards, which are iconic in the industry. Fast-food restaurants, in contrast, traditionally aim to serve customers as quickly and conveniently as possible. Cathy saw the opportunity to emulate the Ritz-Carlton in making guests feel like they are at a high-class establishment during each visit.
Chick-fil-A strives to give a positive impression to everyone who comes through the door. Michael Hess, a CBS MoneyWatch columnist, details in “The 6 Best Words in Customer Service” how language can greatly impact experiences. Using a positive trigger word like “pleasure” can help you exceed your customers’ expectations for their fast-food experience, and the consistency of its use by workers in all locations creates positive feelings, regardless of which restaurant is visited.
Setting high customer service standards is key for loyalty, retention, and satisfaction. In Perfect Phrases for Customer Service, Robert Bacal explains: “Customers expect that you will treat them in a consistent way and that you will do what you say you will do each and every time. By acting in accordance with these wants, you provide the customer with a sense of security and confidence in you personally and in the company. It builds loyalty.” Chick-fil-A has such a loyal customer base because of its standout service (and, of course, partially because of its chicken biscuits and sweet tea).
At Paytronix, we know that loyal customers spend more money, visit more frequently, and speak highly of their experience. Customer service is being put to the test as communication tools evolve, and having the ability to be plugged in at all times has raised expectations. A restaurant needs to understand who its customers are, what they demand, and how to earn their loyalty. Creating the right program for your restaurant will help build and manage relationships to foster that desired loyalty. While great customer service is just one piece of the loyalty puzzle, it’s a huge factor in driving guest engagement.
Customer service isn’t the only thing Chick-fil-A knows well. Check out our webinar, “From e-Club to A List: Chick-fil-A’s Innovative Take on Loyalty” and see how they’ve improved brand loyalty.