How Chick-Fil-A Became My Favorite Fast Food Restaurant

Posted: March 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

First, let me preface this post by saying that a large part of my background happens to be in customer experience. For this reason, I love anything and everything associated with customer service, branding, and the overall personality of a company. Recently, I had one of the best customer experiences in my young lifetime, and I felt compelled to share it with the world (or at least with the small percentage of the world that will read this).

It was lunchtime at the office, which happens everyday coincidentally, and I needed to find a way to nourish myself and prepare for the second half of what was sure to be another fantastic and challenging day of work at my beloved company (Quaero, a CSG Solution). With no other solution, I headed off to the Mall, which happens to be located just around the corner from my office. I figured that a couple of sampling laps around the food court would give me the guidance needed to make a decision.

Finally, I decided to tick off all of the food court samplers eagerly fighting for customers during the lunch rush, and got in line at Quizno’s, the sub shop. I ordered a sandwich, and a cup of chicken noodle soup (keep this detail in mind for later in the story). I received my food and sat down at one of the tall tables surrounding the outside of the food court eating area.

Are you riveted by this story yet? If not, that’s alright; here is where it gets interesting! After a few moments, a man came over to my seat and asked how everything was. “Uhhh, it’s good, thanks,” I reluctantly answered. I was sort of confused as to who this guy was and why he cared about my experience. After all, it was the food court, I wasn’t expecting 5 star service, or even 2 star food for that matter. A moment later, he reappeared and asked the following, even more direct question: “What kind of soup did you get?”

“Listen buddy, back up. I don’t know what your game is here, but I’m not giving you any of my soup.” I didn’t actually say that, but I was thinking it. Then I saw his nametag. It appeared that he worked for Chick-Fil-A. Okay, I thought; at least he works here. That’s a little less creepy I suppose.

“Chicken noodle,” I told him.

“Oh, have you tried our chicken noodle before?” he replied, with a big grin on his face.

“No, I haven’t, but I will next time,” I said, impressed by his passion for food court retail, but also trying to get him to walk away so I could enjoy the rest of my meal.

He then walked away, and I forgot about the encounter. Until – get this – he came back a third time. Except this time, he was carrying with him a full bowl of Chick-Fil-A chicken noodle soup and two packages of crackers on a tray. He set it down beside me and said, “Here you go, hopefully you will enjoy it!” Then he left for good.

What had started as a rather intrusive experience from my chicken-loving friend instantly turned into one of the best customer experiences I have ever encountered. It was a small gesture, and I can bet that the cost of his benevolence was negligable to the Chick-Fil-A empire. But to me, it mattered.

The lesson here is that life is simple folks. People are simple. And maybe most importantly, business is simple. It doesn’t take much to impress someone, just be a little different, be a little better than they expect. You may just get someone to write a blog post about you. If he was real lucky, someone more important than me would have been on the receiving end of that gesture.

And the best part of the whole story you ask? His name was “Gumbo.” Hats off to you, Gumbo. Whatever it is you’re doing, keep it up brother!

ORIGINAL POST: Nov 29, 2010 on InsightIQ

This post was syndicated on CustomerThink.com

 

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