I recently had the privilege of sitting in on a "Remarkable" training session at the corporate office of Chick-fil-a in Atlanta. The gentleman conducting the training, David Salyers, (VP of Marketing), was hired over thirty years ago by the company's founder, Truett Cathy. David has led Chick-fil-a to global success, surpassing their fast food competitors; and doing so in spite of being closed on Sundays, the busiest day of the week for that industry.
THE SMOKING GUN
As I sat listening to this Chick-fil-a veteran recount his lessons learned and wisdom gained over the years, I realized I was in the presence of a truly great leader who embodied the values of a company that was not driven by the dollar, but rather the genuine care and wellbeing of their employees and customers.
As the training session progressed, I waited patiently for the “smoking gun”, the differentiator responsible for elevating the fast food chain to a global giant. To my surprise, I did not leave that day with a smoking gun, but rather a fresh perspective on company culture and customer service uniquely focused on adding value. I had just witnessed the unequivocal difference between the average service we are all subjected to on a daily basis, and the remarkable service we long for, but struggle to find.
CHASING THE DOLLAR
Unlike most companies who chase the dollar and belittle you down to a transaction, Chick-fil-a has created a culture where adding value to their customers and their employees is not only their highest priority; it is the very DNA of the company. It has been my experience that when employees feel valued, they tend to be loyal, hardworking, accountable and great ambassadors of the company.
THE PERFECT STORM
The next critical factor is ensuring the employee’s values are in alignment with the Company’s values. This perfect storm allows everyone to work in harmony for the greater good of the customer. And let us not forget operating at higher standards and delivering a remarkable experience, both are key to building a loyal customer base. Behind every loyal customer, you will almost always find a relationship built on alignment of interests and employees who added value by creating remarkable experiences, ultimately exceeding expectations.
Whether you are selling chicken sandwiches, custom homes, Michael Kors handbags, or closets, we can all learn a valuable lesson from the fast food giant. Stop chasing the dollar! Focus on the wellbeing of your employees, and add value to your customers...the money will follow.