Oustanding Customer Service with a Side of Waffle Fries!

Every time I eat at a Chick-Fil-A restaurant, I'm struck by how they're able to deliver such amazing customer service. Especially given that every other fast food chain, drawing from the same talent pool of mainly teenage kids, fails so miserably to create a customer experience anywhere close with any consistency. Chef

What is it about their customer service that sets them apart? What can we all, as leaders who interact with customers learn from a number four combo delivered with a smile?

1. Put others first. Recently, at the CFA in Culpeper, VA, I watched as a kitchen worker came out to get a drink. A customer approached him at the counter and without hesitation he smiled, met the customer's request, exchanged a joke with a teammate, and only then got his drink and returned to the kitchen. 2. Be genuine. CFA must train its staff to respond to every "Thank you" with, "It's my pleasure." What sets their team apart, though is not this phrase. It's that every time you hear it, _you believe it._ 3. He who is first shall be made last, and he who is last shall be made first. Owners are often in their stores during peak times, not schmoozing and glad-handing, but making sandwiches and bagging orders, asking team members at the registers, "What do you need?" Oh, and remember the cook? That's customer service with a servant leader's spirit. 4. Look for opportunities to interact. At CFA, order takers prepare your drinks. Most other restaurants hand you an empty cup and let you get your own. On its face, this might seem cheap, but team members often offer refills table side, a great service no other restaurant provides, or you can request one at the counter and have it provided with a smile. These are opportunities and CFA is wise to set these customer service interactions up and take advantage of them. 5. Beware the uplift principle. When you have one great experience, you don't automatically expect every one that follows to be great. But when every experience you have at several stores (like the ones I frequent in Culpeper, Warrenton and Chantilly), the bar gets raised for all others. It means that the restaurant near my office that is still better than anything else in the area nonetheless makes me feel rushed at the drive through, because the others are so good at moving me though without the hurry-hurry urgency.

I know there are other restaurants and other organizations hitting customer service out of the park, but few seem to do so on so consistent a basis. And that makes them an ideal subject for study. Preferably over a chocolate shake.

Question: What lessons have you learned from unexpected places?