(1) The typical fast food customer experience was not all that great – sure, the food was cheap, but the low paid help (and their attitude) was inconsistent – ranging from ho-hum to brusque to downright awful. He cited a compelling statistic that I have not forgotten: “For every person turned off at the retail counter, seven more never show up.” And therein lay his opportunity.
(2) The other thing, he declared, is that his company didn’t know how to make a good hamburger. They were trying (evidenced by the work going on in their test kitchens downstairs) but hadn’t quite come up to his standards. Apparently, he wanted to offset this perceived shortcoming by creating a personal service advantage. I don’t think he stayed with the company very long.
“Service” is a quality so abused that it’s almost meaningless. Many businesses claim superior service, but few actually deliver in beyond-the-ordinary fashion. I have worked with clients of all stripes on the service issue, from those who say they offer great service but for whom the words were an outright lie to those whose greatest joy was jumping on a problem and surprising the customer with exceptional, almost legendary service. One of my clients, who presided over a chain of retail stores that sold nationally branded consumer apparel, constantly talked about “delighting” their customers. He was a believer, and his people took up the service banner and followed him.
Delighting customers is a core thing. It’s something you have to live, breath and sleep to be effective and enduring -- so much so that it should run through your bloodstream as a matter of course. You know it when you see it, especially when compared to the tired indifference we’ve all experienced from time to time in the marketplace – by the way, don’t get me going on companies that employ an automated phone system to take people’s calls. That’s a clear sign it’s all about them and not about me. “Your call is important to us, so please stay on the line.” Sure ...
Takeaway: Make service delight part of your company’s Marketable Truth© and reap the benefits -- immediately and in the long run.