Great customer service is one of the cornerstones Chick-fil-A is built on. I would love to tell you that we never have any complaints from customers, but that would not be true. Sometimes we miss the mark. When that happens, we need to respond quickly and act compassionately. Think back to your training to the acronym we learned: L.A.S.T.:
Listen patiently. Listen attentively. There’s nothing frustrating like having your order messed up and then having the employee ignore you. Doing that will escalate the customer’s frustration level quickly, well beyond their initial irritation. Listen to what they have to say. Don’t be in a hurry to make excuses. Listen first. This sets the stage for turning them into a raving fan later.
Apologize for what happened. Don’t take it personally. It’s not likely something you did directly, but apologize anyway. You represent Chick-fil-A at that moment for them. More often than not, all the customer needs to hear is someone recognizing what happened and to take responsibility. “I am so sorry! This should never have happened.”
The next step is to actually solve the problem. If we left food out of their bag in the drive thru, obviously we should get them that food. That’s the least we can do. But going the extra mile may mean driving the food to them if they drove back to their home or office before realizing what we had done. Most of the time the customer wants… wait for it… to be heard and apologized to (“Listen” and “Apologize”). No excuses. Listen. Apologize. Then solve the problem, going the extra mile whenever possible.
Thank them? Absolutely. Many times a customer who has a bad experience will not say anything further to us, they just won’t come back. If they bring something negative to our attention, that is an opportunity for us to get better at serving them. That alone deserves a “thank you!” That heartfelt gratitude on our part may be all it takes to turn them from a frustrated customer to a raving fan, all because we fixed an issue correctly.
One more thing: You don’t need to protect me as the owner of the store. I have an incredible team, and many of you go out of your way to “protect” me from being taken advantage of by a customer you don’t think is telling the truth. Thank you so much for caring as much as you do. I am really grateful for that! But here’s what I would rather see you do: Care about me by taking extraordinary care of the customers, even when they might be wrong. That will pay off for all of us in ways you cannot imagine!
My wife, Noell, says a phrase all the time: “Would you rather be right or happy? (because you can’t always be both)” Let’s go the extra mile for customers and let them both “right” AND “happy!”