the sky floor

Chick-fil-A: A Great Last Chapter

February 18, 2016


It happens once a month. On our way back from a meeting in the South suburbs we stop at Chick-fil-A Batavia for lunch to go for our families. Our for love Chick-fil-A is no secret. Their food is delicious and good for you for fast food. Above all they have enviable, consistent customer service. Even though they are similar in format to McDonalds they manage to treat customers as guests. Some sit down restaurants show half as much politeness when serving guests.

What happened next was a surprise, because of their typical attention to detail. One day our order was missing an item we paid for. I called the manager who offered to rectify the situation. His solution was giving us our item but we didn’t have time to return that day. Then it happened again. And again. Each time with no time to return until the next month.

Partly it was my bad for failing to check the bag every time. I didn’t think I had to, after all this is Chick-fil-A!

Last month we returned thinking there is no way lightening strikes this many times, but it did. This was the last straw! I was not angry but I wanted them to know they had some work to do. Since I knew they cared, I cared to tell them.  I used the feedback form on the corporate website to explain what was happening. I expected a note back, maybe at the most comps for the food we missed out on.

A week passed with no word. Then on a Friday I received a call from the marketing manager at the Batavia location but was unable to pick up. I resolved to call her back early the following week. Little did I know I wouldn’t have the chance!

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Saturday afternoon my wife and I were watching TV while our daughter napped. I hear the doorbell ring… Who could it be? We weren’t expecting anyone. As I walk up I recognize the Chick-fil-A badge through the window. The marketing manager had come to our door! She brought us a take and bake catering tray of nuggets. Waffle cut chips (because fries would be soggy). A bag of fresh cookies and a little stuffed CFA cow.

We chatted about the email I sent. She told me they printed it out and shared it with the whole team. That they are improving operations so this doesn’t happen to anyone again. Especially someone who might not already be a fan. I was right that they cared and they proved it. In Setting the Table, Danny Meyer says you can write a great last chapter. Chick-fil-A did just that. Not only is our loyalty further cemented, we have a story to share!

Lesson: Showing you care about your customers means they will care more about your business. Customer service failures are a chance to go the extra mile and write a great last chapter to the story!