It’s My Pleasure

June 6, 2011 by

it's my pleasure

Anyone who has been to Chick-Fil-A and muttered a “thank you” has heard an employee reply, “It’s my pleasure.”  Sure, they train and require everyone to say it, but it is a reflection of the company’s heart and soul.  The company really believes they are serving you, the customer, and that the thanks is all theirs.

This perspective is not uncommon in the restaurant or hospitality industry, though few execute it as genuinely or consistently as Chick-Fil-A.  What happens though when you evaluate other industries and companies?  Are they known for communicating genuine gratitude after every interaction with their customers?  Rack your brain and try to come up with a list.  I bet you cannot name five companies outside of the restaurant or hospitality industries.  Would your customers put your company on their list?

Although there are probably a variety of reasons why so few companies consistently and genuinely communicate gratitude, I suggest that few do it because few actually believe the thanks is all theirs.  Many companies behave as though they deserve customers.  Many of their employees believe they deserve the job those customers afford them.  The perspective that one is owed, whether subtle or blatant, erodes efforts to establish a habit of communicating gratitude.

What if every company and employee operated as though nothing was owed to them?  Would they be more appreciative of the opportunity to serve each customer?  What do you think?

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Posted in: Featured, Leadership

  • http://www.jondale.com Jon Dale

    Levi, what I love about Chick-Fil-A is that they prove that great customer service can indeed be taught.  However, I’m confidant that they also put a lot of time and effort into choosing employees that they believe will embody the Chick-Fil-A attitude.  Most fast food employees act like you the customer are an inconvenience to them.  But at Chick-Fil-A you feel as though they’re delighted to see you.

    I also love that they prove providing great service works.  Go to any food court, anywhere in America and compare the number of customers they serve at Chick-Fil-A to all the other restaurants…it’s not just that they make a great sandwich…it’s a pleasure to do business with them as well.

    I just wish every restaurant would require their employees to go through Chick-Fil-A’s training before coming to work.

    • http://www.itsworthnoting.com Levi Smith

      Maybe businesses could just put a warning sign on the door that says, “Caution: We do not train our employees.” You’d know the risks before you open the door and spend your time and money.

    • http://www.itsworthnoting.com Levi Smith

      Maybe businesses could just put a warning sign on the door that says, “Caution: We do not train our employees.” You’d know the risks before you open the door and spend your time and money.

    • michaeldraznin

      do you still feel as warm and positive about Chicfila a year later now that the CEO has been so vocal with his heinous (imho) opinions on things having nothing to do with customer service or business? It’s had a strong negative impact on me.

    • http://www.itsworthnoting.com Levi Smith

      As a Christian, I support the traditional definition of marriage, so his comments did not agitate me as it did those with an opposing viewpoint. What I found particularly troubling about the reaction though was: (1) the underlying assertion that a CEO or company should not or cannot take a stance on such issues; and (2) that elected representatives are within their bounds picking and choosing which businesses come into their community based on such stances.

      If people want to vote with their pocket book that’s fine, though being consistent about such in each and every economic transaction seems literally impossible to me. However, to allow elected officials to pick and choose or for people to vilify a leader or company because they have a differing opinion on such issues is to me an assault on the freedom of expression.

  • DadVsLife

    Yes I believe anytime you do not feel entitled you are more appreciative of any interaction. We are designed to be in relationships, real ones. The challenge I have is how can a company consistently create at an outpouring versus an “it’s my job” attitude. I know that being positive as often as possible goes a long way.

    • http://www.itsworthnoting.com Levi Smith

      I think the keys to battling the “it’s my job” attitude are:

      (1) Have owners and leaders who are in it for more than a buck. If that’s all they’re in it for, how can they expect their employees to act any differently? Employees have to see that there’s a greater purpose or vision besides making the cash register ring. This doesn’t mean there has to be a grand altruistic vision, but there has to be compelling vision beyond earning a buck. Money will come as a result of executing the vision well. For a boat club, the vision could be creating lifetime memories on the water.

      (2) Only hire people who buy into the vision and want to improve everyday. Chick-Fil-A, as Jon Dale points out in his comment, does a great job of hiring and training. Most companies list jobs and find tolerable people to fill them. If you can carefully assemble a group of people who will protect and propel the vision, the business can focus on better execution rather than correcting attitudes.

    • http://www.itsworthnoting.com Levi Smith

      I think the keys to battling the “it’s my job” attitude are:

      (1) Have owners and leaders who are in it for more than a buck. If that’s all they’re in it for, how can they expect their employees to act any differently? Employees have to see that there’s a greater purpose or vision besides making the cash register ring. This doesn’t mean there has to be a grand altruistic vision, but there has to be compelling vision beyond earning a buck. Money will come as a result of executing the vision well. For a boat club, the vision could be creating lifetime memories on the water.

      (2) Only hire people who buy into the vision and want to improve everyday. Chick-Fil-A, as Jon Dale points out in his comment, does a great job of hiring and training. Most companies list jobs and find tolerable people to fill them. If you can carefully assemble a group of people who will protect and propel the vision, the business can focus on better execution rather than correcting attitudes.

  • Red Wagon Services

    I love this response to ‘Thank you’  but it has also been used for decades at the Ritz Carlton as a reflection of their philosophy that their team are “Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen”.  Companies would be well served to remember that our customers are the ones who determine our success and we would be remiss to not acknowledge this at every opportunity.

    • http://www.itsworthnoting.com Levi Smith

      Do any companies like Chick-Fil-A and Ritz Carlton come to mind outside of the hospitality or restaurant industries?

    • http://www.jondale.com Jon Dale

      Zappos…in web retail.

    • http://www.itsworthnoting.com Levi Smith

      Do any companies like Chick-Fil-A and Ritz Carlton come to mind outside of the hospitality or restaurant industries?

  • Todd Nagel

    Our four year old broke her nose at chick-fil-a two days ago and they did not say “my pleasure”.  They did however offer to pay for any medical expenses which was really nice of them.

    • http://www.itsworthnoting.com Levi Smith

      Ouch. Glad to hear they offered to help!

  • JohnC44

    I find the interactions with employees and specifically the “my pleasure” bit at Chick fil a quite creepy to be honest. It all seems very fake. It would seem these people are just terrified of some dynamic in their workplace that causes them to act the way they do.

    • http://www.itsworthnoting.com/ Levi Smith

      I think in any service industry employees are typically expected to be polite, offering a “Thank you” or “You’re Welcome” after a customer interaction. What I like about Chick-fil-a is that they actually do the training, set the expectations and go beyond just being polite. Most of the employees I talk to, current and former, have good things to say about the training and culture.