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This is a business coaching session that focuses on embracing successful customer service strategies and avoiding mediocrity.

Results-Focused Training, Tools, and Workshops from Expert Business Coaches.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Mystic Statistic: According to the L.A. Times, Chick-fil-a satisfies 82% of their customers, more than any other fast food chain.
  • Notable Quotable: "Companies perform at an average level because they only try to serve the basic needs of the customer."- Arthur Greeno
  • Notable Quotable: "To avoid mediocrity it's up to what your leaders are doing and what their expectations are."
  • Notable Quotable: "Your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is going better. Just having satisfied customers isn't good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans."- Raving Fans (Kan Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles)






-They call me Clay Clark, business coaching guru, and I'm the visioneer of thrive15.com. Today we are joined by Arthur Greeno. Now, we're going to be teaching how to take customers from buyers to big fans. In today's customer service training, we're going to learn how to take transactions and transactional customers and turn these into apostles and people that are out there all around your community, telling people what a great business you have, which grows your business and will grow your wallet.

Remember, at thrive15.com, we believe that knowledge without application is meaningless. So as you're watching today's episode, ask yourself what action steps can you uniquely apply in your life and business today through this customer service training. Otherwise, today's episode may be more meaningless than a broken paper weight.

All right. Well, Arthur, full disclosure. Today's business coaching episode might be sponsored by DayQuil. I've had enough DayQuil to kill a small horse. But feeling good. Feeling good. So what we're talking about today is the journey from buyer to big fans. And so for anyone working in the area of customer service, the whole goal is to wow the customer.




Business coaching lesson: The whole goal is to wow the customer to the point that they actually come back and bring some friends. Yet few businesses today seem to be able to accomplish this. Let me read you a little excerpt here from the book "Raving Fans" by Ken Blanchard and his partner.

And it says, "your customers are only satisfied because their expectations are so low, and because no one else is doing better. Just having satisfied customers isn't good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans."

So in your mind, why do most businesses simply produce merely satisfied customers? As the Chick-fil-A guy, who tries the wow customers everyday, why are most businesses out there just merely satisfying customers, in your mind?

-Well, I think a lot of it is just it's easy. I mean, it's easy to just satisfy customers. They're just taking care of their basic needs. Sadly, that's how it is. But yet-- and that's why their business is functioning at an average level.

CLAY CLARK: Well now, one of the things I've noticed at Chick-fil-A-- and since I've known you, I think I'm really-- I thought I was a Kool-Aid drinker for Chick-fil-A, but a lot of times what you notice when it works at a restaurant, you're like, well, I'd never go there. After you hear about the stuff that happens behind the scenes, you go, I would never go back to that place.

Well, at Chick-fil-A, the more I hear about what happens behind the scenes, the more I want to come back. There's a lot of things that you guys do that's different. So I'm going to read you off some businesses that are known for standardized mediocrity. And if there's any other services out there that you can think of, just let me know.

But one is we have the gas station/restaurant/truck stop/gift shop. That one, where you go and it's the hybrid there. Then you have the tag agency. It seems like every tag agency in America is pretty rough all time. Then you have the motel.

You've got the cable company, where you call and they say, we'll call you back sometime between 9:00 and 5:00. If you could just wait by your house, we'll send somebody by today between 9:00 and 5:00. You've got lawn care, the contractor, you've got the disc jockey. You might not know if they're going to show up for the party or not. And then you have the fast food industry. So why is it that--

-Are we at the bottom of that-- we're at the bottom of that list.

-Yeah. So is there any other industries that you can think of in your mind that are kind of-- every time you call them, you're expecting some sort of level of mediocrity?

-I guess I should have studied beforehand, huh?

-Well, I mean, is there any other services that you can think of that just frustrate you? Like the sign companies. I've noticed I cannot get a sign company to call back at decent speed there.

-Car repair places.

-Car repair places. So let's pretend for a second that you're another restaurant owner. You have a lot of competitors in the fast food industry. Why are those people not wowing people the way Chick-fil-A does. What's going on?

-Well, for me, I think the root is they don't care. They really don't care. And in a lot of the fast food industry, Chick-fil-A is so different than them, because they have owner-operators that are in the restaurant. I mean, if a customer doesn't eat with Chick-fil-A, it's not just about Chick-fil-A, it's about my-- it affects me. It affects my profit, my family's profit. That may not have been a good way to say it, but that's how it works.

CLAY CLARK: So let me ask you this, though. This is what I'm going to ask you. I'm just questioning your-- for the guy watching this who might be-- devil's advocate sort of thing. I know a lot of people that own the restaurant. Their whole family's livelihood is based upon the profitability of the restaurant.

Yet their restaurant still stinks, and that's over-- that's not even mean enough, really. That's-- so what accountability systems does Chick-fil-A have, do you have in place to ensure that you and your store or other store owners don't get down to that level of mediocrity. What systems do you have in place to make sure that you're at a high standard?

ARTHUR GREENO: Sure. Business coaching lesson: Well, when it's coming to customer service, it really starts at the top. What is your leaders doing? What are they paying attention to, and what are the expectations? It's really about what the expectations are.

And so for us, I don't look at myself and say, I'm competing against the other Chick-fil-A stores or other fast food places. Business coaching truth: I'm competing against myself. Is this the best I can do? Is this the best my leadership can do?

But unfortunately, I think a lot of people, they've reached the pinnacle, when they've-- I have a restaurant. Woohoo! OK. Now I can relax. Now the money's going to come rolling in. And they just sit back. And that's not the case.

-Do you get a lot of pressure from corporate to do a great job?

-Absolutely. Chick-fil-A is a phenomenal company, and they not only expect us to do a good job, but it's a requirement. They actually will look at what other stores are doing. So if my customer service starts lacking, but the store right next to me is not lacking, they're going to say, hey, how come he can do it right? Business coaching truth: It's because of customer service training.



Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Lesson Nugget: For jobs that no-one WANTS to do, systems must be in place to make sure they still happen.
  • Lesson Nugget: Checklists free up the boss to work ON the business, and not only IN the business.
  • Notable Quotable: "The results we get are because of what we focus on."- Arthur Greeno



CLAY CLARK: I'm not making up this business coaching example. I went in today to a restaurant, and I was there just on the way here. And the restroom was like an abomination. It was like something out of a Mad Max film. Just nasty, you know? And then I'm trying to get some vegetarian sushi. That's what I'm trying to-- I'm on this weird diet right now, and so I'm eating a lot of vegetarian stuff. So I'm trying to get vegetarian sushi, and I start to think, I don't know if I want this vegetarian sushi from this place. I just want to know, how are your bathrooms clean? Your bathrooms are always clean?

ARTHUR GREENO: Yeah. It's because we clean them!


-I mean, that's the simple version. But it's one of those that my management all the time quotes me and says, you say this all the time, Arthur. And I always forget what I'm saying. Business coaching lesson: But it's, the results we get is because of what we focus on. And so if the bathrooms are important to you-- and the bathrooms are very important to Chick-fil-A guests-- then we're going to make sure it's right. But we have to create what we call systems to make sure that that bathroom gets done.

It doesn't happen-- it's not like there's somebody wandering around out there that loves to clean bathrooms. I've never found an employee that--

-You're not into that?



-It's not me. And so we will put a system in place in that says, for example, every 30 minutes, somebody's going to physically leave their spot, wherever it may be, whether they're working the lobby or the drive-through, whatever it may be. And they're going to go inspect the bathroom, and put their eyeballs in place and say, what does it look like? What does it smell like? I mean, all those different things and say, let's make sure it's right.

-Well, I had here-- and this is one of the things I wanted to throw in here for you-- I brought some of the checklists that I knew that were kind of Chick-fil-A checklists.


-I'm going to pull up some of these, but here we go. So this is, like, the utility person, let's say. I don't think you guys can see if I point at this camera here. OK, the utility person. And you've got on here-- let's see here. We've got sweeping the parking lot.

ARTHUR GREENO: Three times a day.

CLAY CLARK: Then we have, put the rocks back in the flower beds.


-Every time we go outside.

CLAY CLARK: Then you have, remove trash from flower beds, water flowers.

ARTHUR GREENO: Yep. At least once a day.

-Now how does that happen? So I'd like-- we're going to go ahead and I'm going to take this-- I'm kind of like the czar of the telestrator, kind of like the John Madden of this board here. So this is your Chick-fil-A, OK? So we're in here. This is a Chick-fil-A. And let's just pretend that right here, this is kind of like the main entrance over here. Don't you have an entrance kind of in the front and on two other sides?


-So you have an entrance here. You have an entrance here, right?

ARTHUR GREENO: And we actually have a back door.

CLAY CLARK: And you have entrance here, and then you have a back door. OK. So the back door is right here. Now roughly, where are you standing most of the day as manager, owner operator guy? Where are you?

ARTHUR GREENO: Well, the owner operator guy, I'm going to be in the back in the office working on the business rather than in the business.

CLAY CLARK: Where is the office? Is it upstairs?

ARTHUR GREENO: No. It's in the back.

-So kind of back in this area?


CLAY CLARK: Good. So Arthur, you're camped out over here. But it sounds like on this checklist, like, every half hour, something has to happen.

-Correct. Business coaching advice: We create these checklists so that we don't have to have a manager involved every step of the way.


-Business coaching lesson: We have to have a trustworthy employee that's going to follow that checklist to a T. And then the manager comes along, and we'll glance and make sure things are done.

CLAY CLARK: So the bathrooms are kind of in this area up here roughly.

ARTHUR GREENO: That's correct.

-OK. So you have the bathrooms that are up here. And so you're over here. Now a lot of businesses can't figure this out. I know I had businesses for years where I couldn't figure this out. But how do you make sure that this bathroom gets cleaned as the manager? So what do you do? Does this person check in with you once a week or once-- how do you know? As manager, how do you know that bathroom got cleaned?

-Well, all these checklists that we do, they get turned in per shift.


-Business coaching lesson: And so at the end of each shift, the management that's in charge of that shift will make sure that all those get turned in. Now if they turn them in and I happen to go through them-- and I don't go through them every day. I don't need to. But if they turn them in and I look and say, why wasn't this checked off? Then we have some issues.

Now if we go in and they're checked off and we go out there-- say I go to the restroom and I find out that this was just checked off and it wasn't done, then we have a whole other issue where we talk about they either don't know or don't care. And if they don't know, well, then, we'll train them. Business coaching advice: If they don't care, then we promote them to customer status.

-Oh, nice. Nice. Promote them to customer status.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Lesson Nugget: To WOW your customers, give them more than they expect.
  • Lesson Nugget: Which specific times you check in will vary per business, the point is to HAVE A SPECIFIC TIME to check in.
  • Notable Quotable: "It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages."- Henry Ford



-Business coaching question: Do you follow up on the systems every-- do they turn them in at 5 o'clock every day? Or when do the people on your team turn in those checklists?

-Well, for us, we'll probably have a shift change between 2 and 4 o'clock.

-2:00 to 4:00.

-But somewhere between 2:00 and 4:00, the management will kind of gather them together and turn it in.

-So let's just kind of go through your day roughly. What time do you get there, typically, as the owner, operator, manager guy?

-Generally, 8:00 to 9:00.

CLAY CLARK: OK. So you get there-- let's just pretend you said 8:00. So 8:00 you arrive. What time is the shift change?


CLAY CLARK: 4 o'clock is the shift change.

ARTHUR GREENO: And then we close at 10:00.

CLAY CLARK: Change and then 10:00 PM is when end there?

ARTHUR GREENO: Now, we open at 6:00.

CLAY CLARK: So 6 o'clock is when the-- opened-- that's awesome. OK. 6 o'clock is when we open. So with this, when do you inspect-- when does the owner inspect those checklists to make sure they're being done? When do you check in on that?

-Well, for us, with Chick-fil-A, we're going to have multiple levels of leadership. My general manager of the store would walk through and kind of inspect and make sure these things are done because I'm going to hold him accountable when it comes time for them. So for me, I will just at random take a look at what's going on. Correct.

So I may not look at it necessarily today, but, yet, tomorrow I may look at it. Because, again, I have multiple layers of management and if they're following these checklists, it should, for the most part, always be done.

-OK. But you follow-- Because what I see a lot of-- there's a business I was working with a couple of weeks ago. And I'm talking to this person and they say we just cannot keep our retail products stocked. We just can't. Every time we come in, no one has stocked the products. We just can't find people who want to stock the products. If you were running that retail store, what would be your suggestion for the entrepreneur who can't seem to get their employees to stock their stuff?

-Your fire them and get someone that will.


-That's the easy solution. But the reality is whatever is important to you, they're going to make sure it happens. So if I was providing business coaching to somebody on that, I'd probably say it clearly, to the employees, is not important enough for them to do.

-Now, I'm going to say this real quick on behalf of probably 70% of America's small business owners that I see all the time. I mean if I could just see 10 small business owners, I bet you seven of them do not have one thing-- a checklist. Period. They do not have a checklist for any position in their business.

So you see hair salons, bakeries, restaurants, everywhere without checklists.


-Is it required to have a checklist at Chick-fil-A?

-Chick-fil-A Incorporated requires that we have systems in place to make sure the store works right, whatever that may look like. For me, I don't want to be the person trying to manage every person's position. So we have checklists on checklists to make sure that these things get done.

-But really, it sounds like you have set times. I just want to look at this. Look at the beauty of this document. This is like the holy grail of small business here. You can see-- I don't know if you can see the times there.

But you look here, you got the sinks are being cleaned at this time. The sinks are being cleaned over here. The bathroom-- I mean look at this beauty. And I see a lot of businesses where these things are just not being done on a daily basis.

ARTHUR GREENO: That's correct.

-So, OK, so the magic is in the checklist. It's the follow-up. It's in those expectations. Now developing the wow to customer, OK? In your mind, what does it mean to wow the customer?

-For me, it's how are you taking care of the customer to the level that they did not expect that they're literally saying "wow," "holy moly," "what just happened?"

-We've taken our kids to Chick-fil-A. They come home with balloons. They didn't expect that. They come home pumped up. Whose idea was that? Was that your idea? Was it corporate's idea? Who came up with the idea to pass out the balloons?

-Well, first of all, every store with Chick-fil-A can be run how that operator feels. There's certain mandated things. Balloons is not one of them. But for my store-- I have six kids. And so I know the impact of the balloons. And I know that when we're driving down the road and say we want to go eat somewhere, we get outruled by our kids.

And so if we can make it where the kids are going I want to go to Chick-fil-A, frankly, mom and dad will probably go there just to shut them up.

-So your goal is to wow those kiddos.

ARTHUR GREENO: Absolutely.

-OK. Now Henry Ford once said-- he said, "It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages."

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