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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Pops On Route 66: The bottle stands 66 feet tall, weighs 4 tons, and is lit by LED lights every night for a dazzling display.
  • Pop's More Obscure Flavors: 1. Corn Flavored 2. Roast Beef Flavored 3. Bacon Flavored 4. The Flavor of Regret
  • Lesson Nugget: Don't "save your way to success" if it means skimping out on things that, in turn, will hurt the customer experience.
  • Lesson Nugget: You have to tie in your purple cow to your business. it doesn't help to have the largest ball of twine if you have nothing you can sell to the "twine ball customer".
  • The Chick-Fil-A Way: Treat all your customers with honor dignity, and respect.

[MUSIC PLAYING] teamtreehouse.com for branding, grow your business

-There's a place in Oklahoma. Have you heard about the Coca Cola-- it's like the pop palace or something?


-What's that called?


-POPS. And this place is in the middle of nowhere, right?


-Do you know what city it's in?

-Arcadia, I think.

-Arcadia, Oklahoma?


-That's the birthplace of tourism. I think people travel there for the weather usually.

-When they're running from a tornado.

-Yeah, so Arcadia, though-- and there's a place called POPS, and my understanding is they have every kind of pop almost in history.

ARTHUR GREENO: They do. It's amazing.

-And this place is in the middle of nowhere, and then they have a huge, what? Pop can out in front, or a huge--

-It's a neon pop bottle. Actually, it's not neon. It's a reflective metallic. It's really neat.

-And it's in the middle of Arcadia, and is that place pretty full? Do people go there a lot?

-Yeah, it's a truck stop, and so people are-- it's a good place to stop because there's nowhere around. But they literally-- it's all glass walls, and so they put all these pop bottles on the walls so that when the sun come shining through it makes these cool colors inside. But they have-- you can get a turkey dinner pop bottle there. You can get a roast beef sandwich. They have the weirdest drinks there.

-So you can get a roast beef flavored drink?

-You can.

-Oh, sick.

-And let me tell you how it tastes. It tastes like you would think.

-But they have the old brands that are no longer around. They have Tab.


-Tab. What was it--


-Jolt Cola. They've got that. It's all there. Now, the thing is that they're a purple cow.

-Exactly. People go around and talk about it.

-Now, in my town I grew up in, I want to give you an example of what not to do. And if you live in Darwin, Minnesota-- you probably don't, because we don't have internet out there right now-- but if you're in Darwin, Minnesota, it's a population of like 227 people or something bizarre like that. They decided to get together and build the world's largest ball of twine. Now, the problem is that nobody wants to see it, and so they built a big old monument around it. And if you google it, it's amazing.

So when you have a purple cow, you've got to be careful, though, because if you build the world's largest ball twine and you don't have any product to sell-- what are you going to sell? Twine? They never really thought it through. They were like, we'll build the world's largest ball of twine, and then-- they didn't really of that part. So POPS, though, they sell pop.


-It's a truck stop. They're trying to attract other truckers. It makes sense. Chick-fil-A were saying eat more chicken to basically-- the cow is saying, hey, don't eat me. Eat more chicken. So it's a way to push the brand. We've got to think through that a little bit.

Now, the next purple cow that Chick-fil-A has, and there's a lot of purple cows you have, but the one I think of the most is you have this amazing customer service going on there. You have amazing customer service. Literally, my wife, who's a beautiful lady-- she's very, very hot. Honey, if you're watching, you're hot. Anyway, but my wife, she doesn't like to go to the restroom at other places. She will seriously go, can we go to Chick-fil-A Because she likes the restroom.


-She goes can we go to Chick-fil-A Because we have five kids, and when you take the kids, you have balloons. You've got slides in there. You have this whole-- it's awesome. Talk to me about the customer service. How do you guys-- what do you to take customer service to the next level there, and is it intentional?

-It absolutely is intentional. And when one Chick-fil-A talks about customer service it's that they want to treat all of our guests with honor, dignity, and respect. And we look for opportunities to do that, and it's not limited to what Chick-fil-A has said.

For example, in Oklahoma especially, you get a cloudburst. My employees will go grab umbrellas to walk people out to their car, because they didn't walk in expecting it to be raining, so mom has two kids. How is she going to get outside? So we walk them out there. And of course, my employees get soaked, but that's OK.

-Now, if I'm kind of cynical, let's just say that I heard you just say this about customer service, but I own a business. Well, a lot of companies, you walk right in, and they have a sign that says integrity. I'm just making up a name of a company, but it's like Johnny's Motors, integrity-- or Johnny's Motors, the best customer service in town.

And you go in there, and Johnny's got a ton of oil on his fingers, and the bathroom looks like it might have exploded three or four years ago. It smells like funk. The vending machine is empty, and there's an overall lack of quality in the air. How does Chick-fil-A take this idea-- because you say you want to treat every customer with what?

-Honor, dignity, and respect.

-OK, so how do you actually put that into action? How come Chick-fil-A actually has it happen, where other companies just say it, and it doesn't happen?

-Well, I think that a lot of people don't see the investment in it. If you invest in your people and you invest in the experience for your guest, more guests are going to come in. I think a lot of times people try to save their way to success, so they don't want to spend that extra money to clean the bathroom or get the soap that's going to-- or a little nail brush. They don't want to pay that because they're worried about the profits, but you know what they don't realize is all the other compounding-- the compounding effect that you're going to end up


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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Lesson Nugget: To get people to stay on task, you have to be very clear about your expectations going into the job, and hold people accountable to those expectations.
  • Lesson Nugget: Don't be afraid to ask people great at marketing for help, the worst they can do is say "no".
  • Lesson Nugget: If you have to talk to your employees about simple tasks, do not worry, so does every other business owner!


-Now, if you own a business and a lot of businesses have a high school working for them. And I hear companies say, well, you understand. It's so hard in my business to get a high schooler to do their job right. Now, the problem is-- you and I have both met Lee Cockerell, the guy that used to manage Walt Disney World and the 40,000 employees. And they have a lot of college and high school students there who are doing just fine.

But a lot of business owners will say, well I have high school students. You don't understand. It's hard to motivate them. Or they'll say, well, I have 40-year-olds working for me. It's impossible to teach an old dog new tricks or whatever. How do you keep your people-- because you're not the one who sees every customer-- how do you keep them on task and doing the right things?

-Well, honestly, the biggest thing is that those requirements. If you want to work with us, this is what our expectations are. If you're not, then we'll promote you. We'll promote you to customer status. You can go work somewhere else that works with you well. Not every place needs someone like that.

-Let me role play through this real quick, OK?

-All right.

-My name's Clay. I've worked for you for about two weeks and I didn't clean the bathrooms. I'm supposed to clean the bathroom. I'm supposed to but I didn't because I say to you I forgot. How does that go? What do you say?

-Well first, of all, if you said you forgot, I'd ask you, where's your checklist? Do you have a checklist? Do you have a checklist, Clay?

-Yeah, I think I have it in my car.

-OK. I would tell you to go get the checklist.

-So I go. I'm back. Here it is.

-All right. So you got your checklist. And what time are you supposed to clean the bathroom?

-Uh, 9:15.

-At that point, we would kind of discuss what times we'll go clean-- the thing is that we would probably just go have him clean it right now. But we'd really look at, make sure he has the tools in front of him to make this happen. You know, Clay, if you don't come in tomorrow with your checklist, which is your responsible to bring in, that we're going to go ahead and start taking action on you.

-What does that mean?

-That would mean that, for us, we would start with we'd write you up. And the next time it happens, we'd suspend you. And then the next time after that, you'd be let go.

-Honestly, you have two stores. How often does this happen? Every, every, other--

-Probably two or three times a week there's a time we have to sit down with somebody and say, OK, here's our expectations.

-We're helping somebody right here. Somebody's watching this and they're going, I get it now. Two or three times a week, I've got to talk to the freak about bringing his checklist to work, right?

-Or use the soap.

-Or using the soap. Now also, Arthur, if I'm an entrepreneur and I'm trying to improve the customer service standards-- I look at Chick-fil-A and you have the balloons out. You have the slide for the kids. And I'm looking at my place and I'm going, I can't even keep my bathroom clean. What specifically do I need to do? What would you recommend that I do to take it to the next level, to make some awesome purple cow customer service?

-Honestly, if it was me, if I saw that, I'd probably go and speak to the owner of that place and say can you teach me? That's the first step I would do. They are a competitor and they may not be willing to help, but you know what? The worst thing they can do is kick me out of the restaurant.

-So you right now-- I'm just making sure I'm clear with this-- you would go to the owner of a restaurant that you admired and say could you teach me?

-I do it now.

-And the owners all-- did you ever pay an owner to do it?

-I've never had to because a lot of times, they're like, what is this guy-- sometimes, I'll just walk into a kitchen because I want to see how it's getting done. And I've learned that if you act like you know what you're doing, people don't know how to react. And so I'll just walk back there and if they ask, I'll be like, oh, I'm lost. But I'll start asking them questions.

-One thing I did years ago and, not necessarily I did customer service, but as far as hiring a mentor, I really struggled. Because of like 2003, 2004. I just remember that in meetings, I would find in some of our staff meetings that I would get frustrated. And it was because I was never wanting to have confrontation.

And so I went to this top guy. He was a very successful entrepreneur. And I said, I've got confrontation in meetings all the time. I feel like I'm not doing a good job. He says, well, Clay, if someone's not getting mad, you're probably not holding anybody accountable. You probably need to have somebody mad, at least until everyone understands that's your expectation.

-That's correct.

-And I said, really? He said yeah. I said will you go with me? He said I got a busy schedule. And I remember I was like, well, I'll pay you $500 if you just come with me to a meetings. I'd love to have you just come with me.

And he wouldn't accept payment later on, but he actually came with me to some meetings. And in the meeting, he took some notes and afterwards, he was, like, that was week, you know? Like, that was weak. That guy said that to you? You have to confront him. You have to deal with-- and he taught me these principles that I now use today and it's no big deal.


-But it's like sometimes we need to have that. So there's no shame in the game to go out there and ask another entrepreneur hey, could you show me how?

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Lesson Nugget: It is extremely important to know what you are looking for when you are hiring. Hire people with attributes that you want in your company.
  • Lesson Nugget: If an employee is not excelling in one area, but they are a good worker, they may just need to be moved to a different position.
  • Lesson Nugget: If your employees do not follow your expectations, you are no longer leading them, they are leading you.
  • Author Greeno: "Real performance standards are based on the things you accept not the things you expect."
  • Lesson Nugget: If there is an issue with company culture, it is the leader's fault, because they allow it.


-Let's say that the person says no.


-Now, what do I do? How do I instill this best practice purple cow customer service?

-Well, then if that person said no, they won't do it, I'd be stealing as many ideas as I could from that person.

CLAY CLARK: You'd be going there, eating a lot?

-I would. I would. In fact, not only that, I would take my upper management and say, guys, I want you to go have lunch there or dinner or get your car waxed or whatever you need to there. And I'll pay for it if you bring back an idea.

-When was the last time you did this?

-Last week.

-OK, last week? OK. So you heard it here. Don't tell anybody. Just several million people that might view this. Just you guys keep it amongst yourselves on the Twitter or the Facebook, wherever you are, just in that community. Don't put it on Instagram. OK. So Arthur, day after day, week after week, you have to keep the customer service awesome. Does it just come down to the checklist?



-It's also about the heart of your employees. So when you're hiring is extremely important to know what you're looking for. If you're hiring somebody with a servant's heart that is interested in serving somebody else, that's going to make all the world of a difference.

-I want to show this to you because I want to see what you'd say to me. There's a guy who I was just talking to today. Guy, if you're watching this, calm down, I'm not going to mention your name. We'll say his name is Reggie. And Reggie owns a business and Reggie has a dude, we'll call him Tom.

Changing the names of these people and their genders to make it safe. This is the owner, right? And this is the employee. Now this guy has a permanent frown on his face. This guy Tom is never happy.

This owner is always happy. However, recently, because he's never happy, he's never delivering to customers what they need, he now has become an entrepreneur who's starting to look like this. And it's a small business though. It's only four or five people working there. What do you think Reggie, our owner, should say or do with Tom? Because you said it's about by having the right heart.


-In this, what do you think he should do?

-Well, first of all, it sounds like Tom's in the wrong position. In this situation, I would really look at Tom and say is in the right position? I've recently had an employee that was-- we hired him as a person to kind of be janitor. He's not a good janitor. And the problem is, I mean, he's just slow.

And so we had to figure out what to do with him. So we actually went around store and said, where's the best spot for this person? Now Tom, he might be able to be moved to the dishes or something like that, but it's also sometimes there's time we just have to let them go.

-But you're candid with it. You're going to deal with it swiftly.


-You're not going to let him pull you down.

-No, absolutely. It is our job as a leader to main-- the employees want to see what we expect. And so if we're letting employees dictate that, who's leading who?

-I bet you in 8 out of 10 companies across the country people like Reggie are being controlled by people like Tom. The employee is actually the boss. Who's controlling what's happening? The employee.

-And I've seen that over and over. And I hate to say it, but when I was first a young entrepreneur with Chick-fil-A, there were times when I look at my staff and go who's calling the shots here? You know, not like they would question me blatantly, but I just didn't want to confront them on it. Or I didn't want to deal with it. And so after a little while, I had to realize this isn't where it should be going.

-Well, one thing I've noticed too in businesses is what you except becomes sort of what people believe you expect, I believe is the phrase.

-Real performance standards are based on the things that you accept, not the things that you expect.

-Boom. And so if you let it pass through, if you accept it over and over, people then just say, well, that's your expectation.

-Yeah. I was at a store one time and I had some people working for me and this girl comes up and she has this gold tooth. I was like, OK, you know what? That's probably not the Chick-fil-A standards but we'll allow it.

-Was it awesome? Was it grills? Was it like the deal?

-Well, hers was just one.

-OK, one.

-About six months later, I looked at my whole front line and they all had like gold, silver, purple teeth. And I was looking going-- some of them had no teeth. And I said, you know what? Birds of a feather flock together. And so I started noticing that. Because I allowed that, then everyone that was applying were the people with all the tattoos everywhere and the missing teeth and the hair all over.

-That was your niche.

-Apparently, that was my niche. And thank god I'm not doing it anymore.

-The hip hop chicken shop.


-OK. Awesome, now--

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