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This business coaching course explains how to create and implement exceptional customer service training.

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

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Lesson Nugget: The difference between a GREAT company and an o.k. company is found in how you handle the details.
  • Lesson Nugget: Make sure you only compare yourself to great companies; they are doing something right.
  • Lesson Nugget: It's not just having good people, or having a good product, it's about ALL of the details, that makes your business great!

-My name is Clay Clark, business coaching mentor. And I am the visionary of thrive15.com. Today we are joined with Arthur Greeno of Chik-fil-A and he is going to teach us a little something about operational excellence. If you have a business, want to have a business, or maybe know somebody who has a business, and you just want to give them tips on customer service training, today's business coaching episode is going to help you create a culture of daily operational excellence, the kind of excellence we find and see every single day at Chik-fil-A.

It's sort of sad and it's sort of true, but in most small businesses and businesses all across the country, operational excellence is something we simply don't see. And when people aren't wowed, they just don't come back and they don't buy very much stuff. So today's business coaching episode could be worth millions and millions of dollars to all of us if we can just learn how to create a culture of daily operational excellence.

Remember, at thrive15.com, we believe that knowledge without application is meaningless. So as you're watching the episode, ask yourself what you need to uniquely do to take today's principles and apply it in your business. Otherwise, today's business coaching episode may just be more meaningless than everything I ever learned in social science class.

All right, Arthur, I appreciate you being here. And we are here today to talk about business coaching for daily operational excellence. And this is a huge thing that I have found. I know a lot of entrepreneurs that I meet, they are so excited to open up a business. They are pumped. They're like, man, I'm going to open this business.

Well then, after about 365 days, one year of being in business, they're like, gosh, it's so hard running a business. And then people like you, how long have you been running Chik-fil-A?

-25 years.

-25 years you've been running this Chik-fil-A. And really the success is in those daily, diligent activities. It's the daily operation excellence that makes you guys great. So I'm going to start off by saying this here. We need to design the ideal reality if we're an entrepreneur who's going to be successful with operational excellence and customer service training. We have to design the ideal reality.

Now, when I asked 9 out of 10 business owners, what makes your company so great or unique, nine out of 10 of them, almost every time, they say, well it's we're professional. We have good people. We do good quality.

But yet if I ask nine out of ten customers about any given business, they'd say, well, they're over all, they're pretty professional, but I'm not wowed, not really impressed. So the business owners think they're awesome, customers think, it's just OK. So if you were asked to make a list of some of the best service providing companies in the world, what are some of the ones come to your mind? You got what, Disney?


You got-- are you a Big Apple guy? You like Apple?

I do actually.

OK. Does your wife go to Whole Foods? Are you into Whole Foods?

-No. So I look like I'm into Whole Foods?

-You look sexy. OK, so we ask people in America, we say, what are the best companies? People always say what, Disney, JetBlue, Southwest, Zappos, Tesla Motors is starting to pop up a little bit, Apple What's the difference, Arthur, on a daily basis between a great company and an OK company? What's the difference between Chik-fil-A and some other chicken brand.

-That will remain nameless. It's all in the details. When I talk to a lot of businesses, a lot of them will make comments about-- you and I were talking earlier, the people. And they can kind of focus on one thing, my product is good or my people are good. Well, I think when you look at these companies, it's all of them.

And I'll talk about Apple. I bought a computer. I went in, it was right at its warranty, and they said, you know what? You were technically like two weeks out of your warranty. And normally, isn't that like Murphy's law that that happens? You're like, oh my gosh.

-Out of warranty.

-And they said, you know, the guy looked at me and said, but your computer probably broke down two weeks ago, didn't it? And I was like, well. And I said, well, maybe, I actually wasn't home. And he said, it probably did. We're going to go ahead and honor it under warranty. So it was the company, it was the culture, it was the people. You know, he stepped up and said-- he didn't have to do that. But after that, I was like, we're buying everything Apple.

-Well, here's the deal. I was at a downtown networking meeting. And I met a lady who has some sort of deli. OK, she has a deli. And I was at a-- not Tulsa, so don't start guessing who it was. But it was a downtown deli and this lady she was like, the economy is so terrible. It's tough. I can't make a product. The economy.

I went there after speaking at this downtown area. I go to the deli to get some food. I thought I'll just go to her place. She came to the conference. I want to patronize her business.


-Has a sign, Closed. I've gone on meeting or back in 20 minutes. This is at lunch. And I'm thinking, gosh, so I talked to the lady. I said, hey, talked to her, saw her later in the conference. I said, hey, I went by your place and it was closed. She says, you know, yeah, but I mean we're one of the only downtown places that are open during that time. And I had to run by and do this.

And I started realizing that she was comparing herself with other downtown businesses that were also terrible. Business coaching question: So why is it so important for the average entrepreneur to compare their business with the great companies and how do you do that?

-Well, you have to do that, because obviously the great companies are doing something right.

-Yeah. But a lot of times we don't want to look in the mirror because it's our company. It's a reflection us no matter what you say. When people say Chik-fil-A in Tulsa, I want them to go, oh, you know Arthur? You know, and that's what I want. And so, it is a reflection of us, an absolute reflection of us. And I think a lot of times we don't want to face that.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Lesson Nugget: Schedule time to get out of your daily business grind and find out what your competitors are doing better than you.
  • Lesson Nugget: The first step to building an effective checklist is figuring out how often that checklist item must be completed.
  • Checklist Specifics: 1) What time is it to be done? 2) What are you doing? 3) What are the expectations of the task?
  • Notable Quotable: "Being nice to people is just 20% of providing good customer service. The important part is designing systems that allow you to do the job right the first time. All the smiles in the world aren't going to help you if your product or service is not what the customer wants."- The Service Profit Chain



-Business coaching truth: I've noticed that if you'll hang around with really top business owners, they'll hold you accountable.


-I'll give you an example. I have a client I work with who's a fabulous, fabulous friend of mine. And he actually was a business coaching mentor of mine, now he's a client of mine. We kind of go back and forth, this mentor client thing. He hires me, I hire him.

But I noticed that he is impeccably organized. And I have just noticed that by being around him over the last five, six years, I find when I meet with him, I want to be super organized in preparation to meet this guy.

But I started noticing that all the time, because he might be here all the time, I might want to be better organized. Then I started noticing, I am becoming organized because I want to be more organized than that guy.

-That's right.

-Do you benchmark at all with other companies in Tulsa?

-We do, and it's more of our-- like, for my management team, one of things that we do is, they're required to get out of the store at least once a month. Once a month, I want you to go to lunch somewhere else, don't look for the ones that aren't doing as well, because I really don't care what they're doing.


-Now I say that, but sometimes if they do go there, I do joke and say, a broken clock is right twice a day. So look for the things that we can bring back.

-What are some places that you look at from the restaurant business, or from a service industry, and you say, that is a great operation. Man, I aspire to be that good or maybe we are competitive with them.

-Well, Quik Trip. Quik trip is one.

CLAY CLARK: Quik Trip gas stations.

-Yeah, they absolutely do a phenomenal job. They do a phenomenal job from the customer service side, from the cleanliness, the bathrooms are always clean, the restaurant is organized. You know when you go to every Quik Trip, where you're going to find the can of green beans if they have them. And they do that very intentionally.

-Now in the book "The Service Profit Chain", this is a book written by some Harvard business professors. It was actually introduced to me by Chet Cadieux, who was the, I guess he's the president of Quik Trip now.


-And he said, you have to read this book. It's by a guy named James L. Heskett and W. Earl Sasser and Leonard Schlesinger, I believe. He says here, "Being nice to people is just 20% of providing good customer service. The important part is designing systems that allow you to do the job right the first time. All the smiles in the world aren't going to help you if your product or service is not what the customer wants."

-That's right.

-So let's get into some business coaching here. He says, systems. Now I hear this word a lot, I hear a lot of business owners saying, oh, I'm building some systems right now. That's why our-- we're just building some systems. When you say a system, let's get into the system. Do you have a system for cleaning a bathroom?

-We do.

-OK. So let's just start up here, let's get into some business coaching for it. If you're building a checklist to clean the bathroom at Chick-fil-A, let's just say this is an eight and a half by 11 sheet of paper.


-Do you chart over here the item that needs to be done? So you've got the item that needs to be done and when they did it? Or how do you recommend I start building a system if I just want to keep the bathroom clean? Where do I start?

ARTHUR GREENO: Well, I would start with, what is your time frame that you're wanting to do this in? Are you trying to do this all day? Are you trying to do it just during the busy times? What does it look like to you?

CLAY CLARK: Let's say I own an insurance business.


-What do you think I should do?

ARTHUR GREENO: So you own an insurance business and you're having a problem with your bathroom.


-And so you're probably going to be open 8:00 to 4:00.


-Now, for me, if I own an insurance business, my bathroom's probably not going to be super busy.


ARTHUR GREENO: OK? So you might actually be able to inspect the bathroom a lot less than maybe I would at my restaurant.


-So for me, I would say, let's inspect it once an hour.

CLAY CLARK: Once an hour. So let's go ahead. So I'm going to say here 9:00 AM, and just so we're getting this, I know for somebody watching this business coaching episode they might be like, this is tedious watching you write these things. Somebody else is going, this is Eureka.

But we, as a team, we're saying here, we are standing together to fight against bad bathrooms and the recession that it's creating. OK. So we got the once an hour.

ARTHUR GREENO: OK. And so what I would do is, first of all, on the left-hand side, I would make sure that that's where you would get their initials. That's where they're saying, Clay, I got this done.

-So real quick, I'm just going to say that in this case, the guy who does the work, his name is Doug, OK? And Doug is a beautiful man. He's a great guy. He has a little more weight on his bones than that, but that's Doug.

ARTHUR GREENO: His leg's are attached.

-Yeah, his leg is fully attached and he's actually got shoes on too. Doug has some shoes on. Anyway, that's Doug, and he has elbows too.


ARTHUR GREENO: This is like Drawing the Clay 101.

-Yeah, it's very, very complicated. So Doug over here though, Doug cleans the bathroom every hour.


-Now do you have a detailed list of what to do in that bathroom?

ARTHUR GREENO: Yeah. What we would do is we would probably put another line right after the times, because the times show the times we want it done at.


-And then what are the expectations? You may not need the same, like, you may not need to wipe the walls down every hour of the day.

CLAY CLARK: But you might put wall, wipe down the wall.

ARTHUR GREENO: So first thing in the day, he may want to wipe down the wall. Well, you know what? At that time, you may also want to cover some of the other things, like the sinks, the toilet, the urinals, whatever it may be.

CLAY CLARK: Sinks. And then you're going to make this list here of things and you're expecting him to check it off and then every hour you're going to come by as a manager and inspect the stuff.



-Business coaching lesson: The purpose of this list is so you're not, the manager's not having to go by and inspect them every hour.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Lesson Nugget: The manager's job, when encountering poor work of one of his employees, is first to find out if they "don't know" or "don't care".
  • Lesson Nugget: The second step of creating effective systems: Train your employees on how to use the checklists appropriately.
  • Lesson Nugget: You have to be willing to interview three to four Dougs and fire the occasional Doug, to ensure you have a good team that "does care."
  • Lesson Nugget: You have to be willing to interview three to four Dougs and fire the occasional Doug, to ensure you have a good team that "does care".
  • Lesson Nugget: The employee's poor work is because they "don't know" or "don't care". It is the leader's job to make sure that everyone else "does know".



-So, for business coaching clarification, how often would the manager do it? Because over here, this right here is the mean, angry, boss overlord-- right here. Who has-- he's got a lot going on here. He's a little more thick. He eats a little better than Doug over here, right? He's the boss. Now, when does the mean overlord boss come by and inspect this?

-In a perfect business coaching scenario, it would be-- let's say that I was a mean overlord boss. So to me, I would train Doug to do it. And then have a discussion with him about his commitment to making sure this is done. And by doing this, I expect these things done and him to put his initials on each hour. And at the end of the shift, I would possibly go and take a look at those things.

-So maybe at 4 o'clock you would check?


-You come by here, and you check to make sure that it's done right.


-Now, if the work is done poorly-- OK. So let's just say over here that you had one day where the work was done bad, right?


-And another day where the work was done good, OK? And so I'm dwelling on this. Because I see business owners-- I talked to a business owner just last week who has a-- they have a person working there who cannot seem to string together more than two consecutive days of keeping a bathroom clean.

And this person's, what do I say? I don't know what I would say to Doug. He's been with us for-- because Doug is my friend. Doug is somebody's dad. Doug is a man. He's a man-- I just would hate to be disrespectful to a man. He's a dad. He's a friend. His name starts with a "D"-- there's so much, I just don't want to hurt Doug's feelings. If Doug does a bad job, what do you say to Doug?

-Well, first of all, if he does a bad job, it's either they don't know or they don't care? So let's start with they don't know. Business coaching lesson: If they don't know, then as a manager, my job is to make sure he knows. So I would go back and retrain him.

-OK, so let's just say that Doug, for some reason, does not-- I mean, not that Doug would do this, OK? But let's say that Doug didn't clean the bathroom right. You come in here at 4 o'clock. You check on Doug-- check. And you find out, no bueno Doug-- bad job. What do you say to Doug?

-Well, I'd go over what the expectations were. Doug, did you understand what we are trying to accomplish here? Yes? No? Well, lot of times he would probably say, no I didn't understand. So at that point, we step back and say, let's make sure we've done our job and train him.

-The question you always ask-- because you've said this to me before. And I want to make sure I write it down here is-- what were the questions you asked? Did you not know? Or did you--

-Business coaching lesson: He either didn't know or didn't care.

-OK, that's the option here. I mean, he didn't know. Right? And it's K-N-O-W, because we're on the planet Earth. Didn't know, right? Or you didn't care, correct?


-OK, didn't know or didn't care.

-Business coaching lesson: Yes, and if they don't know, it's our job as leaders as managers to train him to make sure they do know.

-Now, what if Doug did a good job?

-Well, then if Doug did a good job then-- you know, I'd love to say that we would constantly give him rewards. But the reality is, the reward sometimes is just you get to keep your job.

-OK, so let me ask this for business coaching purposes. For every Doug you hire, how many Dougs do you need to fire to find one Doug who will do the job.

-It depends on how good of a hiring person you are.

-For you, particularly.

-Yeah, for me, with Chick-fil-A, we're very slow to hire and quick to fire. Not because we're trying to get rid of people, but because if they don't make the cut, there's no point in wasting their life. Because they can go somewhere else and be more happy in their job.

-How many people do you have to interview to find one good Doug? We probably interview probably three or four people to get a good Doug.

CLAY CLARK: Three to four produces one Doug. And for every one Doug, how many of them stick with you when it's all said and done? They can cut the mustard. They can get the bathroom clean.

-Our turnover rate's about 50%.

-So, about half those people make it.

-Yeah, and there's a number of reasons. It doesn't have to be because they can't clean the bathroom. It could be they're allergic to chicken. It could be-- I mean, there's a number of things that it could be. So it's not just about that.

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