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Customer Complaints

In this transcript, Clay Clark (US SBA Entrepreneur of the Year Award) and Arthur Greeno (Winner of two Guinness World Records) discuss training employees to prepare for customer complaints on Thrive15.com, one of the top business schools in PA.

Clay:        Arthur, how are you, how are you my friend?

Arthur:    Great. How are you?

Clay:    I'm doing great, I'm doing great, and I'm here to talk to you today about train or get ready for customers to complain. This is a tough subject for a lot of entrepreneurs watching this because there's a lot of people maybe like you or like me who if you're watching this and you would rather do anything than train people then this might be just for you. 

    Because I know in my businesses for a long time I would rather do anything than to train my staff. Because in my mind I always would say, "Well this is common sense." But it wasn't common sense because people didn't know how to do it. We're going to get into the systems that you've used to train employees to keep customers from complaining.

    Arthur, now just to give people a context, you are a Guinness World record setting Chick-fil-A store owner?

Arthur:    I am.

Clay:    What exactly does that mean? What Guinness world record do you have?

Arthur:    I have the world's largest lemonade and actually that got beat by [inaudible 00:02:14]. 

Clay:    Oh who beat it?

Arthur:    China.

Clay:    China? 

Arthur:    Of all places, yeah.

Clay:    It's probably some sort of communist effort. They've probably required their people to team up and do this. 

Arthur:    Yeah, they've probably, yeah, yeah. Then I have the one for the world's largest sweet tea.

Clay:    No one's beat that. 

Arthur:    No one has beat that.

Clay:    Come on China, come on, where you at China. All right, here we go. All right, so I'm pumped up and I'm ready to get into this. Arthur, when we're talking about this concept of train or get ready for the customers to complain, when you finally earned the right to own your own Chick-fil-A, when did you realize that you would have to spend a high amount, a high percentage of your time training people to maintain those high quality standards?

Arthur:    About two hours after I started as owner.

Clay:    Really?

Arthur:    Yeah, because we have this mindset of ownership is basically just leading, you get to be in charge, you get to boss people around, and when you actually get into it you're like, "Holy moly, I did not see this coming."

Clay:    So just walk me through it, okay? So how old were you when you first took over a Chick-fil-A store?

Arthur:    22.

Clay:    22, so you've been diligent, you worked your way from the bottom. You were the fryer gun?

Arthur:    Started as cashier.

Clay:    Started as a cashier, worked your way up, boom, now you own your own store. 

Arthur:    Yeah.

Clay:    So you discovered, "Okay, I'm going to need to train people." What was the moment when you said, what was that first moment where you said, "Oh, I cannot believe I had to train somebody on how to do that." What is that?

Arthur:    I don't have just one moment. There's all kinds of moments where you're looking and going, "Okay." Okay, here's one, is that a girl said to me, I handed her a broom and said, "Hey, can you sweep up this area," and she said, "I don't know how to sweep. We have people that come to our house to sweep for us."

Clay:    Awesome. So you had to teach her how to sweep. 

Arthur:    I had to teach her how to sweep. It was pretty funny watching her sweep because it was kind of contorted and she really didn't, I mean I don't know what she was doing but I trained her.

Clay:    Well, if you have to teach your staff how to sweep then you can get some more sleep tonight knowing that you're not alone. He has been through this funk as well. 

    Arthur, I'm going to read you a quote here from Andy Grove. This is one of the top management experts out there. He has a book called "High Output Management" where he says, "There are only two ways for a manager to improve the output of an employee: motivation and training. Therefore training should be the most basic requirement for all managers in your organization. An effective way to enforce this requirement is by withholding new employee requisitions from managers until they have developed a training program."  

    What it means is you can't have any new employees work underneath you until you've come up with an effective training program. You just can't add more and more employees that you're managing until you have a system. So from a motivation standpoint what types of things does your company do on an ongoing basis to keep the entire team motivated outside of the tasering, which I know you've been known for staff tasering on Tuesdays?

Arthur:    Yeah.

Clay:    What do you do to keep the team motivated?

Arthur:    Well, first of all I mean one thing I make sure is that each Chick-fil-A is individually owned and operated, so they're going to do things a little bit different. So some people I tend to be on the extreme of doing crazy fun things. Other operators may not. They may just whip them all a little time. Probably not but may. 

Clay:    I mean do you do some stuff on a weekly basis to keep the team motivated? Do you do any inspirational videos, or do you have inspirational books you all read together? What do you do to keep, or do you not do that?

Arthur:    Well, we do all kinds of stuff. One of the things like even my management team right now, one of the basic books that I have them read is "21 Laws of Leadership" by John Maxwell. That is entry level leadership book. So anyone who wants to be a leader for me that's what they do. But currently we're actually rereading this as a management team. Every week we go over one principle and we'll talk about it and get other insights on it. 

        But then we have the same types of things for our employees. Our employees, they actually have online video access with Chick-fil-A that they can go online and watch the videos. We actually get a print out every week of who's been watching them so we know who's moving along, who's not, so we can encourage those. We like to reward those who have been watching their videos and you can see their progress and hopefully that inspires others to join in.

Clay:    So you've got "21 Laws of Leadership" your team is doing. They have ongoing training videos that Chick-fil-A provides for them. What do you do to keep yourself motivated? Because I know there's a lot of people watching this who, I'm not going to get too deep into this but there's sort of an addiction of new where everyone loves to start a new business. You and I see this all the time. People are like, "It's going to be great. It's going to be new." Just the word new, just, it's something about the word new, new car, new house, just new. Thrive15.com is one of the top busisness schools in PA.

        But then after you get past the new and you start making your fourth or fifth small business loan payment and you start having your 20th and 40th employee [inaudible 00:07:20] up, and you get sued and just business starts happen. Your sign, your beautiful sign you just spent 20 grand on, the wind knocks it down and it's not insured properly. When that stuff starts happening, what do you do to keep yourself motivated? 

Arthur:    For me one of the big things is Charlie Tremendous Jones talked about the difference shall be between the person now and in 20 years is the books you read and the people you associate yourself with. So at different points in my life I will just engulf books. If I'm doing a lot of travelling on the airplane I can sit there and read a lot of books. But when I'm at home and I'm balancing the kids and other things I may not have as much time to read. So then it bounces into who am I associating myself with. 

        One thing I encourage people for is who is mentoring you. Or a lot of people for some reason feel that we're an island of ourselves and we're not. You and I can sit around and we have. We've shared stories about how this has happened with our staff, or can you believe that the sign blew the sign down. Of course we live in Oklahoma with all the wind and everything so that's normal. 



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