Customer Service: Turning “My Duty” Into “My Pleasure”

Chick-fil-A, Spotsylvania Mall Drive, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, VA

“My pleasure!”

Though it always makes me chuckle a little bit, I never tire of hearing a Chick-fil-A employee saying that to each customer who says “Thank you.” Those two words reveal a novel concept that should be at the core of any business: that employees view serving customers as a pleasure and not a duty. 

Customer service can make or break a shopping experience. For too many employees, the customer service mindset is “My duty…” and not “My pleasure!” In the past few weeks, I’ve had several bad customer service experiences. One was with an Ultimate apparel company forgetting to ship my order and then shipping the wrong color jersey. Another occurred at a fast food restaurant with staff arguing in front of waiting customers. Yet another was with a supplier who didn’t call back even after two voicemails and an email. Now, I’m a pretty easy-going guy, so I don’t complain about these things too often (though employees complaining about their job is one of my pet peeves). However, it does influence which companies I recommend to my contacts, friends, and family.

Customer service is an area that a business can really take advantage of to set themselves apart from the competition. If two companies sell similar “widgets” (to use my economic prof’s terminology) at similar prices, in the long run customers are going to purchase from the company with the most pleasant shopping experience. In other words, it’s what separates good companies from great companies.

If you are a business owner or franchisee, emphasize the importance of customer service to your employees. One of the best ways you can do this is to model it for both your customers and your employees. Employees who feel like their needs are met are more likely to “do unto others.” In addition, motivate them with stories of great customer service from other organizations (here are 11 powerful examples to get you started). Storytelling is an exceptional way to get a point across in a memorable and engaging manner. (For more on the power of storytelling, check out the book Lead with a Story by Paul Smith)

If you’re an employee, do you enjoy your job? What is keeping you from being a servant-employee? I’d encourage you to examine yourself personally as well as your work environment to discover what hampers your customer service potential. Make the necessary changes (even if it involves talking to your manager) and you might find that you can say “My pleasure!” whenever you serve your customers as well.

No matter who you are or where you work, a cheerful servant attitude is always a pleasure to encounter. Every interaction you make (whether on the clock or off the clock) is a potential for customer service distinction. As Kid President put it in his YouTube pep talk video, “The world needs you to stop being boring. Boring is easy; everybody can be boring. But you’re gooder than that….We make everyday better for each other.”

May your customer service mindset be “My pleasure!” and not “My duty…”.

Do you have any stories of exemplary customer service? What about terrible customer service? I’d enjoy hearing about them. Share them in the comments below.

-Lawson
Learn It. Love It. Live It.

[image credit: m01229 on Flickr]

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About Lawson Hembree
Lawson is an entrepreneur, ministry leader, and outdoors enthusiast who also enjoys blogging about business, ideas, and theology. Want to continue the discussion or write a guest post? Let's Connect!

3 Responses to Customer Service: Turning “My Duty” Into “My Pleasure”

  1. John Honey says:

    Totally. And the difference is staggering and glaring. Go to an average McDonald’s after eating at Chick Fil A as much as I do lol…and it’s almost jarring to hear employees there yelling at each other, about orders, and customers, and coarse laughing (not the good kind). It’s like “what are you thinking??? We can hear you, employees, we’re right here.”

    I believe it’s training that makes the difference. That includes training on the details of customer service first…before learning which buttons to push on the register, etc. The culture and mindset and expectations of the leaders determine EVERYTHING…along with precise good training on how to live up to those expecations.

    I see most McDonald’s, I think “little training happened here”. I see Chick Fil A, I think “they trained on the right things first.”

    • Exactly! It’s all about setting expectations from the beginning and letting employees know that customers are a priority.

  2. Lawson Hembree says:

    Good one!

    Lawson Hembree 479-441-2149

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