Viral Chick-fil-A Video Provides Deeper Insight Into Brand’s CS Success
And last week, the world was reminded of that when yet another Chick-fil-A customer service video went viral on Facebook.
“There was [Chick-fil-A’s team member, Jeremy] Murrill, in a furry hat and warm jacket to fight the chill, offering a slightly theatrical but indubitably sincere approach to taking customer orders at [meaning outside of] the drive-thru” said Chris Matysczyk in a recent Inc.com article.
There's no customer service body slams or drive thru brawls, racial or political altercations, or any other jaw-dropping controversial topics that typically gain viral attention.
Method to the madness
If you’ve ever been to a busy Chick-fil-A, you probably know that they have employees greet customers, walking up and down lines during long wait times in-store and at drive thru’s. Why?
As demonstrated in the video, the idea is to hit both main components of quality customer service, efficiency (in this case, speed of service delivery) and personalization (in this case, accuracy and ability to make a human connection with the customer).
Knowing that Chick-fil-A has the best customer service, a customer experience expert would probably guess that the first purpose is to efficiently speed up the order, giving employees more time to prepare the food, shortening customer wait times as they navigate through the long line.
When they get to the top of the line, their food is already prepared. All they have to do is give their name and the bag’s secured. Surely this would shorten wait times and increase CSAT scores.
According to a 2019 report, among 10 fast-food restaurants, Chick-fil-A actually had the longest drive-thru speed of service at 322.98 seconds—more than 1 minute longer than last year.
However, the report doesn’t accurately reflect the efficiency of service that their customer service provides.
According to the same report, the company’s speed of service is much longer because its drive-thru lanes are busier than every other competitor—and it’s not even close.
“A full 77 percent of its drive-thru experiences had three or more cars in line, according to the study, while 35.5 percent had six or more cars in line. For context, McDonald’s claimed the second-busiest drive thru, and only 41.8 percent of its drive thrus had three or more cars and 9.1 percent had six or more.” They actually are faster than competitors when u take into account sheer quantity of customers. That’s why Jeremy Murrill was walking up and down the line in freezing temperatures taking orders from customers.
The second piece, and arguably more important piece in Chick-fil-A’s case, is to help employees personalize customer interactions (executing trained processes while adding their own secret sauce to the interaction), coming face to face with customers, and documenting their order on tablets before the order is confirmed by both employee and customer. The interactions don’t just make customers like the one recording Jeremy Murrill feel better about the Chick-fil-A brand. It literally decreases Chick-fil-A’s chances of error.
A glimpse at the data
Murrill embodies that idea in the video.
In an industry notorious for botching quick orders (seemingly every other time), Chick-fil-A makes it a priority not to.
Take a look at this quote by QSR Magazine:
“And in this year’s Drive-Thru Study, Chick-fil-A was best in both order accuracy (at 94 percent, 4 percentage points higher than No. 2 Burger King) and customer service (scoring top marks in eye contact, pleasant demeanor, smiling, saying ‘please,’ and being “very friendly”).”
Anyone who watches the video can see that these are all coached and practiced components of Murrill’s customer interaction. Not only that, Chick-fil-A’s practices aren’t necessarily all scripted. Management gives employees the freedom to relate with customers as they chose, in turn creating a positive atmosphere and culture.
This is why we keep seeing Chick-fil-A in customer service headlines in media outlets like Fox Business, Business Insider, or on the news in Good Morning America, CNN, etc. While people might notice that Chick-fil-A goes above and beyond in their business’ customer service, we don’t always notice the details of how.
Murrill does a few things right that has made him a local celebrity, classic demonstration of front-line customer service (nailing the above concepts), and yet again, another viral marketing ambassador for Chick-fil-A.
"A1 services all day everyday"
First, Murrill commends the car's occupants on their "amazing order," individualizing the customer interaction.
Then he takes their credit card and adds:
“You're one swipe away from an awesome lunch meal. It'll be a pleasure serving you at our drive-thru window after two more things. You know what that is? It's a fist bump each. You guys are awesome.”
He hits eye contact, asks “how else may I serve you today” after every customer request, and then repeats the order for clarity.
And like any restaurant/local store, Murill sees many of the same employees regularly. He tries to get to know them, increasing customer retention.
“I serve a lot of guests,” he said to CNN affiliate WWAY. “I try to remember each and every name in drive-thru. That’s just a personal thing for me.”
Toya Liles (the Chick-fil-A customer who recorded and posted the video) says that every time she goes through this Wilmington, North Carolina drive-thru, Murrill is just the same:
“Luv this young man he like this ALL the time.....A1 services all day everyday.” securing Liles’ customer loyalty, and potentially life-time value.
A couple comments on the Facebook post sum up this story best:
“Every time I see him, he's always so upbeat & friendly!!!!!! I'm glad somebody captured this on camera because this is his everyday customer service!!!!!”
Another customer added, “I used to work down the street from that location and if I was ever having a bad day and drove thru he always put a smile on my face!”
While McDonald's are experimenting with robots taking drive-thru orders, in an attempt to speed up processing times, they’re losing both the efficiency and personalization game to the reigning champ of customer service.