You can probably tell by looking at my picture that I like to eat. And like with most big men, fast-food can be my downfall. For me, there is no better fast-food than Chick-fil-A.

It used to be only on trips down south that I could get my hands on the tastiest chicken sandwich in all the land. However, since the fast-food chain has expanded, I can now simply walk across the street on my lunch break to indulge.

And it is not just the great sandwich that makes me enjoy my now frequent trips to this establishment. The customer service at any Chick-fil-A is outstanding. And I don’t mean just outstanding for the fast-food world, for that would be like saying you are the skinniest kid in fat camp. No, I would put the restaurant’s customer service up against any other company.

However, it was not until recently that I realized just how focused the company was on making sure their employees say the right thing. It was brought to my attention twice within a week’s time. The first was in business coach Angie Snow’s e-newsletter, and the second was during Stephen Dale’s presentation at the BuildTech show. Dale is the director of training for Pro Selling Pros.

The example both explained is the response Chick-fil-A employees provide to customers after being thanked for doing something as simple as refilling a beverage. Frequenters of the restaurant probably know what the response is – “my pleasure.” It makes the customer feel good.

Angie Snow put it best: “Her choice of words was not coincidental. She has been trained to use positive language, a skill that some fast-food restaurants (and other businesses) lack. While saying ‘no problem,’ one may think they are being positive. Yet both of the words ‘no’ and ‘problem’ are indeed negative, and may imply that the customer could have been a problem.”

The same can be said of the term “no worries,” which I hear a lot of lately. And, of course, it would not be surprising to get no response from some other fast-food restaurants.

Let’s transition this to the HVAC world, because I am sure HVAC contractors want their customers to have the same type of feeling when they interact with their company. As Dale was quick to point out, this really comes into play with the individuals you employ to answer the incoming phone calls. Now, I am somewhat sure most contractors are doing the simple, easy stuff. These are items like answering the phone professionally, asking appropriate questions, being polite if any issues come up.

But do you have a script in place to make sure each call goes exactly how you like it? Have you drilled down and gone over every inch of that script to make sure there are no unintended negatively perceived comments that could be passed on to your customers? Until a few weeks ago, I thought a reply like “no problem” was actually not a problem. Make sure multiple sets of eyes look at the script to verify that your company is delivering the customer service you expect.

And, of course, it does not stop once that first phone call is answered and the appointment is booked. The same rules should be applied to the salesperson meeting with the homeowners at the kitchen table and the technician who is entering the house to look at the equipment.

Superior customer service is part of a company’s culture. A company does what the leadership talks about. Don’t assume you have this part of the business figured out and put it on cruise control. Building great customer service is a never-ending task, but it certainly can make a big difference.

Publication date: 5/20/2019

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