Those are the two words that Chick-Fil-A employees use in place of “you’re welcome,” and though small, they make the fast food chain’s customer service memorable.
Not only do they say it, but it really sounds like they mean it. It’s never flat or dull and it’s always said in a cheery way.
And when I say every employee says it each time you say thank you, I mean every employee. That’s part of the reason it’s so memorable.
Recently, due to my wife and I expecting a baby while also moving to a new house in the process, we have eaten a near-embarrassing amount of fast food.
On that greasy journey, I noticed something: Chick-Fil-A isn’t the only chain using the phrase “my pleasure” anymore.
CookOut, Culvers and McDonald’s are just a few that have adopted the friendly response, most likely because they all saw something successful about it.
They likely brought it to their businesses after hearing it somewhere else — which is basically what just about everyone does when they execute an idea, because no idea is completely original.
And those aren’t my words. I saw a marketing director from Google talk about the acronym C.A.S.E. — Copy and Steal Everything — and she argued that point quite well.
From her perspective, she looked at websites that all shared similar features and explained that because very few ideas are truly original, it’s okay to take other people’s ideas — as long as you make them your own.
And that idea carries over into fast food menus. Have you ever noticed how similar McDonald’s’, Burger King and Wendy’s drive-thru menus are?
There’s a reason behind that, and it’s because they figured out that if they put food items in certain places (i.e. top left, bottom right, etc) people will have an easier time reading the menu, so the others all copied whoever did it first.
But making it your own is a key part of it, and there’s a noticeable difference in people who say it and those who mean it.
While Culver’s and Chick-Fil-A use the phrase “my pleasure” in a chipper, cheery way, I found that employees at CookOut and McDonald’s said it in a flat, bored-sounding way. It was as if the words themselves were good enough, no matter how they were said.
And that made a big difference in the way I felt about the employees. I didn’t get the happy feeling I got from the other places, and it wasn’t as great of a customer experience.
There could be any number of explanations — from the people I interacted with having a bad day to them not getting paid enough to feel happy about their work. And that’s how customer service is sometimes; you only get one shot.
Great customer service is contagious, but it has to mean something. When it doesn’t, the great idea that you thought you had becomes transparent and meaningless.