Who knew that I’d observe the best example of point-of-sale customer service at a fast food place? This past weekend I was traveling and stopped off the freeway at Sacramento [California]. I wanted to call my husband, rest for a short while and have a quick snack. The Kentucky Fried Chicken/A&W place was easily the best choice to allow me quick back-to-the-freeway access.
When I entered the establishment, there was just one fellow ahead of me in line. He was ordering for three and not sure of his choices. Waiting on him at the cash register was a friendly young woman. Now, at first, I didn’t pay any attention to the sale going on before me…I was thinking about my day and staying on my travel schedule. I began to tune in though because of what I was hearing. The sales person was patiently giving the young man explanations of the differences between the various ways in which KFC’s chicken is cooked; she told him what the specials were and pointed out the new beverages [I ended up with the limeade – it was good]. He changed his mind a couple of times, but she didn’t miss a beat. She exhibited all the traits of a truly skilled and competent sales person:
- provided enough information about the choices for the customer to make an informed purchasing decision
- her smile was warm and genuine
- she was patient…she treated him as though his purchase was important
- courtesy was in every sentence…she used “please,” “thank you,” referred to him as “sir” and looked him in the eye
- she made sure his order was exactly what he wanted before concluding the sale and then thanked him for his business
After the young man left the register and it was my turn, I told this young woman that I was very impressed with her friendly professionalism. I explained that I wrote a business blog and was going to write about this with her permission. I also asked if I could take her photo, to which she agreed after checking with the on-site manager, Robert Greenlee. Her name is Sheba and she said, “I try to do my best wherever I am.” With customer skills like this, Sheba has a bright future in my opinion.
To be fair, when I was seated at a booth and finishing my snack before heading back onto the freeway, I observed a young man at the register who was also helping a customer with polite consideration.
What really struck me, though, in this experience is that I don’t enter a fast food establishment with the expectation of receiving this level of customer service. Actually, I’m quite happy if the counter person gets my order correct. We should ask the question: should there be “levels” of customer service dependent upon the ticket price of the merchandise? If I spend $100 on an item of clothing, or if I eat at a restaurant at which entrees begin at $25-30 I expect to get good or even great service. Shouldn’t I also expect good or even great service when my total ticket is $3.78? I think the answer is yes. It’s important for any business, regardless of industry, to remember that a happy, satisfied customer is going to tell others. A business’ reputation is built, in part, upon what its customers have to say about it.
What do your customers say about your business?