Friday, July 13, 2012, was Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A: dress like a cow, get a free meal. Simple enough, right? Even two of Cherwell’s own participated in the revelry. But Chick-fil-A’s success story isn’t about free meals; it’s about a great company cultivating a faithful following — so faithful in fact that on a recent layover at the Atlanta airport, I sat at a food court at the intersection of several corridors and watched one traveler after another ask a neighbor where he got his Chick-fil-A meal. He directed them down a particularly crowded corridor about 50-75 yards. Despite all of the food choices flanking us, each person trekked out of their way to Chick-fil-A.
What if service desk customers were equally fanatical about your services? Maybe they can be. In the words of Truett Cathy, founder and chairman of Chick-fil-A, “No goal is too high if we climb with care and confidence.”
Let’s consider Cow Appreciation Day again. A few fans suggested that the company create their own nonsensical “national holiday” and have a little fun along the way. Chick-fil-A listened to their fans and dared to do something different. Today, Cow Appreciation Day has become one of the company’s largest marketing programs. While it’s a huge investment for the company, it pays even higher dividends — giving employees and fans an opportunity to be part of something remarkable as they laugh their way through the day. It’s the kind of secret ingredient that turns an ordinary dining experience into an occasion and a satiated diner into a raving fan.
Lessons for the service desk (and life):
- You never know where a good idea will come from. Embrace it.
- Think creatively. Act bravely.
- Pursue opportunities to bring people together and bring value — even if it means being a little bit ridiculous.
What are you doing to create raving fans? Share your ideas and experiences so that others can learn from them too.