Remember the “magic words”? Growing up, my mother would always ask me “what is the magic word?” Of course, it was either ‘please’, ‘thank you’ or ‘sorry’. Let’s also not forget about ‘you’re welcome’ and ‘excuse me’. It didn’t take too long before I remembered to say them all the time.
So, why is something that was so engrained in our early vocabulary so quickly forgotten? “Magic words” are not just for children. Why don’t we use them as adults? I don’t think, as some would argue, that society on a whole is on a downward spiral. I think we need a reminder that, as with any skill, we need to practice our "magic words”. No matter your age these essential words are effortless to say and convey a sincerity to others. They have a powerful ability to create positive interactions, so we all should look for opportunities to use them daily.
Thinking back to my positive Chick-fil-A® experience, in Service Done Right Part 1, I wanted to learn more about the company. Turns out the founder has written several books about his recipe for success, inspiring more people, how it’s easier to succeed than to fail, and more. I now have added a few more books to my “need to read” list.
Chick-fil-A® is beating the competition by re-training workers to say ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘my pleasure’. According to QSR Magazine, the chicken chain is statistically the most polite chain in the restaurant business. Their employees were credited for saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ the most and also, get this,….smiling at customers.
While small pleasantries are easy to dismiss, these little things play a key role in their success. Analysts have said that customer service is the key to Chick-fil-A®’s success.
One of the things that stood out to me the most was the young man answering my “thank you” with “my pleasure”. This intrigued me. As a mother of two teenage boys, I think I would fall over if my boys ever said that!
The founder of Chick-fil-A® was Truett Cathy and here is the backstory on “my pleasure” from their “The Chicken Wire” blog - Humble Beginnings – How Truett Cathy’s Love for Customers Grew from a Coke and a Smile.
One of Cathy’s simplest expressions of love has become a memorable part of the Chick-fil-A® experience: “My pleasure.”
Cathy was visiting a high-end hotel, and when he thanked an employee, the man helping him replied genuinely, “My pleasure.” Cathy felt his sincerity, and the memory of the man’s smile and those two little words stayed with him for several days. He decided to ask his restaurant owners, team members, and even his corporate staff to respond with “my pleasure” whenever someone said thank you.
“You expect that from a five-star hotel,” Cathy said. “But to have teenagers in a fast-food atmosphere saying it’s their pleasure to serve—that’s a real head-turner.”
“My pleasure” became an expression of love for customers. Almost immediately Cathy began receiving letters from customers telling him about their experiences after hearing restaurant team members say those magic words. It was genuine, and customers knew it.
“It was all about the smiles. Every interaction, every cold Coca-Cola, every meal, every cow, every ‘my pleasure’ was an opportunity to express Cathy’s genuine love and draw a smile.”
For me, not only did the “my pleasure” stand out but the entire experience. They went above and beyond from beginning to end. Think about this and how can we apply this to our sales and business world. Do you hear the “magic words” at your favorite businesses you visit? Do you or your employees use the “magic words” when interacting with your clients? Would it make you stand out? I am sure it would. Courtesy is contagious. The “magic words” change our tone completely and engages the customer. As we know, our attitudes will win them over and keep customers coming back. This is a good reminder to all of us – always deliver more than expected.