I recently sat down at a Chick-Fil-A to enjoy a #1 Meal; Chick-Fil-A is a favorite place. So you know, I am an unabashed fan!
While eating my delicious chicken sandwich, I was overtaken by my First Impressions instincts. It happens often with me in more than a few places I frequent. On this particular occasion, I just ran with it, knowing there are implications for churches I visit. So, here you go. Some First Impressions lessons from Chick-Fil-A.
Chick-Fil-A is a popular place on Friday evening. On the day of my visit, cars were looped around the building twice just to get to the drive thru. But Chick-Fil-A was ready, outside the building, with several smiling Chick-Fil-A faces steadily intercepting drivers as they made their turns around the building and taking orders to move cars along. And greeting customers as they entered the building!
Inside? The place was abuzz. Every register was open; numerous employees behind the counter and on the dining floor. Energy was in the air. One guest commented to his friend as he entered the building, “the line moves fast.” Sure enough, it did. In two minutes, a voice behind the register, invited me forward to place my order. I was greeted with a convincing smile. An easy to read menu made selections easy. The sauces were offered without limit and the transaction was swift. When I said, “thank you,” the response was automatic. “My pleasure.” And, I think it was.
Finding a dining table, I took a seat and in a matter of a few more minutes, a moist and hot chicken sandwich with extra pickles and piping hot waffle fries were delivered to the table with these words, “Roger?” Yes, my name was called though I never stated my name at any point in the visit. It was like somebody knew me. Impressive. “Thanks,” I said. “My pleasure” was the response.
I looked around. Fresh flowers were on my table and every table. There was a newspaper available, if I wanted to read it. Signage offered a “Welcome” at the door and directed people “this way to order.” More signs were visible for catering, order pick up, and restrooms. The dining room was clean; the seating was comfortable; the lighting was modern. Restrooms pristine.
A few feet away from my table 3 women were conversing at another table. On the table were 8 cups. It turned out the mothers were visiting while their children were enjoying the Indoor Playground. It was a family atmosphere.
I flipped through the Chick-Fil-A app on my phone and noticed the Rewards I had accumulated for prior visits. I noticed that I had choices that I could make for free food on a return visit which I could foresee would be happening soon.
About that time, another smiling Chick-Fil-A employee stopped by my table and offered me a refill on my drink. I accepted the offer and, on her delivery, back to the table, I said “thank you,” once again drawing the familiar response, “my pleasure.”
And did I mention? The food was predictably good: hot, fresh, tasty, and satisfying. The sauces, generously provided in multiple flavors, were excellent and topped off the meal. I left happy and glad I came. It was my pleasure. Chick-Fil-A: never a letdown!
Now, in case you missed it, let me translate the positive First Impressions experience at Chick-Fil-A in language that applies at church. Fully staffed. Service oriented. Need sensitive. Great generosity. Smiling faces. Amazing training. Proactive engagements. Appropriate signage. Modern environment. Pleasant décor. Child services. Tech savvy. Incentivized return. Guest registration. Personalized attention. Consistent guest experiences. Customer loyalty. Great food. Added value.
The list could go on but I am out of room! I hope you find these ideas appealing to your church guest service taste buds. Add your comments below.