Over 22 years ago, Greg and Jan, who now own 12 McDonald’s restaurants in the Yakima, Washington valley with over 600 employees, graduated from Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab (LDL). Prominently displayed in all 12 of their restaurants is a plaque with a picture of the couple. The message below the picture says:
This restaurant is proudly owned and operated by Greg and Jan Luring. If our quality of service or cleanliness does not meet your expectations, please let us know.
We Love to See you Smile!
(with their phone numbers & email addresses)
I know from personal experience that they both keep their cell phones turned on. I’ve heard Greg answer his phone with his cheerful greeting, “This is Greg,” when he’s in states far, far away.
Maybe that’s why Greg and Jan continue to have one of the most successful McDonald’s franchises in America – because they’re willing to personally ask this question – How can we better serve all of our customers? I don’t recall ever seeing this kind of a plaque in any McDonald’s, or any other restaurant for that matter. I see signs that say, “Call this 800 number.” I wonder if Greg and Jan’s team offer friendlier, more courteous service, knowing that the plaques are prominently displayed for all to see. I wonder if their 600+ employees have more respect for the owners and therefore are more willing to provide better service, knowing that the owners are willing to take the heat in case something goes wrong, knowing that they’re not the only one who has to hear from any unsatisfied, unhappy customer.
The plaque serves as a visual reminder of the Luring’s commitment to satisfying their customers, both for the customers and their employees, letting them know that “we will do whatever it takes to take care of every customer every day.”
We live today in an increasingly commoditized world. There are those who bemoan this reality. This is why the “price”, in terms of hours of labor required to buy anything you can think of, from diamonds to tacks, continues to fall. How could this be seen as anything but good? At former times, it took a weeks’ labor to buy a pair of shoes. Today it may require as little as an hour, and certainly never more than a days’ labor. And so this competition is a good thing, and yet, if you are to remain competitive as a provider, you must find a way to distinguish yourself in the minds of your customers as unique and distinctive. Your path to distinctive advantage is creating a superior customer service experience. And the good news is that it doesn’t have to cost anything! It does require behaviors which go beyond selfish self-interest – I, me, my. The more you and your associates learn to provide caring service, the higher quality of life we all enjoy! There’s no greater joy than caring for others, caring for customers. It’s a win-win-win.