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What Can Small Churches Learn From Big Chicken?

Meredith Mahon Morris September 8, 2015

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What can small churches learn from big chicken? They could learn a lot if they’d listen.

Chicken is big business. Approximately 8.6 billion chickens were processed in 2013 alone and plenty of competitors are after a piece of the market. 

A lot of people cook good chicken, but few sell it as well as Chick-Fil-A. They’ve built their company on servant leadership. They train employees to use simple tools to help them connect with customers and create the best experience.

Chick-Fil-A makes their mark in the chicken business with good food and great customer service delivered by a well-trained staff. The company spends as much as two weeks training each cashier. That’s a lot of time spent teaching someone to push a few buttons on a register.

But, Chick-Fil-A knows that the people at the register don’t just push buttons they reach people, so the company trains all employees on how to treat others well. Here are a few of the things the company covers in their training and expect their team members to do with every single customer.

The Core Four

Create Eye Contact. Be the first to establish eye contact. This lets your guests know that you are ready and willing to begin serving them.

Share a Smile. Smiling faces are more welcoming than scowls or blank stares.  Smiles let people know you’re glad to see them.

Speak with an Enthusiastic Tone. Tone makes a difference. People pay attention to how we say things. Positive tones transmit positive emotions and make our days better.

Stay Connected. Make small talk. Ask questions. Let the guests you are serving know that they are your priority.

The L.A.S.T. Model

Chick-fil-a teaches their employees to use the L.A.S.T. model when dealing with customer complaints.

Listen—Use active listening skills and let the customer share their problem with you.

Apologize— Take responsibility if you’ve made a mistake. If you’ve done nothing wrong, you can still say something like, “I’m sorry you had to go through that” or “I’m sorry that made you feel that way.”

Solve— Fix the problem. If the nuggets are cold, get them hot nuggets. If the bathroom is dirty, clean it. Solving problems communicates care and concern for others. But make sure to do this “after” you’ve listened and apologized regarding their concerns.

Thank—Thank them for bringing the concern to your attention. They could have just left mad, but they gave you an opportunity to make things right and serve them better.

We are dedicated to helping churches serve others well. We think that if doing these things can help chicken taste better they can also make your church better.

Here are some ways you can incorporate these models into your ministry.

  1. Don’t just hand someone a stack of bulletins and make them a greeter. Train people to greet others and make them feel welcome. Teach your people to make eye contact and smile. Teach them the art of non-awkward small talk.
  2. When a someone visits your church, they are your guest. Treat them well. You have the responsibility to approach them because it’s your house, not theirs.
  3. Listen to people. We can get so carried away teaching and preaching that we forget to sit and listen to the people who fill our churches. Listening, like teaching, is a skill that helps us connect with people so that we can better identify with and connect with them.
  4. Don’t ignore complaints. Pastors and church leaders hear complaints as much (if not more) as anyone else. We all need to best equipped to handle them. Think of each complaint not as a nuisance, but as an opportunity to serve others better.
  5. Solve problems. We can’t fix everything, but we should do what we can do. Our churches should be clean, our children should be safe and our parking lot shouldn’t be dangerous. Don’t put off fixing things until tomorrow that can be fixed today.

What are some other simple ways your church can serve others?

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