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Moving Away From Invisible

The next excerpt is from a transcript of Clay Clark, US Small Business Administration Entrepreneur of the Year, and Arthur Greeno, two-store Chik-fil-A owner on, one of the best business schools in Florida.

Clay Clark:      There’s a place in Oklahoma. Have you heard about the Coca Cola, it’s the Pop Palace or something?

Arthur Greeno:          Yes.

Clay Clark:      What’s that called?

Arthur Greeno:          Pops.

Clay Clark:      Pops. This place is in the middle of nowhere, right?

Arthur Greeno:          Yeah.

Clay Clark:      Do you know what city it’s in?

Arthur Greeno:          Arcadia, I think.

Clay Clark:      Arcadia, Oklahoma?

Arthur Greeno:          Yeah.

Clay Clark:      That’s the birthplace of tourism. People travel there for the weather usually, right?

Arthur Greeno:          When they’re running from a tornado.

Clay Clark:      Arcadia though. There’s a place called Pops and my understanding is they have every kind of pop almost in history.

Arthur Greeno:          They do. It’s amazing.

Clay Clark:      This place is in the middle of nowhere and then they have a huge, what, pop can out in front or a huge …

Arthur Greeno:          It’s a neon pop bottle. Actually it’s not neon. It’s like a reflective, metallic. It’s really neat.

Clay Clark:      It’s in the middle of Arcadia and is that place pretty full? Do people go there a lot?

Arthur Greeno:          It’s a truck stop, so it’s a good place to stop because there’s nowhere around, but they literally, it’s all glass walls so they put all these pop bottles on the wall so that when the sun comes shining through it makes these cool colors inside.

They have, you can get a turkey dinner pop bottle there. You can get roast beef sandwich. They have the weirdest drinks there.

Clay Clark:      You can get a roast beef flavored drink?

Arthur Greeno:          You can.

Clay Clark:      Oh sick.

Arthur Greeno:          Let me tell you how it tastes, it taste like you would think.

Clay Clark:      They have the old brands that are no longer around.

Arthur Greeno:          They do.

Clay Clark:      They have Tab.

Arthur Greeno:          Yup. Jolt cola.

Clay Clark:      Jolt cola. They’ve got that. It’s all there. The thing is they’re a purple cow.

Arthur Greeno:          Exactly. People go around and talk about it.

Clay Clark:      Yeah. Now in my town I grew up in, I want to give you an example of what not to do and if you live in Darwin, Minnesota and you probably don’t, because we don’t have internet out there right now, but if you’re in Darwin, Minnesota, it’s a population of like 227 people or something bizarre like that. They decided to get together and build the world’s largest ball of twine.

The problem is that nobody wants to see it and so they built like a big old monument around it. If you Google it, it’s amazing.

When you have a purple cow, you have to be careful though, because if you build the world’s largest ball of twine and you don’t have any product to sell. What are you going to sell, twine?

They never really thought it through. They’re like, “We build the world’s largest ball of twine and then …” they didn’t think of that part.

Pops though, they sell pop.

Arthur Greeno:          Right.

Clay Clark:      It’s a truck stop, they’re trying to attract other truckers. It makes sense.

Arthur Greeno:          Yup.

Clay Clark:      Chick-fil-A was eat more chicken to basically … The cow’s saying “Hey, don’t eat me, eat more chicken,” so it’s a way to push the brand. We have to think through that a little bit.

Arthur Greeno:          Yeah.

Clay Clark:      Now the next purple cow that Chick-fil-A has and there’s a lot of purple cows you have, but the one I think of the most is you have this amazing customer service going on there. You have amazing customer service.

Literally my wife, who’s a beautiful lady, she’s very, very hot and honey, if you’re watching, you’re hot.

Anyway, my wife, she doesn’t like to go to the restroom at other places. She will seriously go, “Can we go to Chick-fil-A?” because she likes the restroom.

Arthur Greeno:          Right.

Clay Clark:      She has agreed to go to Chick-fil-A because we have five kids and when you take the kids, you have balloons, you’ve got slides in there. You have this whole … It’s awesome. Talk to me about the customer service? What do you do to take customer service to the next level there? Is it intentional?

Arthur Greeno:          It absolutely is intentional and when Chick-fil-A talks about customer service it’s that they want to treat all of our guests with honor, dignity and respect. We look for opportunities to do that. It’s not limited to what Chick-fil-A has said.

For example, if you get, in Oklahoma especially, if you get a cloud-burst, my employees will go grab umbrellas to walk people out to their car because they didn’t walk in expecting it to be raining, so mom has two kids. How is she going to get outside?

We walk them out there. Of course, my employees get soaked, but that’s OK.

Clay Clark:      If I’m kind of cynical, let’s just say that I heard you just say this about customer service, but I own a business. A lot of companies you walk right in and they have a sign that says integrity. You know, I’m just making up the name of a company, but it’s Johnny’s Motors.

Arthur Greeno:          Right.

Clay Clark:      Integrity or Johnny’s Motors, the best customer service in town. You go in there and Johnny’s got a ton of oil on his fingers and the bathroom looks like it might have exploded three or four years ago. Smells like funk. The vending machine’s empty and there’s an overall lack of quality in the air.

How does Chick-fil-A take this idea because you say you want to treat every customer with what?

Arthur Greeno:          Honor, dignity and respect.

Clay Clark:      OK, so how do you actually put that into action? How come Chick-fil-A actually has it happen where other companies just say it and it doesn’t happen?

Arthur Greeno:          Well, I think a lot of people don’t see the investment in it.

Clay Clark:      OK.

Arthur Greeno:          If you invest in your people and you invest in the experience for your guests, more guests are going to come in. I think a lot of times people try to save their way to success, so they don’t want to spend the extra money to clean the bathroom or get the soap that’s going to …

Or little nail brush. They don’t want to pay that because they’re worried about the profits. You know, what they don’t realize is is all the other compounding effect that you’re going to end up losing.



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