What We're Thinking

August 11, 2019

Frank Ahrens

BGR Public Relations

Media Relations Lessons: Be More Like Chick-fil-A

Originally published in PR News


By Frank Ahrens, BGR

If PR pros want better results in media relations–getting reporters to respond to our pitches, show up at our press briefings, interview our executives–maybe we should be more like Chick-fil-A.

This idea may chafe some communicators. As part of their philanthropy, the brand’s owners contribute to groups whose policies some see as divisive. Still, Chick-fil-A offers many lessons in relationship building and maintenance, which are the heart of media relations. Allow me to beg your indulgence.

Anyone who’s been to a Chick-fil-A cannot fail to notice one thing, aside from the delicious waffle fries: the consistently and relentlessly cheerful crew. Chick-fil-A employees: 1) make eye contact, 2) smile, 3) speak enthusiastically and 4) don’t just mumble “thank you,” or offer a disinterested grunt after you pay. They say, “My pleasure.” These four behaviors are part of an extensive employee training regime known as Core 4.
Customer Care of Biblical Proportions

In addition, there’s a training piece that Chick-fil-A calls “Second-Mile Service.” As you may know, the company is Christian-owned. The training relates a story from the “Gospel of Matthew,” where disciples are urged to walk a second mile. The application for Chick-fil-A employees is they’re asked to provide customer service beyond what is expected–and what other fast-food restaurants offer. Hold doors for customers, carry large loads to their cars, bring them free refills.

Does this work?

Data says it does. 2018 marked the third straight year Chick-fil-A topped its customer satisfaction index, according to QSR Magazine, the trade publication of the quick-service industry.

Another report in QSR Magazine showed Chick-fil-A franchises earn more per restaurant than McDonalds, Starbucks and Subway combined.

Chick-fil-A has the strongest fast-food brand personality, ranking highest in three of five brand personality dimensions (sincerity, excitement and competence), according to a Zion & Zion study released May 29, 2019. It ranked second in a fourth personality dimension (sophistication). The study looked at the 26 largest fast-food brands, surveying 4,400 adults and using results from 3,200 who were familiar with the restaurants they were asked about.

Read full article: https://www.prnewsonline.com/chick-fil-A

Tagged: Media, Media Relations,

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