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Thoughts For Thursday: Great Customer Service

May 5, 2011 · 79 comments

in Work

In the past, I have complained about the poor customer service I received a Walgreen’s and at Kroger.  Now, I would like to share my experience with a business that I have consistently received great customer service:  Arby’s.

Ok, so many of you out there may not have ever stepped foot into an Arby’s restaurant.  I didn’t used to be a fan myself.  However, I have become so enamored with the customer service that I find I am more willing to eat there than I used to be.

Why I Love Arby’s

When I walk in the door, the employees greet me.  (No, I don’t go there so frequently that they know me by name…)  When I order, the cashier gets the order right the first time and the workers are always very polite.  Oh, and the employees I have come across don’t mumble and act like they hate being their job either, which is a plus.  In addition, someone usually comes by and makes sure the food is good, and offers to refill your drink.  Several times, someone has come by to clear away any trash too.  All of this service from a fast-food restaurant!

Arby’s (at least where I live) has a little bell hanging by the door that you can ring if you felt the service is good.  I always make sure I ring the bell on my way out and say thank you, because the employees seem to really take pride in their job and work hard to make your dining experience pleasant.  I have no idea if the bell is a motivating factor for the workers or not, but I think it is a great idea. Who doesn’t want the occasional reminder that they are doing a good job?

All Businesses Need Something That Gives Them A Competitive Advantage

My experience at Arby’s is a reminder of how absolutely important customer service is.  Here is a fast-food restaurant that is trying to make the patrons feel like they are actually dining at a ‘fancier’ establishment.  Arby’s example is something that businesses everywhere should follow.   If a business really wants to succeed, it needs to find something that will differentiate it from all the rest. It can be great customer service, impeccable bathrooms, nice atmosphere, whatever, but something should make it stand out in a positive way.  In addition, the ‘Arby’s System’ provides a mechanism for immediate feedback:   the customer service bell.  The corporation obviously recognizes that employees appreciate positive reinforcement, and they have found a simple way to provide it with the bell.

Have you ever eaten at Arby’s and had a similar experience?  Have you had any great customer service somewhere lately?  If you own a business, what differentiates you from the competition?

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Centavos May 5, 2011 at 7:11 am

Good customer service makes all the difference. There is a local liquor store that I go out of my way to patronize, only because the owner takes the time to personally thank all customers for shopping there.


Kris May 5, 2011 at 9:31 am

101- Sure you don’t patronize the store just because it serves liquor? 🙂


MoneyCone May 5, 2011 at 11:49 am

Hehe! You have a point there Kris!


Nicole May 5, 2011 at 7:49 am

Have not been to an Arby’s in decades…

One thing I enjoy about living in this part of the country is that everybody seems to give good customer services. It is the exact opposite of Boston.


Kris May 5, 2011 at 9:32 am

It is the exact opposite of where I live too. Oh, and when we drove down to Florida, we stopped at a Burger King for breakfast and none of us could understand the mumblings of the cashier at all. I tried so hard not to laugh. It was absolute laziness on her part, it obviously took a lot to get her to work everyday as she seemed to totally not care about her job.


Wealth Artisan May 5, 2011 at 8:32 am

I’m happily surprised to hear that you received such great service from a fast-food restaurant. When my wife and I go out for dinner, even to a fast food place, if the service is bad, we usually don’t go back. It really is amazing how many service-oriented businesses forget to make quality customer service a priority.
Glad you had a good Arby’s experience! Wow, I’m suddenly craving a roast beef sandwich!


Kris May 5, 2011 at 9:33 am

Timothy, you are so right. I have never understood how service-based industries could treat people so bad sometimes.

I still think back to a Taco Bell my husband and I stopped at in Ohio about 19 years ago. The manager seemed to care so much and kept checking to make sure we were happy. It obviously made an impression as I still think back to it fondly all these years later.

Go have that sandwich now!


Husband of Everyday Tips May 5, 2011 at 8:45 am

I have gone to the same oil change place for 20 years. Amazingly, a lot of the same guys still work there. They truly love cars and will mention if they see something on the car that needs work (regardless of whether it’s something they offer as a service or not). One time the guy warned me about an issue with my head gasket – very expensive if not caught timely.

At the end of oil change, they always give a Tootsie Pop with the receipt. Not a big deal, but I always had something to give to one of the kids when I got home.


Kris May 5, 2011 at 9:35 am

You gotta trust your oil change people, that is for sure. I deviated from where I usually go once and they didn’t put the lid back right on something and caused huge problems.


Money Reasons May 5, 2011 at 11:58 am

I’m going to have to go inside of our local Arby’s. I usually go through the drive-thru, so I don’t know if they provide great customer service or not.

I wonder if all Arby’s are like that or just the owner of that Arby’s created such policies and rules. Very clever of the owner if that is the case!


Everyday Tips May 6, 2011 at 10:53 am

I have been to several Arby’s near where I live and they all had great customer service. (And bells!)


Squirrelers May 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Good customer service can definitely make a difference. I notice.

As for Arby’s, I haven’t been to one in a few years. They seem to be less prominent now, with many other chains out there nationwide compared to the past. Arby’s seemed to be popular 20 years ago, and I did like a few sandwiches there.

I’ll never forget going there one time with my dad, this other adult, and his two kids around my age (both brothers). I was about 8 or 9. I had previously been to Arby’s a few times with my parents and ordered an Arby “Junior” sandwich. Apparently, that was the smaller version of the Arby’s roast beef sandwich. That particluar day, I was hungry so I ordered an “Arby Senior” sandwich. Well, apparently the small sandwich is a junior but the larger sandwich is just the roast beef sandwich. There was no “Senior” sandwich. The guy at the counter totally laughed, which egged on the other boys with us. I was totally embarrassed a little boy, and thought the service was bad for that reason! 🙂

I still clearly remember the whole thing decades later. Didn’t bother me enough to stop me from going back quite a few times as a teenager. The beef and cheddar with potato cake was my choice 🙂


Everyday Tips May 6, 2011 at 10:55 am

Just had me a beef and cheddar the other day with potato cakes. Although I think they were loaded potato cakes, which I did not enjoy as much.

I love the ‘senior’ sandwich story. Adults really need to learn not to laugh at things like that. As you know, it can really leave an imprint. I bet the ‘new’ Arbys would have treated you much better!


First Gen American May 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm

My real question is what do you order there? The last time I ate there, I got an overcooked rubbery roast beef sandwich. It tasted bad and I’ve never been back since. I noticed they are revamping their menu, so maybe the quality is better again.

I definitely pay more for good service. I do it with my garden store, my liquor store, my chocolatier. I shop at chains too but I love my little friendly mom and pop places.


Everyday Tips May 6, 2011 at 10:56 am

First Gen, I ordered the Beef and Cheddar. (I don’t know why, but I love that fake cheese.) Usually I order the Ham and cheese sandwich though.

They do have good salads too.

I would love to go to mom and pop places more often, if only they existed where I live.


MoneyCone May 5, 2011 at 1:07 pm

When I think of poor customer service I always think about DMV! Maybe the next time I have to visit the DMV, I should go to Arby’s afterwards!


Everyday Tips May 6, 2011 at 10:57 am

MoneyCone, yes, you need to balance poor customer service with great customer service. It would be a big mistake to go visit the Burger King mumbler I came across right after getting your drivers license renewed.

I would love to hear if you do go to an Arby’s sometime how the service was.


krantcents May 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm

If you ever shopped in Nordstrom’s, you experienced great customer service. Good customer service distinguishes you from your competition. If I were buying something that Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s or Nordstrom’s carried, I would only go to Nordstrom’s. Basically, they are very customer oriented, no task too great to satisfy a customer.


Everyday Tips May 6, 2011 at 10:59 am

Krantcents, I have only made a purchase at Nordstrom’s once, and the service was really good. However, I can’t stomach the prices. I did find something on a really good sale and they did actually have the size my daughter wears which was great. However, I shopped there for myself and the prices scared me to death.


LIndy Mint May 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm

The bell is a great idea. Having worked in sales, I’ve heard many strategies about ringing a bell when a transaction is made to boost morale. It’s a simple thing, but it works.

In-N-Out Burger is the same way, no matter which one you go into. The employees are always fresh-faced happy teenagers who really seem like they enjoy their jobs. It makes such a difference in customer experience. It goes to show, that no matter what you business you run, if you do it well and with pride, you’ll succeed.


Everyday Tips May 6, 2011 at 11:00 am

Lindy- I have never been to an In-N-Out Burger before, but next time I see one, I am going to stop in.

It is curious as to why some places can create happy employees and others cannot. Maybe they just don’t care enough?


Dana May 6, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Haven’t been to an Arby’s in years. Surprisingly our local McDonalds gives great customer service. We always go on the same day at the same time every week so we know the crew who is on at that time and they know our order by heart. It really messes them up when one of the kids decides to try something different! LOL!


Kris May 6, 2011 at 10:50 pm

That’s funny. Isn’t it interesting how the good service at an inexpensive restaurant dictates when you go there? It just goes to show how good service may be more the exception than the norm.


Lisa @ Cents To SAve May 7, 2011 at 9:00 am

I have not been to an ARBYS in several years. But on the subject of Customer Service, I have seen some businesses that have put forth an effort to do better. For instance, Office Depot has a greeter at the door, and the other employees are kind and ask if they can help too. I noticed this at TARGET as well. The employees were eager to help and seemed genuine. I like it. It does leave me wanting to come back and shop.


Jackie May 7, 2011 at 10:34 pm

I think customer service is an important factor for any business. I also think the attitude of the workers adds a lot to the environment of the store or restaurant. If the employees have a sour attitude and complain a lot it effects the overall environment of the establishment vs a place where the employees seem happy and have postive outlooks and attitudes.


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