There are a dozen different fast food chains in the world that focus heavily on chicken as their core menu item, but only one Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A has amassed a loyal, loving customer base that has helped them become the most profitable quick service restaurant per location, and the third largest restaurant chain in the US.
They have grown to more than $12 billion in annual revenue without any outside investment (to this day, Chick-fil-A is a family-owned business). So how did they do it? Was it their fried chicken recipe, fun waffle fries, or openly Christian values? For their customer base, all of that likely helped, but no. The key to Chick-fil-A's success lies in their second mile service strategy.
Would You Like A Second Mile?
The term "Second Mile" service comes from a quote in Christian scripture, Matthew 5:41, where Jesus instructs his disciples “and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” At surface value, that seems like a generally good idea, but it has a stronger punch to it when you consider the cultural significance of the day.
At that time in history, Roman rule required that soldiers walk hundreds of miles from post to post, carrying up to 100 pounds of weapons, equipment, and armor. To expedite travel, and keep soldiers from becoming completely exhausted, Rome decreed that any soldier could command any bystander to carry a soldier's pack for them, for 1 mile's walk.
Walking 1 mile was an exhausting, demanding job that would have been hard to swallow for anyone under Roman rule, but they would have done it (or risk imprisonment and injury or death). Still, to voluntarily serve by walking another mile? That seemed insane advice! And yet, there it is and here we are.
The Power of Above and Beyond
Chick-fil-A took second mile service to heart early on in their customer service training, explaining to employees that the "first mile" of customer service is what is required, and expected, everywhere. For them these are things like smiling, taking a correct order, and keeping the dining area clean and free of debris. There is nothing special about that work, while it is important and needs to get done.
Second mile service, however, goes above and beyond expectation. For Chick-fil-A, that means proactively asking customers at their table if they would like to "refresh their beverage" or offering to carry a large order out to a busy mom's car. The point isn't the specific task, it's the fact that second mile service is above and beyond what anyone could expect to receive.
So, how can you offer your audience, your customers, second mile service? What can you do for your customers that is above and beyond what they would ever expect, where you can win their loyalty and support?
Remember, you do have to get the "first mile" right with accurate, helpful content, but that's just the start. How can you wow someone today, and win their love and loyalty so they come back to read your content, share your content, and purchase your products, again and again?