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Go ahead and pick up an 8-count chicken nugget meal with a sweet tea, because this episode is going to make you hungry. We talk about Chick-Fil-A’s extreme ability to go the extra mile, try a new service idea, and make customers happy.
We dig into how we can apply Chick-Fil-A’s work flows and ideologies to the construction industry to make our industry a better place to work and to create value in the exchange.
We look into the idea of switching mindsets from providing a service to providing a product. We talk about innovation and its root in the past and how an appreciation of the past helps us move forward.
If you have anything we missed, feel free to text us! - 478-221-7009
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Tyler: Welcome to the Construction Brothers Podcast. I'm your host, Tyler Campbell, and with me like he is every week: My brother, Eddie Campbell.
Eddie: What's up, Tyler?
Tyler: Not much, Eddie. Well, this week: “My pleasure.”
Eddie: Tyler, what you drinking over there today, man?
Tyler: This is a Nitro Cold Brew from Starbucks, and it's got enough caffeine in it to kill a small cow.
Eddie: It was like 300 and something milligrams, it's a lot.
Tyler: So much. I was just looking at the menu and I was like, give me one of those.
Eddie: I was wondering why the intro went so fast today.
Tyler: My brain, like, yeah. It's great. I'm seeing sounds. Anyway. Yeah, no, this thing is amazing, if you haven't gotten one. Nitro Cold Brew with sweet cream. You're drinking a mighty fine Blackbird coffee over there.
Eddie: Yes I am, shoutout to Blackbird Coffee of Milledgeville. But yeah, this is a nice little Friday morning treat.
Tyler: That’s our good old local coffee shop around here. So I don't know. This is like coffee with the bros 2.0, something like that. I didn't really intend for this to become a series, but it's looking like it's starting to become a series. So here we go. Coffee with the bros.
Eddie: Well, we have coffee and we talk, so what are we talking about today?
Tyler: We're talking about the words “my pleasure,” and what they mean for us in the construction industry.
Eddie: What they mean for us in the South.
Tyler: Yeah, that, too. So if you live in the South, if we say “my pleasure,” you know exactly what we're talking about, we're talking about Chick-fil-A. And if you don't know what Chick-fil-A is, shame upon you.
Eddie: We try not to associate with people like that. If you are people like that, then we would love nothing better than to help you understand.
Tyler: Leave a rating on your way out the door. Let's just put it that way. No, we're just kidding. But seriously.
Eddie: Don't really do that. We need you, all four of you.
Tyler: So yeah, we're talking about Chick-fil-A. So every time you go to Chick-fil-A and you say, “Thank you,” “My pleasure.” That's what you get in response every single time.
Eddie: That's a game, too. Have you ever played the game? I mean just how many times you can be like, “Hey, thanks. Oh, thanks. Thank you. Thanks.” “My pleasure. My pleasure. My pleasure.” And then the countenance falls and they're kind of like, you're doing the thing. I know you're doing the thing.
Tyler: Our friend Hobby, I remember going through the drive through with him and trying to play the game. He was like, “Mhm.” He just didn't even say anything, just like, “Mm.” Well, so Eddie, I don't know. Let's dive into this a little bit. And so I feel like we know somebody worked at Chick-fil-A when they say “my pleasure,” it's like ingrained in them while they work there. But at their core they're known for amazing customer service.
Eddie: Oh, absolutely. I like when I'm out at other places that I feel like now the ripple has happened in that place.
Tyler: You go to Zaxby’s and they say “my pleasure.”
Eddie: And I mean, in town it's like I found out that the person that was running the Zaxby’s now, like he used to work at Chick-fil-A. And we're like, Hey, we're getting an upgrade. And I love Zax. But I mean, the service-oriented business model that Chick-fil-A has set up is something like, you can't miss it.
Tyler: Well, I feel like there's something that people do actually hate. And Eddie, I wonder if you could chime in here, ‘cause you had mentioned something the other day.
Eddie: Yeah. I have to admit that it’s actually kind of something that we cause. We have a large family and we go—
Tyler: How large is it?
Eddie: Well, we have six children. And when we go through the drive through, it's kind of like a log jam. We go into the drive through and we are definitely a, what you might call, longer and more complex order. And so, it's the kind of family you want to like, stay out of the drive through. Like, why don't you go inside? But we can't now. So you got our family, your family, and then you got Garrett, right? Which is like three different levels. It's like a serious complexity, lots of food. And then you've got, you know, pretty average order probably. And then you've got the college student special, like give me the number one and like nine sauces or something. So when we get in front of the other families that don't have the six kids in there, I start getting to feel bad. ‘Cause I know I’m backing the line up. And Garret, Intern Garrett, I don't really care all that much about him, but I do care about families like yours. (Laughs)
Tyler: (laughs) Geez.
Eddie: Like, there is a sadistic side of me that's kind of like, yeah, whatever, sit back there. But—
Tyler: I did it one day. You'll do it, too.
Eddie: Yeah. Just live with it. But I noticed the other day, in line, that Chick-fil-A has had another moment of brilliance, and this all plays in with their service. These guys are always thinking and that's why I'm impressed by their business model. And that's what I feel like is relevant to construction is like, they are always thinking. This was the most simple thing that they changed, but they do this all the time and you look and you go, “Huh. Yeah. That does make a ton of sense.” But you get so locked in. We're in line, I'm waiting on the order, and I realize: They've got these cones now, next to the window that you go pick your food up at, where they're handing food out of the window to employees and the employees are now carrying it down the line and just giving it to you as you come through. And that on top of some of the other things, like taking your money right when you order via a tablet on the other side of the building—
Tyler: You don't jump out of line.
Eddie: Yeah. You're locked in and paid for, and you're also, you feel like you've been seen. Which is another thing that, just that wait to having been served, like the cutting that down, having people just walk down the line, I thought, “Well, this is brilliant.” Because Garrett’s sitting three cars behind me, dying a slow death as he waits for my family to get their dinner, and they can just walk down there with the number one and be like, “Here you go. See you man. Have a great day. My pleasure.” And I just thought, it is the simple things like that, that they have done a thousand times over.
Tyler: I love the thought of you being seen, because even when you pull into the drive through, you're not going up to one of those little kiosks with the microphone where you’re hearing (mumbles). Like, you can't hear anything that they're saying, you know what I mean? Like you're going there, you're being seen, they're actually people walking the line and with little tablets taking your order, “How are you doing today? Having a good day, it's beautiful outside.” You know, just kind of small talk, that sort of thing. But again, yeah, it just helps you feel seen, you know, and they really have taken the time to just get that customer experience just nailed, and it shows. Because if you go up there at lunch, holy cow, like the line is out to the road every single day at lunch, or even at dinner most nights, too. It's out to the road.
Eddie: You talk about the evolution of their drive through—they've gone from a single car drive through that used to sometimes get into the road, to that two-car drive through that's in the road and people are fine with it. People are totally okay with sitting there for it.
Tyler: So we went there last night. And you know, Sam was just like, “I'm not cooking tonight,” and I'm like, yes, ma'am, we're going to Chick-fil-A. We're talking about it tomorrow anyway. So you know, I'm sitting there, and I see somebody almost get in a wreck trying to get in that dang line. It's a hazard. But like, man, it's crazy how people just attach themselves to that great customer service—and also on top of that, the food is good, too.
Eddie: Great product.
Tyler: Great product. It's just good all the way through. Now, flip side of this: Popeye's. Let's talk about them for just a moment. I don't want to throw too much shade, but they just opened a Popeye's here in town. And what has been happening? Have you seen what's been going on over there?
Eddie: Yeah. The place where they put the Popeye's in has an extra lot attached to it. Which means that the drive through can actually kind of extend around in this long quarter of a mile sea.
Tyler: It's a really long line.
Eddie: And it is backed up, and people are sitting there for half an hour or better from what I understand.
Tyler: Yeah, easily. And so basically they've got the single window that's dishing out food, and they don't care. Like they have people wrapped around the building. And I think they had a tent at one point, but I think that gave up on it. They had a tent and they were kind of handing out food, doing the Chick-fil-A thing, but then it went away. So it was kind of a flash in the pan, “We'll do this for a time, but we're not really gonna do that long term.” So I feel like this has amazing capacity to teach us something in the construction industry.
Eddie: Oh yeah. I peered over this fence nonstop as a business owner and as somebody in the construction world—which, I mean, we gotta be honest, people. We need some efficiency.
Tyler: Not even efficiency. We need better customer service. We need a lot of things, I think.
Eddie: We need to put our thinking caps on and solve the small problems, and not be afraid to do it different. ‘Cause that's one thing that— All of the people are doing the thing. Have the drive through window, have the little box that talks to you outside, have, the single-line drive up. And then all of a sudden they're like, maybe it doesn't have to go that way. And they’re brave enough to try something different. And this costs them money. You know, they had to shut down their store for weeks, sacrificing revenue to put that drive through in. But they were smart enough to do the ROI and realize, “Nah, it's fine. It's worth it.” They bit the bullet, did the thing, and then gained the efficiency and then they'll continue to reap that reward for years to come. In a lot of ways, they're fearless about the way they innovate. Now, they're a solid company. They're not making decisions willy nilly, they're not jerking the steering wheel back and forth, but they are making decisions and moving forward on things. And we can learn from that.
Tyler: Well, it's interesting too, because even, you know, looking at their design process for a lot of this stuff too—they're going to mock up a lot of these little details, these little drive throughs at corporate. And they're going to figure out some of these issues that happen in the drive through line. So they had to send people through, test this stuff out before they started saying, “Yeah, we'll let other Chick-fil-A's do it, too.”
So they have this area where they're going to test something, they're going to figure out its quirks, figure out if it's even worth pursuing and then start stamping that out at scale. And it’s that R & D budget, they spend so much on that. My buddy Nathan—which is hilarious, because the joke is like, if you have a Biblical name, like you work at Chick-fil-A. That's just, that's a prerequisite to actually working there.
Eddie: Was Nathan homeschooled?
Tyler: Oh no, he actually was. (Both laugh) It was hilarious. So my name is Tyler, which isn't a biblical name, and I was homeschooled so I didn't get the job over at Chick-fil-A. It didn't work out for me. Anyway, but he actually got asked by corporate to go up and work on their food prep line and, you know, try out some new things and test and, you know, see how it worked from his perspective as somebody cooking. It goes all the way through the building. It's not just the drive through line. It's not just what you see up front when you walk into the building, like we're not really doing right now, but you know what I mean? Like when you go into the building, it permeates the entire culture there to innovate and get a little bit better every single day. And it's just, man, it was so much to learn.
Eddie: What would happen to our industry if we started really transforming the way that we think and framing construction as more of a product? This is a product that people consume, and we start thinking about it that way. And it doesn't stop with just like, I think, I think some marketing people are thinking about it this way and maybe the higher end of business in the construction world. They are aware of this, but when does it push down to where people are actually made aware of this? Like when do we kind of open everything up, show people, yeah, you're not just laying one brick, you're building a cathedral here. This is the full picture. This is what we're trying to do. ‘Cause we gotta be honest, when you’re working on a cool project, you want to know what part you have in that and how you're trying to deliver it and why the thing matters. Like you getting into the details of something that has to look really nice might not bother you as bad if you later are able to go and sit on that ride in Disney and look at the little minute detail of every little thing that people pass in line because they paid attention to it. Like that doesn't bother you because you were a part of something that's really cool. You were a part of the customer's experience and a part of their mindset, and you kind of get in their head and you relate to them. And then you deliver as a result of that.
Tyler: I think a step in that is getting in the customer's head. So sit down and talk to your customers. We've talked about this. I think Brian Kaplan mentioned this, you know, let's actually talk to our customers. How was your experience here? That's part of the Chick-fil-A process, right? That's part of any good UX design: Talking to your customers, understanding what they're going through. You know, let's have a sit down with somebody that just completed a project with us. And then from there, let's ask them questions. How did you feel at the end of the project? Did you feel like you were happy with it or did you feel kind of like “meh” about it? Okay, why did you feel “meh” about it? Dig in a little bit and you know, I feel like some of those answers will hurt.
Eddie: This feels like the feedback loop again.
Tyler: It is the feedback loop. We always go back to the feedback loop, right? So you have to create a feedback loop in this way, you know, talking to your customers, understanding their pain points and you know, just trying to figure out little ways that you can make things a little better for them. Is a weekly check-in something that'll help them or is that going to stress them out? So there is some testing that has to happen. Adam Savage from MythBusters, he quoted this, and I'm not sure who it is, but I heard him say one time, “The only difference between science and goofing around is writing it down.” So write down some of this stuff, create a spreadsheet, start listing out some of the issues that people are having, and then start trying to knock them down one by one. You just have to be intentional. Same with relationship building, right? Relationship building from a sales perspective, or even from a employee perspective, you know, building relationships with your people. Be intentional. That's the thing that I feel like Chick-fil-A, just like, man, they hit the nail on the head every single time. They just, they show that they're being intentional and that they've done their research and they know what makes a good experience. Now, are you going to have a good experience every time? No. You’re not.
Eddie: Yeah. I was just going to bring that up. I don’t have a good experience at Chick-fil-A every single time I go, and I could pick at them in certain realms. But there's a level of confidence, and there's a level of desire for their product, that keeps me coming back.
Tyler: That it’s a little bit okay if they get something wrong and don't throw the Polynesian sauce in there, like they do every freaking time for me. I want my Polynesian sauce, Chick-Fil-A.
Eddie: I mean, here you go with a family of eight, there's a lot of complexity of the order. And so it's easy to get it wrong. And we kinda like, we notice that every time, because I've got a kid going, “Daddy, I didn't get fries.” The thing is, more times than not—and I'm going to say the vast majority of the time—it's right. If I go to any other drive-thru, it doesn't work. I’ve gotta stop for 10 minutes in the parking lot and take inventory, because I have no trust in it. Chick-Fil-A, I drive off.
Tyler: Before the pandemic started, and this isn't really a thing right now, but— And Sam and I did this with Ellie, you know, we went into Chick-Fil-A, Sam ordered ahead, and they set up a table for us. We tell them how many kids we have, you know, we just have Ellie, and we walk in there. They had the high chair, they had the little sticky paper thing to keep their tables clean. And like they had crayons over set up and everything. It was amazing. And then we go sit down and they bring out our food and we just ordered on the app. It's so cool. Have you done that with the family yet?
Eddie: I have not done that, and that sounds like it would be right up our alley.
Tyler: Oh my gosh. Well, the mom's group that Sam's a part of, they talk about that nonstop. Because you imagine, you walk in with your kids, walk up to the counter, you're trying to order, little Timmy’s over there trying to, you know, blow something up. I don't know.
Eddie: More likely to lick the bottom of the trash can or something.
Tyler: That too. Yeah. You know, and it's chaos, but they realized that was a problem, and they went in and they tried to solve it. And they do it with a smile. It’s great.
Eddie: Well, and so you've created this word of mouth. That's working for you. You're building a rapport and relationships with people. You've got a general trust, and don't undersell that as a business person. Having a level of trust from your customer gives you a level of grace when you mess up. Hear that. Having a level of trust with your customers will give you a level of grace when you mess up. Not if you mess up, when you mess up. They figure, they expect, they think that you're right most of the time, that you give them quality things. They expect that quality from you. And so rather than coming in and them expecting you to mess up, throwing their hands immediately in the air and saying, “Ah, look, it happened. I knew it.” What they do is they mentally go, “Oh, well, no, generally these guys are quality.”
Tyler: They try to protect you.
Eddie: That's right. “They just kinda messed it up this time, but I'm sure next time it's going to be fine.” You have to produce quality to get that, but there's a lot of other things that come with it, like showing you care, showing you’re digging, showing that you're trying to get better. And looking over the fence like this, I mean, let's not lose this whole like, “Oh, Eddie and Tyler, they're going off on Chick-fil-A, Eddie and Tyler really like waffle fries.” We do like waffle fries.
Tyler: Don’t get us wrong. If Chick-Fil-A wants to sponsor us, like provide free waffle fries every time we record a podcast. We're there.
Eddie: Totally. Done. But Chick-Fil-A looked over the fence to form a lot of their hospitality practices, because Ritz-Carlton was somebody they borrowed the “My pleasure” thing from.
Tyler: I didn't realize they actually borrowed that from them.
Eddie: That is where that came from. So they actually went over the fence and went, “Huh, what is an amazing company doing in the realm of customer service and how might we emulate them?” And they looked over at hospitality and they went, “Who's better at hospitality than Ritz-Carlton?” And then they had the wherewithal to realize, you know, we're not all in the business of just flipping fried chicken. We're in the hospitality industry in a sense, like this is an experience. When people eat, this is like a thing. They sit down and they eat with each other and they talk and they hang out. Pre-pandemic. And so they start looking at that, and they go, “This is a hospitality thing.” And they start making all of the relationships kind of link together and they go, huh, you know, we could, we could do that thing, and we could make this a better experience for our customer. Look over the fence, y'all. Look over the fence at what other great companies are doing and learn from them.
Tyler: So who else can we pull from, aside from like Ritz or, you know, Chick-fil-A, but who else’s company has an amazing experience?
Eddie: For our company, in BIM, I like to look around at the large GCs of the world. Which some are doing well and some are not, but look at their processes for actual building, and then examine those processes for virtual building. Because to a certain extent, they're kind of a mirror. One process, the virtual process, will have this real process mirror it later. I'm not drawing names out of the hat and being like, oh, it's this company or that company. But there are some companies out there, general contractors in this world, design builders in this world, that are getting it together. And those practices are something that I think, if you're a subcontractor, look up the chain a little bit. Because there's a lot of money up there. And therefore there's R & D up there and there is marketing up there and there are dollars being spent, trying to figure out how to get an economic advantage over your competitor. Look at what they're doing. Look at what they're implementing. See what you need to get on with. You know, if your customers are adopting some certain thing, stick your head up above the water line and actually look. We get tunnel vision.
Tyler: Say “why?”
Eddie: We get tunnel vision, we're doing the thing, we got to produce.
Tyler: We're so guilty of that. You know, we're so guilty here of getting tunnel vision and not poking her head out of the water and going, “Hmm, why are they going that direction? Why, did they not come back to us to detail another project or something along those lines?” And there's a little bit of arrogance that we have to kind of smack ourselves in the face a little bit and say, hey, now don't get arrogant. Ask why, because I feel like it's a kind of a response for a lot of people to just go, “Oh, we know we provide the best service. We're amazing. We do amazing things.” Like, but do you? Do we?
Eddie: Well, how could you actually think that? I mean, how can you be honest with yourself and think that you're the best at everything? If you were the best at everything you’d have conquered the world by now.
Tyler: Even the best aren't satisfied with what they're doing. They're always getting better.
Eddie: Somebody is coming after you. Somebody is going to come and be better than that later. And there's always a new crop of people. I look at major league baseball right now, and see the starters that are throwing 96, 97, 98 miles an hour. And I think about, man, when I was like, in my twenties—
Tyler: The people throwing that were rock stars.
Eddie: Well they were closers. They did that for like an inning. They didn't come in and throw 96, 97 miles an hour for five or six innings. They threw that for like an inning. Now the closers—Hicks plays for St. Louis. He's throwing 105. Holy cow. But you wouldn't think, I mean, this is the human body. You’d think, you know, biomechanics would dictate that people can only throw so fast.
Tyler: Reminds me of Wild Thing from Major League.
Eddie: You know, Wild Thing from Major League was like busting 99 and like hit 100. And people were like, mind blown. And I literally, like, I think it was two days ago, I'm watching the Braves Marlins game, and the starter hit a hundred, like just on a average, up in the zone, fast ball. Here you go. It's remarkable to me that there's been that much travel. We can see that in other realms in sports, we can see that in realms of business, we can see that in art, we can see that in music. I mean, tell me that you don't look back at— I mean, I love some classic rock, you know, I love old books. I love things. But you realize like there are differences between what was created 10, 20, 30 years ago, a hundred years ago, and what we create now, there are distinct differences,
Tyler: But great artists steal, right? So if you're looking at music, you see how the progression happens. So Elvis is out, and then the Beatles are looking at Elvis like, “Aw, man, that's really cool. But I think that we could tweak it in our own way.” And then, you know, you've got guys like AC/DC looking at the Beatles or like, you know, it just kind of like, it starts to transition over time. And other artists are looking at each other, learning things and growing. So it's looking over the fence, you know, it's going and checking out your competition and seeing what's the same, what they're doing differently. What can we implement?
Eddie: You're not going to quit appreciating the things that were truly great about the things that past generations did. That's why those works stand as a testament to their artistry, to the craftsmanship, too. So you look back and you're like, that's amazing. We're not going to undersell that, that was an achievement. And then particularly like in construction, you look at like maybe the tools at hand for the Eiffel Tower and you realize what a feat it was. And you look at the structure and go, that's pretty amazing.. The way they did that, you look at, you look at ancient structures and go, how did they move that? You look at the things that they had in hand and the way they were able to do things. And you go, that really was a feat,
Tyler: The pyramids.
Eddie: Yeah. But then you also go, “Hmm. But things have changed. And I can move things that big easily now, and I know how we move them now. And so I'm going to take the things I learned from them, look over the fence, and then I'm going to make an application, I'm going to hold on and respect the things of yesteryear. And I'm going to look forward and innovate with the things of tomorrow.” So I don't lose the respect for the things we've had, and that keeps me from being guilty of being that young, that young mind, that just is like, innovate,, old stuff get out of my way, and like losing a respect for why we are where we are. But that also keeps me from being the curmudgeon that's looking back and seeing the golden age that I had come from and saying, you know, “good enough” and getting mad at the innovations and then stalling those out. Because what will happen is you will stay where you're at, and some competitor, somebody who is learning how to do a thing better, is going to go right by you. And it's like, I'm sorry, but things are moving quicker and quicker. That is one thing that technology has brought is innovations move quicker, it happens in a nanosecond. Now you're on top. Nope you're not, you're on top now. You're not. And if you have any doubts, like look at the phone industry, look at the computer industry. It's a breath. Like, “Oh, that's the coolest thing, nevermind.”
Tyler: It's funny because Garrett actually, going back to Intern Garrett, he actually bought a Macbook Air recently. So he bought this Macbook Air. He gets it in and he's all excited about it. It's like the newest, the greatest thing ever, he like really mulled over it. And then I swear to you the next day, the next day, Apple releases, “Hey, so we're releasing a new Macbook Air, and it's going to have this new chip set, and it's going to be amazing. It's going to be incredible.” I'm like, are you kidding me? Like, it's always advancing.
Eddie: You've done that though.
Tyler: Oh yeah, no, I've totally done that.
Eddie: You, as listeners out there, have to be able to relate to that, because I have done this, I've bought the thing only to find out that new thing was knocking on the doorstep. We were just knocking on the door of the next thing. And it's like, I went ahead and bought it, and now it's here.
Tyler: It's happened so many times for me that I like, I really wring my hands now. I'm like, I don't know. And like, so I'll start Googling when is the next one coming out so I don't feel bad.
Eddie: Well and what sucks is that could make the difference of like $150 sale a week from now on like a phone. Where they're trying to clear inventory or whatever. Here I am with, you know, I'm sitting here with my Samsung S8 dinosaur that I’ve had for a grand total of two and a half years. I mean, it doesn't feel like I've had the phone very long, it does a lot of cool things, but it's not the newest coolest. And there are a lot of features I lack because of it. So that's something that, we are