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Free Burgers At In-N-Out? - Customer Service Drives Innovation, Great Companies

Customer Service Drives Innovation, Great Companies

I have always appreciated good customer service within the workplace. For me, the level of service rendered is often the difference between a one time transaction or earning my business for a lifetime.

Recently, some friends and I were discussing and ranking our favorite fast food restaurants (serious guy talk). When I shared that my favorite is the Orange County based In-N-Out Burger, some of my friends protested that In-N-Out was not truly fast food. After much debate, we all agreed that we loved In-N-Out best and that it was almost unfair to compare In-N-Out to other fast food restaurants.  One of these friends previously worked for In-N-Out. He explained to us that his store never charged firemen or police officers in uniform for their order. Their order for burgers and fries were always free of charge. He explained that it was his stores way of giving back and providing great customer service.

In the best-selling book “In-N- Out Burger”, author Stacey Perman consistently points to the company’s customer service focus as driving innovation. In an effort to accommodate their growing number of customers and busier stores, founder Harry Snyder installed a two way radio that allowed customers to place their order from their cars. The invention enabled Harry’s clients to be served faster and from the convenience of their automobiles. Hence the “drive through” was born and is a staple of nearly every fast food restaurant today.

In the early years, Harry (while keeping the same simple burger and fries menu) wanted to accommodate the individual tastes of his customers. He prepared and cooked their burgers per their request.  These unique orders have resulted in the creation of a “secret menu” where today customers can order their food Animal Style, Protein Style, Flying Dutchman, X by Y and more… None of these options can be found on the standard menu.

From its inception until today, In-N-Out’s company motto has always been “Quality, Cleanliness, and Service”.  This means accommodating special customer requests from a secret menu, great customer service, serving made to order fresh food, quick service, a clean store and more… The commitment to these principles has resulted in a great company with a very loyal, near fanatical customer base.

In-N-Out’s focus on customer service reminds me of my own company, Coastal Payroll Service. One of the founding principles and top objectives my business partners and I strive to delivery is the highest level of customer support. This means providing onsite training for new clients, assigning a single client service representative, accountability, responsiveness, great software and more… Our focus on customer service has driven innovation across all areas of our company as we strive to deliver the best for our clients. Like In-N-Out, our commitment to customer service has also resulted in national recognition and a very loyal customer base.


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