Heart of Service is the Heart of Business

October 2, 2019

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Heart of Service is the Heart of Business

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It is a business model that is not supposed to work.

In 2016, it only had 1,950 locations versus its main competition, which had 14,000 locations.

In an era of 24/7, 365-day-a-year operations across a multitude of industries, it is closed one day a week, resulting in an estimated loss of over $1 billion per year.

In a world of ever-expanding options, its menu is limited to a point of leaving out a major category of traditional fast food. In addition to that, its marketing capitalizes on what they don’t offer.

And yet, it is now the third largest restaurant chain in America.

In addition, it ranks No. 1 in customer satisfaction surveys conducted by ASCI, scoring 87 versus its top competitor, which came in lowest at 69, according to CNBC.

As a model, logically, it should not work.

It can’t compete on number of locations, hours of service, or diversity of menu.

And yet…it does work.

The key to its success is summed up by author Dee Ann Turner in the title of her book, Bet on Talent. For her 33-year tenure, as a leader in the company, that’s exactly what they did. They grew a business based on a heart of service; a tradition deeply rooted in its humble beginnings since 1946.

A heart of service stands the test of time.

Take a little time to reflect on the HEART of your business.


Does your team come to work and put in their time, just to earn a paycheck? This is a sign of a serious heart problem.

Employees who care about their work, their customers, and their company will always look for ways to be helpful. Is your customer service team pressured to close tickets in record time, or empowered to help people resolve an issue? If you are the person calling a company, you know the difference between people who genuinely want to be helpful and those who just want to close a ticket.

Companies fail to realize that customers are won the first time with good front-end marketing and products; they are retained for the long-term with great customer service.


Consistently since inception, there has been an atmosphere of engagement. Staff members will greet you with a smile and, if you are a regular customer, they will mention you by name.

Beyond that, it is not uncommon to hear of a manager or employee helping a customer change a flat tire, feed someone a meal for which they pay out of their own pocket, or just take time to visit with someone who is having a bad day. People are not customers to them; they are guests.

Do your employees treat customers as honored guests, or as an interruption? For that matter, how do your employees treat each other? Is there a level of true engagement and care for the well-being of others? Is there a connection between the work and the people who are served by it?


Does your team have targeted goals? Do you and they together celebrate the achievement of those goals? The greatest team-building exercise you can develop is to have a team strive for – and reach – a goal they didn’t think was possible. Part of celebrating achievements is giving each person a sense of ownership. This means sharing leadership across the board – allowing each person to contribute their best ideas and practices – so goals reached are shared victories.


There is one hallmark of this business that stands out among others, even among its critics. It is respect. Respect is expressed in good manners, good communication, and good service. Dealing with people is not always an easy job; but if the focus is on respect first, then on dealing with an issue, each person comes away stronger.


Great culture doesn’t just happen. It is developed by selecting a team with a heart of service, setting clear expectations, having documented and consistent systems of delivery, and empowering the team to work within the expected boundaries while also thinking outside the box for how they can serve others.

A heart of service truly is the heart of business.

For more resources on how you can strengthen the heart of your business, click here to learn about the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report.

As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.