A while ago I had the pleasure to listen to Brian Parsley, President of WeSkill, give a great presentation on business strategies. Under the topic of customer service, Parsley spoke of wanting an In-N-Out burger while traveling on business. Not having a GPS unit, Parsley called In-N-Out’s customer service hotline, where he spoke to a representative who helped direct him to an In-N-Out.
This example raises several questions. First, how many people do you know who would call a hotline to help them find a fast food burger joint? Second, how many fast food burger joint’s hotlines would have representatives willing to help a lost consumer find the nearest burger joint? The answer to both questions is probably, “Not many.” This story doubles as a great example of providing excellent customer service and of displaying significant brand loyalty.
The publisher of Stacy Perman’s book, In-N-Out: A Behind-The-Counter Look At The Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All The Rules, wrote that “Over time, In-N-Out Burger has become nothing less than a cultural institution that can lay claim to an insanely loyal following.” To demonstrate the aurora of loyalty that surrounds In-N-Out, in a blog posted yesterday by blogger Nacy Luna titled, In-N-Out Burger Raises Menu Prices, has already generated 191 comments. A critical reader would expect mostly negative posts. However, many where is favor of In-N-Out.
BeachBumBob wrote: I will always pay more if I know that the quality of standards are still the same or higher. When it comes to helping In-N-Out stay in business I don’t mind.
Christina wrote: In order to keep your business in business, raising prices is sometimes the answer…. let me just also say, that IN N OUT is still going to be the cheapest place ever to get an awesome burger, fries and a shake…. so seriously, its not a negative, its a positive for them…. how would you feel if there was no more IN N OUT….I would cry!
Talk about brand loyalty, “helping In-N-Out” and “I would cry.” How many of your consumers would say that about your company or product? In-N-Out is raising prices in an industry that relies heavily on loss leading “Dollar Menus” to entice consumers, and consumers are okay, even supportive.
So what is In-N-Out’s secret? A good place to start may be their consistently exceptional service providing quality products all at a reasonable price.