Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Some of you may have noticed the climate of angry competitiveness that has overtaken the USA in the past, oh, 5 years or so.  It is really coming to a boil of late, especially here on the Interwebs, where opinion run screaming like Banshees with their hair on fire.  (Please note: No Offense was meant to be directed at the Banshee population, nor do I condone the act of running about with one’s hair on fire.)

But really, 84.7%* of all online discussions deteriorate into mean-spirited arguments concerning politics, religion, or lifestyle. (*Statistic courtesy of Make-M-Up Statistics, Inc.)  So ok, if that is what the lunkhead hoi polloi want to engage in on social media, then fine, let them.

But it is not a good idea for businesses, or business people, regardless of the strength of their political or religious beliefs, to bring those beliefs into the game.

Due to the simmering political divide in this country, a business person who visibly steps up to back an issue on one side of the divide automatically loses credibility, if not large amounts of revenue, from most members on the other side.   So, in light of Don Cathy’s recent statements, will Chick-fil-A gain so much support from the Christian Right as to compensate for the loss of business from middle-of -the-road and Left-leaning folks?  Outlook not so good.

And this is my point… this is a business issue, being discussed on a business blog.  So politics aside, I think it is stupid  – really special stupid… stupid with whipped cream and a cherry – for a business to toss their all eggs into one political or religious basket.  You know, at one time in the not-so-distant past, I knew about Chick-fil-A because of one thing: Outstanding Customer Service.  Now, that is something worth being known for, especially in the fast-food industry where franchises are typically populated with disinterested teenagers and weary adults who really wish they were doing something else with their lives.  I never lived near one, so I had never tested that experience, but I had read about them in customer service case studies and anecdotes.  I finally did get the opportunity to visit one in Memphis, and it was fine. I wasn’t blown away, but it was a clean environment and I was treated with courtesy.  And the chicken sammich was decent.  But overall, my experience was fine, and there was nothing to dissuade me from thinking their customer service reputation was justified.

Then Don Cathy has to open his mouth, condemning a segment of the population, as well as another segment that supports them.  Now, these two segments have to think twice about where to go for a chicken sammich!  Many will go instead to another establishment, one that possibly supports the same organizations and thinking that Mr. Cathy supports, but does not drag it into their business profile.  Because once that chicken flies the coop, it ain’t never goin’ back.

Moral of the story:  The idea behind a successful business is to attract customers, and serve them in such a manner that they will return to you, as well as share their experience with friends and colleagues.  Alienating segments of the consumer population by drawing a line in the political / religious sand is not smart.  It is self-defeating, regardless of what side of the line you stand.  A successful business should be apolitical and secular.  People don’t need to get spiritual guidance from a chicken sammich.