Why this former Chick-fil-A VP says businesses should call customers 'guests'

Dee Ann Turner worked for the popular fast-food restaurant Chick-fil-A for 33 years in various different roles. Before her retirement in 2018, she served as the company's Vice President, Talent and Vice President, Sustainability.

Now that she's retired, she's sharing her immense knowledge and expertise with FOX Business.

One of the main things she emphasized was the importance of the words companies choose to use when speaking about their patrons. While she admits that she wasn't the first person to come up with this idea, she said a simple thing companies can do is use the word "guest" instead of "customer."

"The reason that I think it's important is because ... when I think of a guest, I think of somebody who's coming to my home, and who's there to experience my hospitality, and that feels different than a customer -- somebody who comes to a cash register and pays money for something," Turner told FOX Business.

"A guest is somebody that comes that I want to provide excellent hospitality for."

- Dee Ann Turner, former Chick-Fil-A Vice President

Turner said when she thinks of hospitality and what that can feel like for a guest, she thinks of the multiple facets of the environment, from friendly service to a clean environment and maybe peaceful music and fresh flowers.

"I think about a fond farewell when they leave and making sure they know I appreciated them coming, and I hope they'll come again soon," Turner said.

Turner said it's this type of workplace culture she tries to institute at other organizations, just like she emphasized at Chick-Fil-A.


Dee Ann Turner recently released her second book: "Bet on Talent: How to Create a Remarkable Culture That Wins the Hearts of Customers."