The Keys To The (Magic) Kingdom
You might not realize it, but your company has a huge competitive advantage over Disney. No matter how great you are, most likely your customers have not been dreaming about visiting you since they were small children. It’s most likely that your customers do not have to save up for years in order to buy your product. These are the tough issues that Disney has to face at their theme parks, a tremendous amount of pressure to perform. The amazing thing is, they do. Again and again they exceed customer expectations, making sure each guest has a magical experience with them.
Disney realizes that front-line employees are the key to their success. Customer interaction is absolutely critical to their success. They call all of their staff members “cast” and their mission is to be “aggressively friendly.” What does this mean? It means actively seeking out opportunities to interact with customers positively. It means that smiling at and talking to customers is the most important job they have.
Many people see the products they sell as being the most important part of their business. Disney knows that they most important part of their business, the place they need to spend the most time and money, is their “cast members.” Disney has created one of the most studied and most respected training institutes for their staff. Ongoing training, support and encouragement are key ingredients to Disney’s success.
When dealing with the inevitable obstacles in offering outstanding customer service, Disney strives to make all potentially negative experiences into “wow service” moments. Instead of just saying no, denying the customer or apologizing when things go wrong, Disney looks for a way to go above and beyond in offering a solution. For example, when a family waits in a long line for a ride only to find out their kids are not tall enough to ride; the cast presents them with a certificate to go to the head of the line on a ride they are able to use or to use on a future visit.
Another key to the Disney experience is excellent communication. Detailed and efficient communication allows everything in their parts to run smoothly and on time. Cast members are also taught world class communication skills to use when interacting with customers. They are taught to watch and listen more than they talk and to provide great answers to common questions, even when it “isn’t their job.”
If you want to build the kind of brand loyalty that Disney has, you have to treat your customers and the customer experience in the same way they do. Remember, a hundred things could go right but if one thing goes wrong, for sure that will be the thing remembered most vividly. Your job is to provide excellence in “customer experience” not just in “customer service.”