It’s no secret that the Walt Disney Company offers some of the best customer service in the world. Achieving this high level of customer service is no accident; it is the result of a carefully constructed plan that is strictly followed. Disney doesn’t simply want to provide good customer service in certain places of the business; they want to provide excellent customer service in all areas.
I work in the public relations field, so I often evaluate the level of customer service a business provides. There are many companies that do customer service well, but Disney does it great. The level of service at Disney is planned, purposeful, and consistent. When a guest leaves Walt Disney World, they don’t leave saying, “The parks were not as happy as they were when I was here 15 years ago.” Why? The Walt Disney Company still exemplifies the values that were first demonstrated by Walt and Roy Disney.
Walt Disney understood that employees are critical to the success of a business. He said, “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.” Walt’s goal was to create a magical environment for all guests.
During the interview process, potential employees are told that Disney is a storytelling organization. Employees are expected to pretend they are always “on stage” while working. This means they must maintain a happy, helpful, and cheerful attitude at all times. Employees must be dedicated to making each guest feel special. Little girls are often called “princess” when spoken to by a cast member. They are told to never point with one finger. Instead, they must use their entire hands to indicate a certain direction, which is considered less threatening. Employees are expected to smile constantly. As a matter of fact, all backstage areas of the Magic Kingdom have mirrors beside the doors that lead into the park. Employees are encouraged to “check their smiles” before entering the park.
Walt encouraged employees to take pride in their work. While Disneyland was under construction, he asked a man what he was doing. The man replied, “I’m laying bricks.” Walt replied, “No. You are building a castle.” This was all part of Walt’s commitment to the storytelling environment.
Employees are also expected to pick up any piece of trash they see on the grounds, no matter how small. A cast member should never pass by a gum wrapper or a napkin. Employees are trained to fix a problem if they can. For example, if a child buys a Dole Whip, walks a few feet away, and drops it, employees are trained to replace the dessert free-of-charge. Small gestures such as these lead to guest loyalty to the Disney brand.
Finally, Disney values feedback. The company views negative feedback as an opportunity to improve. In addition, they recognize employees who go above and beyond the minimum expectations and always try to promote from within, rather than hiring from the outside.
The world would be a better place if all businesses, from fast food restaurants to multi-million dollar technology firms, would adopt the Disney philosophy on customer service. Walt summed it up best by saying, “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”