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IB Expo Preview: Delivering world-class customer service

The 9th annual IB Expo & Conference will provide tools that can result in “walk-through-fire” customer loyalty.

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From the pages of In Business magazine.

Imagine a day with over 1,000 face-to-face connections, the room abuzz with the excitement of burgeoning business opportunities and innovative solutions. Now, add a keynote with customer service insight from one of the world’s leading brands, as well as three exclusive professional-development opportunities for your team.

This is the In Business Expo & Conference.

The ninth annual IB Expo, set for Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the Alliant Energy Center, is the Madison area’s premier business-to-business event.

The day kicks off with a morning networking session for keynote attendees, followed by a keynote presentation from Dennis Snow, a customer service expert with over 20 years of experience with Walt Disney World. The keynote is sure to provide attendees with actionable tips to achieve world-class customer service.

Based on his two decades with Walt Disney World, along with many years of consulting with organizations around the world, Snow will provide a “how-to” program for delivering outstanding customer experiences.

Attendees will learn:

  • Approaches that help employees move from a task mindset to an experience mindset;
  • A process for ensuring that your organization’s “backstage” environment never impacts the “onstage” customer experience;
  • Four specific strategies for wowing customers every time; and
  • A mechanism for ensuring that your organization’s processes are designed through the “lens of the customer.”

Expo guests will also have several opportunities for professional development through a series of seminars scheduled throughout the day, gaining critical business insight from area experts on leadership, branding, and sales.

During the noon hour, Laura V. Page, director of leadership and management programs at UW–Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies, will present “Learning From 7 Bad Habits of Highly Ineffective Leaders.”

Later that afternoon, Todd LaBeau, SVP and head of digital, and Lindsay Ferris, SVP and chief marketing strategist at Lindsay, Stone & Briggs will present “Does Your Brand Need a Refresh?”

The seminar series will close with the always insightful Chuck West, former program director and lecturer for sales, advanced management, and leadership training at UW–Madison’s School of Business Center for Professional and Executive Development. West will discuss “Selling in 2020: Master the Changing Sales Landscape.”

New this year is a collaboration with Madison Magnet, which will host a series of activities such as speed networking, along with speakers targeting a young professional audience at their Expo booth.

Fitchburg-based TruScribe will be at this year’s Expo, too, bringing innovative approaches to hand-drawn and whiteboard videos, infographics, and graphic recording to the keynote and seminar presentations. Attendees will be able to watch the TruScribe artist translate Dennis Snow’s words into pictures in real time and also see visual representations of the seminar speeches following those presentations.

Once again, Opix Media will produce a live stream of the day from the Expo floor, where former WKOW TV nighttime anchor Greg Jeschke will conduct interviews with speakers and exhibitors.

Attendees also can visit the lively Expo floor throughout the day to mingle with exhibitors before stopping back for happy hour on the Expo floor to close the day.

Preregister now at MadisonBusinessExpo.com to make your check-in faster on the day of the event.

Lessons from the Mouse​

Dennis Snow’s customer service abilities were honed over 20 years with the Walt Disney Co. There, he developed his passion for service excellence and the experience he brings to the worldwide speaking and consulting he does today.

Dennis Snow

Snow began his Disney career in 1979 as a front-line attractions operator.

“I grew up in South Burlington, Vermont,” Snow recalls. “While on a summer break from the University of Vermont, I thought I’d see if I could get a job working at Walt Disney World for the summer. I’d visited as a kid and thought it would be pretty great to work there. So, I drove my beat up Oldsmobile to Orlando and was hired to work at an attraction called 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. What started out as a three-month job turned into 20 years, including management in the parks, the Disney University, and the Disney Institute.”

Snow launched a division of the Disney Institute responsible for consulting with some of the world’s largest companies, including ExxonMobil, AT&T, General Motors, and Coca-Cola. During this time, he presented to audiences in such diverse locations as South Africa, Australia, Mexico, England, and Argentina. This division quickly became the fastest growing venture of the Disney Institute and experienced repeat business of nearly 100 percent.

He also spent several years with the Disney University, teaching corporate philosophy and business practices to cast members and the leadership team. While there, he coordinated the Disney Traditions program, which is universally recognized as a benchmark in corporate training. In his last year with Walt Disney World, his leadership performance was ranked in the top 3 percent of the company’s leadership team.

“When I was hired, there was only one park at Walt Disney World — the Magic Kingdom,” says Snow. “By the time I left, we had the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. During that time, the cast expanded from around 10,000 employees (cast members) to over 70,000. That kind of expansion required a dramatically increased focus on recruiting and hiring great people, as well as consistent, ongoing training to reinforce the Disney culture.

“As a manager in the parks, this entailed lots of communication, coaching, and recognition to reinforce the culture,” Snow continues. “I also had the opportunity to manage the training function at the Disney University, which was responsible for all new-hire onboarding and management training. The scope of all of this kept increasing, but the fundamentals remained the same — keep the place clean, keep it friendly, and make it a magical experience for guests. Every cast member understood their role in the show.”

That wasn’t the only important lesson Snow learned during his two decades at Disney. Another was that it is vital to identify what you want the customer experience to be and then weave the outcome into everything that impacts employees.

“The fundamentals of the Disney culture are woven into the hiring process (casting), new hire onboarding (Disney Traditions), ongoing training, accountability processes, etc.,” notes Snow. “I’m often asked how long Disney training lasts. The answer, of course, is that it’s ongoing. From the moment you say, ‘I think I’d like to work here,’ to the moment you leave at the end of your Disney career, everything in between is training because the culture is constantly reinforced.”

According to Snow, a crucial aspect of the experience mindset is being present. “It’s easy to fall into robotic performance as you board guests onto rides, serve them hamburgers, or answer the same questions thousands of times,” he notes. “Disney cast members are trained to be present and treat each guest as special.

“That can be something as simple as offering to take a family photo so the family’s ‘designated photographer’ can be in the photo, too, or noticing a child dressed as a Disney princess and calling her by her princess name, or replacing a dropped ice cream cone,” continues Snow. “Cast members are trained to look for opportunities to create magical moments.”

Today, Snow is a full-time speaker, trainer, and consultant who helps organizations achieve goals related to customer service, employee development, and leadership. Some of his clients include American Express, Johns Hopkins Medicine, ExxonMobil, Nationwide, and Blockbuster Video.

His articles appear in a number of industry publications, and he is a featured guest “expert” on customer service on several business news-talk radio shows. He is the author of the book, Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service, which has been used in organizations around the world as a blueprint for organizational excellence. His newest book, titled Lessons from the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World’s Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life, has just been released.

Snow’s keynote program will look at what an organization can do to stand out from the crowd in today’s market, providing attendees with strategic tools that can be used to raise the bar of service throughout their organizations, resulting in “walk-through-fire” customer loyalty.

The keynote breakfast costs just $50 per person or $325 for a table of eight. Tickets include admission to the Expo floor. Reservations can be made online at MadisonBusinessExpo.com.

Keynote sponsored by MassMutual Wisconsin

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