A Magic Kingdom of customer service!

From the pages of In Business magazine.

As I was standing in a three-hour line with my wife and two young daughters waiting to see Anna and Elsa (the two now-famous princesses from the Disney movie Frozen) at Disneyland last month, I really got to thinking about the entire Disney experience and how thoroughly Disney has nailed the art of customer service.

I know that Disney’s excellent customer service has been well chronicled over the years, and the company even runs its own professional development center, the Disney Institute, which trains other organizations on such things as service, leadership, brand loyalty, etc. So I’m certainly not pointing out anything earth-shattering here. But I do think there are a few basic customer service practices that just about any company can learn from Disney:

1. Treat every customer like your most important customer. After making trips to both Disney World and Disneyland in the past two years, I was simply amazed at how friendly and helpful Disney team members are, no matter where you are on one of their properties. Whether you’re at one of Disney’s parks, in one of its transportation vehicles, or staying at one of its hotels, Disney employees are always looking out for you and making sure you’re having a once-in-a-lifetime experience. These employees have no idea how much you’re spending at their parks, but it’s obvious that they’ve been trained to treat everyone like their most important customer. Even a simple gesture like giving a young child a Mickey Mouse sticker that says “My 1st Visit to Disney World” really goes a long way.

2. Smile. I remember Michael Jordan saying that he would go into every game with the thought that there was some kid in the stands who was watching him for the first time, so he knew that he had to perform at his highest level during each and every game. Well, I think the same can be said for Disney’s emphasis on smiling and being friendly. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Disney employee who looks like he or she is having a bad day, and if you do find one, I’m guessing he or she won’t be employed there much longer. You can imagine how many cranky parents and sassy kids these employees have to deal with each and every day. Yet they always seem to answer your questions with a friendly smile.



3. Create your own “magical” experience. No, most of us don’t have a theme park with princesses, Mickey Mouse, and Donald Duck. But we can still give our clients a “magical” experience. I figured that if I can leave Disneyland with a smile on my face after spending three hours in line in the hot California sun so that my daughters could get three minutes with their idols Anna and Elsa, then surely we can create small magical moments for our own customers here at IB — and I’m sure you can for your clients, too.

We may not have the budget Disney has for customer-service training, but we should all have enough time and resources to implement just a few of these very basic (yet sometimes overlooked) customer-service practices that Disney has perfected.

And for those wondering if I’d stand in that three-hour line again to see my daughters enjoy those three minutes of sheer bliss — yes, yes, I would!

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