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The "Wow" Factor

December 20, 2012 by Bruce Jones, Programming Director, Disney Institute

When it comes to the customer service experience, why simply meet expectations when you can exceed them?

At Disney, we call this the “wow factor." There is one thing that every guest brings with them when they visit Disney Parks and Resorts, very high expectations. Tom Peters, co-author of the best-selling book In Search of Excellence, once said, “wowing guests means not only meeting preconceived notions of what a Disney vacation or film or toy should be, but exceeding them.”

Many companies wow their customers on occasion, but at Disney, exceeding guests’ expectations is the standard call of duty. From the restaurant hostess that is willing to leave her post to guide you to your destination to the cashier who takes the time to recommend a free boat ride back to your hotel and offers a map to the dock, you can see the standard in action each and every day.

If you are unsure how to begin calculating your wow factor, start adding up the little wows, even if they seem fairly insignificant. If those little wows are delivered consistently and continuously, they add up to a big wow.




Posted in Quality Service | Tagged The Wow Factor, Tom Peters, Quality Service, Customer Experience | 4 Comments


4 Responses to The "Wow" Factor

  • George says:

    on December 20, 2012

    I agree. Disney has always exceeded my expectations whether at the parks, resort, even on the phone.


  • David says:

    on December 21, 2012

    At a DI training event once, I watched a Disney PhotoPass photographer engage a family while taking their picture in the Magic Kingdom. He was playing with the little girl, hamming it up with mom and dad, and turned a picture-taking event into a memory. This was the ultimate little "wow," as you realize that for no real extra effort or expenditure of resources, the photographer helped generate revenue (the family likely bought some of the pictures on their way out of the park) and strengthened the Disney brand (they undoubtedly told their friends about the wonderful experience they had)!


  • Darren says:

    on December 27, 2012

    I visit Disneyland or Walt Disney World at least once, sometimes twice, every year. The receptiveness to guest's suggestions and comments is part of the "WOW" factor for me. The Disney parks will never be complete as long as there is imagination. (Adapted from a quote by Walt himself)


  • Janet says:

    on January 06, 2013

    I just returned from a New Years Trip to Disney and I must say that I encountered many wows during my visit. One in particular was at the Be Our Guest Restaurant where we arrived 20 minutes early and the hostess was able to get us a seat at an earlier time. This effort made the 100 phone calls I made on the first day that reservations were available worth the time I put into it. However I also experienced a not-so-wow moment on the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride. The loader put her arm up to slow down the people getting on. However she separated a 10 year old from her parents and the little girl kept on walking to stay with her parents. The loader was very rude to the girl because she felt the girls wasn't listening to her. However what the loader needed to realize was that she was in error separating a family. I thought about this for a few hours and the situation helped me to remember that there are 2 sides to all thoughts and actions. I hope this helps me to remember to stop before I act to make sure I wow who I am communicating with.


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