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3 Lessons in Creating a Magical Customer Experience

May 30, 2013 by Bruce Jones, Programming Director, Disney Institute

Walt Disney had a vision to create a place where adults and children could have fun together — to create happiness. Realizing Walt’s vision takes a fanatical approach to the customer experience.

In a recent Fast Company article, author Dayna Steele wrote about her service experience at the Walt Disney World© theme parks, noting seven reasons that her service experience was magical.

Each observation is rooted in one of, what Disney refers to as, the four keys — company-wide service basics for providing an outstanding customer experience. Safety, courtesy, show, and efficiency (in that order) guide the Disney service culture, each with actionable lessons for providing outstanding service experiences. For example, Dayna writes:

“I watched a child go from happy with popcorn to sad when it spilled back to happy again when two Disney employees swooped in--one to clean up the spilled popcorn and the other offering to get the child a refill. All within a matter of two minutes.”

The Cast Members who assisted this Guest displayed an understanding of several of Disney’s four keys:

  • Courtesy: Going above and beyond to exceed Guest expectations. The Guest may have thought all was lost once the popcorn had spilled. Replacing the snack free of charge demonstrates the importance Walt’s vision to create happiness.
  • Show: Ensuring the area is show-ready at all times. The Cast Member sweeping up the spilled popcorn understands the importance of keeping areas clean and well maintained for our Guests. Leaving popcorn on the ground would distract other Guests from enjoying the show.
  • Efficiency: Performing the role efficiently so the Guest can get the most out of their experience. Guests have a lot on their plate — the value of replacing the popcorn is lost if not done in a timely manner.

Think about your most memorable service experiences — what was it about that experience that made it stand out from the rest? Tell us your story in the comments below.





Posted in Quality Service | Tagged Excellent Customer Service, Corporate Culture, Corporate Training, Customer Service Training, Customer Service Techniques, Customer Experience Improvement | 2 Comments


2 Responses to 3 Lessons in Creating a Magical Customer Experience

  • Amanda says:

    on May 30, 2013

    One instance, I was distraught about leaving my ticket to re-enter the park for fireworks. It was my first trip with my husband's family, and I was so upset. But as we reached the ticket office, and told her what had happened, she just smiled and said there are no bad days at Disney. She looked me up, reprinted a entry ticket for me and off we went. Disney is just the best!


  • Linda says:

    on May 30, 2013

    My dad (age 70) went to ask the ride attendant at the Carousal a question. My dad noted he was busy and walked away. A couple of moments later, the ride attendant approached my dad and stated, "I am sorry I couldn't answer your question right away. I needed to watch the ride until it came to a complete stop for safety. How can I help you." The cast member handled this with such grace. My dad wasn't upset or anything, he was just going to go ask someone who wasn't busy - but we were all very impressed that this male cast member was so attune to what was going on around him, safety conscious and courteous and safety conscious all in one. I have used this example in my own practice in Nursing. I might be on the phone with a doctor and note a Resident standing nearby, looking like they have a question. I always approach the Resident after I put the phone down and say, "I am sorry I couldn't help you right away. Is there anything I can do for you now." I have received very favourable responses from patients and families.


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