Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

The Long Road To An Exceptional Customer Experience

January 22, 2015 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

Recently, one of our Disney Institute clients, Best Chevrolet located in Hingham, Mass., was featured in a Boston.com article: Scott Shulman Knows How to Make Customers Happy. (That’s Shulman pictured next to the Jeep above.) 

I encourage you to take a quick read. The story spotlights much of the outstanding work Shulman and his team have done to improve their customer experience, including focusing on delivering exceptional service, fostering employee engagement, and increasing customer loyalty. After reading, I think you’ll agree with the author’s assertion…the Best Chevrolet team really does know how to make their customers happy.

You may be asking, “How do we make our customers happy, and, at the same time satisfy the organization’s business-economic needs?” Most organizations face the challenge of reconciling this inherent "friction" at some point, and Best Chevrolet faced it as well. In fact, Shulman talked about his early days managing the dealership: ”We were selling a lot of cars, but the employees and the customers were not happy,” he said. So, instead of focusing purely on sales, Shulman focused his team’s efforts on improving the customer experience

Imagine…a car dealership not focusing on sales? At the time (more than two decades ago), it was a pretty radical approach in the industry and, most certainly, Shulman encountered some resistance along the way. But in time, through intense focus and plenty of perseverance, Shulman’s strategy worked.  

What Scott Shulman had learned, and then applied to his business, is that the key to integrating the competing interests of different parts of an organization – each of which is absolutely legitimate in its own right – is that each part of the organization must operate in support of a common purpose. Remember that a common purpose provides meaning beyond the task at hand, and every department within the organization, even those that dont typically interact directly with the customer, must understand how they contribute to it.

To begin implementing this principle, Shulman announced his new goal for the entire company would be to, "Make people happy." Explains Shulman, “That includes the customer and our people. Disney showed us that it’s impossible to have happy customers unless you have a happy, satisfied staff.”

So, like Best Chevrolet, how can you get started on a similar road to an exceptional customer experience? While there are a number of important steps, here are three:  

  • Work with your team to clarify your organization’s common purpose, and communicate it to everyone in the organization.
  • Re-examine customer-facing and internal processes to ensure they are designed to support and enable the common purpose.
  • Develop a balanced "scorecard" that focuses on customer and employee experience data, as well as sales and financial results.

By aligning the entire organization – the people, the processes, and the bottom line – with this laser-like focus, your team can begin the journey to creating a truly unique customer experience that differentiates you in a crowded marketplace. 

What obstacles are preventing your organization from making customers happy? 

We would love to hear from you!
Post your response below, or respond to us on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #DThinkBlog.

Disney Institute uses business insights and time-tested examples from Disney parks and resorts worldwide to provide relevant illustrations and engaging stories that help you deliver the type of long-term results your organization is capable of delivering. Ultimately, Disney Institute can help you operationalize and sustain business results through leadership, culture, service and more. Explore our solutions for a team or an organizational initiative by visiting Our Approach page. To learn more about options available for an individual, please explore our Scheduled Courses.

Photo Credit: Boston.com, Photographer: John Goreham




Disney Institute is ready to help you apply strategic rigor to your customer experience efforts - call us at 321.939.4600 or complete our Contact Form

Posted in Quality Service | Tagged Service, Customer Service, Quality Service, Customer Experience, Employee Engagement, Best Chevrolet, Scott Shulman, Bruce Jones

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