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Customer Experience 101: Why Everyone Benefits When You Keep Your Ears Open

December 05, 2017 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

We’ve talked about the importance of intentional listening and how mastering that skill can prove to have many benefits for your team and your workplace. I thought it was time to revisit this idea, because when leaders demonstrate intentional listening, great things can happen.

Here’s a Disney story that I believe brings this idea to life: 

Every day at our Disney parks around the world, Guests gather in large numbers to watch the parade as it travels along a special route through the park. But, during this time of day, our custodial Cast Members can find it it challenging to access and empty the trash cans located along the parade route because they would sometimes have to displace or disturb Guests who were gathered around the trash cans to watch the parade as it passed by. 

While it’s important that we keep our parks clean, and that our Guests have an enjoyable experience, it’s also important that our Cast are able to perform their duties safely and efficiently. So, with a little collaboration and creative thinking we found a solution.

In fact, at Disney Parks and Resorts, we strive to make the day-to-day work experience as hassle-free as possible for our Cast. And, by asking for and listening to feedback shared by our frontline custodial teams, Disneyland Park leaders were able to find a solution that works well for both our Cast and Guests.

The solution turned out to be a redesign of the trash can door access which included repositioning the doors to face the street and providing spring-loaded latches that open when the Cast push on the doors. After several redesigns and testing in the park environment, the new easier-to-access trash cans have improved the experience for everyone, and promoted innovation and communication among our Cast. This solution has proven to be a great success and continues its initial rollout in our California parks.

Here’s what custodial senior production manager, Mary Cobb, had to say: “How we keep our Parks clean was always a topic close to Walt Disney’s heart. I love how much pride our Cast take in what we do, and I am always pleased at the number of our Guests who notice these details. When we did this photo, Guests wanted to know what we were doing. When I explained, they actually took their own pictures of the trash can, smiled, and said ‘only at Disney’!”

By fostering an environment that promotes intentional listening and feedback, as well as encouraging continuous improvement and innovation among our Cast, we have consistently been able to find creative solutions to many new and previously unsolved problems.

Think about it: What small changes can you make in your organization that will improve both your employee experience and customer experience?

If you would like to learn more ways to improve your company’s culture, check out our Disney’s Approach to Employee Engagement professional development training course. Or, bring our team to yours to explore and apply a full cultural transformation through a private initiative for your organization.

*Photo courtesy of the Disneyland Resort Line.


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 Employee Engagement | Tagged Customer Experience, Intentional Listening, Workplace Culture, Company Culture, Organizational Culture, Employee Engagement, Employee Feedback, Innovation, Creativity


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