Service Excellence: Disney Style

By Todd Liles Service Excellence: Disney Style

“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” – Walt Disney

This past week, I was on a family vacation to Walt Disney World.  Ironically, the “Place Where Dreams Come True” has many similarities that can directly relate to independent contracting businesses.  I will start with an interesting parallel that every customer in need of service will initially face just as I did on my journey to Disney World—with a problem.  Unfortunately, while traveling to Florida we had a minor vehicle accident only twenty minutes away from our vacation destination and we were in need of help.  So I called our Disney resort and told them our predicament. They immediately transferred me to a manager who was able to not only find a cab service that would transport us to our Disney resort but the resort also completely refunded the cab charge to us! Now that is great customer service!  In the midst of my family’s frustration, Disney Service Providers seamlessly made a way for us to safely and affordably arrive at our Disney resort.  Clients contacting a business in the HVAC, Electrical, and Plumbing industry desire this same type of service; a service provider that can solve their problem, a service provider that has a plan to make the work affordable (affordability is more than the bottom line), and for the ultimate result (reaching the theme parks in Disney) to be a unique and great experience.

After thinking over my trip, there are 4 main areas of customer service in Disney World that would be worthwhile for those working in the industries of Heating and Air Conditioning, Electrical, and Plumbing to emulate:

  1. Accessibility to a broad client base– there is a wide range of visitors in Disney World.  In the course of a day, you will cross paths with people from every tier of the socioeconomic spectrum, while there are some that may be unable to visit Disney, there are very few that couldn’t afford some type of visit to the parks.  However, Disney also offers many experiences and products for minimal investments or free of charge such as movies and programs on the Disney Channel and products sold in the Disney Store that those that may not have the financial means to visit the parks can also enjoy.  This same accessibility should ring true in the independent contracting industries.  By offering a variety of packages, from a basic package all the way up to an ultimate package, a business can better meet the needs of a wide and diverse customer base.  There should be a means for those that can simply afford to get their system running all the way to individuals that want the best add-on products and an optimum system.
  2. The ultimate goal is the same no matter the package– Regardless of the package that a customer chooses the ultimate result should always be the same.  When a family comes to Disney with a basic vacation package and they stay at economical lodging they will arrive in the same theme parks and ride the same rides that a family staying in the most luxurious resort with an ultimate vacation package will experience.  The same should be true in the independent contracting industry.  Whether a client has a basic package, an ultimate package, or a repair the end result should provide a solution to their problem.  No matter what the package, at the end of the visit the customer’s main reason for contacting your business should be effectively resolved and every customer should have received service excellence from everyone they have been in contact with from the business.
  3. Employees have a “make it happen” attitude– All customers should feel that their investment in a product and in their service experience is unique and important.  It is obvious as soon as you enter the park that Disney employees have been trained on the topic of customer service.  Employees at Disney are called “Cast Members” thus exemplify that everyone plays an important part of the Disney “show.” Every time that we had a question or request a “Cast Member” was always persistent in trying to meet our need or answer our question.  This was most exemplified to me when our Disney resort made a way for us to call a cab after our accident and then refunded the cab fee in order to make sure that our first experience on our Disney trip was a positive one. This holds true in the HVAC, Electrical, and Plumbing industry as well.  Customers call a business because they have a problem. The client wants to hear ‘yes, I can help you,’ they don’t want to be met with more opposition or problems.  The first impact on a customer is the attitude of the service provider.
  4. Careful Attention to Detail– Clients notice the little things because they add up to be big things.  It was always easy to spot a Disney “Cast Member” just by the uniform they were wearing.  They didn’t just have a nametag but their uniform always matched the section of the park they worked in or the theme of the ride that they were working on.  Employees inside the parks seemed to never “break character”; if they were Cinderella, Pooh, or a spooky elevator operator on the Tower of Terror, then that was exactly what they displayed to the customers.  This same attention to detail was evident in every park, every ride, and every show.  It was obvious that Disney innovators wanted the customer to not only enjoy the ride but also savor the visual and aesthetic experience.  The summation of all these small details made my experience at Disney unparalleled to any other experience that I have ever had at a theme park.  When applying this to an independent contracting business the attention to detail is also extremely important. These details can be anything from using positive body language such as smiling and nodding your head when a customer makes a point to wearing floor protectors and making sure that your work area is spotless before you leave.  This type of service adds something extra to the customer’s experience.  Paying attention to these types of details will make the customer remember you and remember their experience in a positive manner.

Visiting Walt Disney World is an experience that never gets old and is never forgotten; this should be the same opinion your clients have about working with your service company.  By providing your customers with the best service possible you can help create an experience that your customers will never forget and will then want to tell others about.  But crafting this experience all starts with the owner and managers’ attitudes which in turn affects the employees that have continual and direct contact with clients.  Do employees at your business view themselves as “Cast Members” that are important to creating the best “show” and experience possible for your clients? Is doing business with your company like visiting the Walt Disney World of the independent contracting world?

-Resource curated by Whitney Stewart of Service Excellence Training.

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