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Richard Holland

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Disney Rules That Can Make Your Service Magical

Disney is beloved the world over and is recognized as a premiere family destination place. Whether you’re talking about the parks in Orlando, or California, people pay premium prices to be able to enjoy a little of the magic. But what makes Disney any different than the other amusement parks in the world? Many would say it’s Disney’s philosophy and training.

A recent article in Fast Company outlined the Seven Disney Service Guidelines:

  1. Make eye contact: – While a seemingly small thing, Disney is usually super busy. Being a person in this large moving body of people migrating from ride to ride can make someone feel very small and insignificant. By training employees to make eye contact with each and every guest they encounter, the employee is acknowledging their presence and personalizing their experience. It’s similar to saying, “You matter,” with a look.
  2. Greet and welcome every guest: – By making eye contact and then saying “Hello,” and welcoming them to the Park, people are made to feel special and important. A simple acknowledgement of their existence and singling out amidst this sea of humans is an act that people not only remember, but appreciate.
  3. Seek out guest contact: – Disney employees are not trained to be passive. They are taught to seek out guest contact, not to wait for a guest to initiate. They are actively in the crowd doing their job and, at the same time, looking for opportunities to interact with guests. I’m not talking about guests that “need” interaction (i.e.: Someone is having a bad experience that needs intervention). Disney employees are looking to interact with as many guests as possible.  Their goal is simply to make someone’s day just a little happier.
  4. Provide immediate service recovery: – This is an integral part of the guidelines. The Disney parks are huge and accidents happen – whether its something as small as a child spilling their popcorn or a larger issue – so Disney has empowered its employees to use their judgment and take action immediately to fix the situation rather than force a guest to wait for a “manager” to appear.
  5. Always display appropriate body language: – Disney knows that body language is just as important as physical language. People naturally communicate through body language all the time. . It’s not only important to watch what they say and how they say it. An employee having a bad day (which everyone does) can easily transmit that through their body language without ever once complaining. You set the tone for the atmosphere in your business. Customers will mimic that tone even if it’s subconsciously.
  6. Create dreams and preserve the “magical guest experience”: – Anything within an employee’s power that can be done to enhance the guest experience is encouraged. Disney wants everyone’s trip to be memorable and magical and sometimes, it only takes a small thing to make that happen… a hug from a Princess, a “Happy Birthday” from an employee while in line, etc. Even the smallest gesture can be magnified when seen through the eyes of a child.
  7. Thank each and every guest: – As businesses, we certainly are appreciative of all of our customers but do they know it? This simple policy is designed to insure that every guest is acknowledged and thanked at some point in the day (if not multiple times) for choosing Disney. They don’t post people at the exits specifically to say this; they expect their employees to be doing this continuously all day long.

Disney has some great lessons and practices that can be applied to any business. They are making the adoption of these by other businesses easier through the sharing and teaching of non-Disney employees and business owners through their Disney University. Disney has such a loyal customer base because it has policies in place to make everyone feel special. They also empower their employees to take immediate action to rectify anything that could jeopardize a guest experience.

One thing I’d like to leave you with. If you ask Disney, they don’t have any “employees.” Their staff is called “Cast Members.” Why? Because they realize that the Park is their venue, the guests are their audience and they are always, always, on stage. 

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