Note: Join author and speaker, Michael Angelo Caruso, for a live program, Remarkable Customer Service on November 2 in Madison Heights, Michigan. Attendees will receive a free, signed copy of Michael’s newest book, Work Hacks: 300+ Cool Ideas for Speeding Career Success. Mr. Caruso will be discussing Disney and other examples of fantastic customer service.
Disney’s seven secrets
If you’re going to study the art and science of customer service, you’d do no better than to review the Disney model.
Long considered an industry standard for the hospitality and entertainment business, Disney offers valuable lessons to every company in every industry.
Disney theme parks have been setting the standard for excellent customer service for decades.
Tom Connellan, author of Inside the Magic Kingdom, offers seven of Disney’s top secrets for customer satisfaction. These “secrets” are your keys to the magic kingdom of remarkable customer service.
Here’s how to bring remarkable customer service to your business.
7 keys to successful customer service
Success Key #1: The competition is anyone the customer compares you to.
In one lucky stretch, I had four speaking engagements in the Caribbean within 18 months.
If you’ve ever been to the islands, you probably remember that remarkable customer service can be an elusive concept. One night, I waited 45 minutes for a meal at the pool bar, even though the bartender had only a few guests.
When I complained to the barkeep, he just smiled and said, “Relax, mon! It’s ‘Island Time.’” Perhaps this was his way of explaining that Jamaica is a casual place where things happen on their own flexible schedule. I believe he was also comparing the service at his establishment to the service at other Caribbean pool bars.
Customer service teams often make this mistake. After all, it’s easy to compare favorably when you compete with lackluster service providers.
My Jamaican bartender failed to realize that I wasn’t comparing his service to that of another barkeep in Jamaica. Rather, I was comparing his establishment’s service to vacation destinations in south Florida such as the Fountainblue Hotel in Miami. After all, Miami is only 552 miles from Jamaica.
I go someplace warm for vacation every year and he had lost his chance to win me over.
Success Key #2: Pay fantastic attention to detail.
Customers may not notice when you do the little things, but they almost always notice when you don’t.
Not long ago, I had the pleasure of staying at one of the fabulous Banyon Tree resorts in Thailand. Banyon Tree customizes the desk arrangement in your room based on whether you are right or left-handed.
Most tables for two are arranged so the couple can face each other. The patio tables at Banyon Tree were arranged so that couples could sit next to each other so both people can enjoy the view of the water.
Success Key #3: Everyone needs to lead by example.
Do you know why the Magic Kingdom is known for being so clean?
The park has thousands of custodians. Every employee is expected to pick up trash. This is what Human Resource experts refer to as “a condition of employment.”
Success Key #4: There is a system to reinforce service behavior.
At the Magic Kingdom, the infrastructure supports their massive custodial crew.
The park has a centralized vacuum system for waste disposal and 65 trash dumping sites that customers never see. The behind-the-scenes trash disposal system supports the organization’s key value of cleanliness and makes it easy to comply with conditions of employment.
Be rewarded for listening
Success Key #5: The customer is best heard through many (Mickey Mouse) ears.
A while back, I experienced fantastic customer service while holding a full-day seminar at a hotel.
At the end of my fantastic day, I waited in a short line at the front desk and then asked to see the manager of the hotel. The clerk seemed a little concerned about why I wanted to meet her boss.
I told her that I had a compliment about the hotel and the service I had received. The clerk seemed grateful for the feedback, but she requested that I fill out a customer comment card at the end of the counter.
Disappointed at being denied the opportunity to provide my preferred method of feedback, I passed on filling out a card. Honestly, I had lost enthusiasm for my own message when she insisted that I fill out a customer service evaluation rather than have a pleasant exchange with the manager.
Success Key #6: Reward great work and celebrate success.
It’s important to recognize and acknowledge excellent customer service.
Measuring success and rewarding employees helps reinforce remarkable customer service habits. Make three positive comments to service reps for each negative one. One of my bank clients celebrates its employees in the following ways:
- Daily staff huddles to pay tribute to exceptional achievement
- An employee newsletter
- Paid time off above and beyond vacation and sick days
- Frequent feedback via Management-By-Walking-Around (MBWA)
- Company cookouts
- Wacky Wednesdays when employees are invited to the executive suite to take part in a fun visit that might involve a hula hoop or blowing bubbles
- Tailgate parties
Success Key #7: Don’t settle for anything less than customer delight.
When it comes to customer service, good is not good enough.
Service guru Tom Peters wrote in his book, The Pursuit of Wow, that a good goal is to try to actually get customers to say the word, “Wow.”
Be like Disney
It’s good to be innovative when you can, but why try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to providing remarkable customer service?
Model the best. Watch for examples of magical customer service. Be like Disney.
Feel free to comment below and give examples of the most impressive customer service that you’ve experienced.