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Disney Institute customer service facilitators Ernesto and Monica led operator attendees through a workshop on Disney’s proven principles of customer service, detailing how the theme parks keep guests coming back. Ernesto at one point did a customer service demonstration with attendees Kyara Kahakauwila of L.A. Limousines in Victoria, B.C., and Mark Mahedy of Griffin Transportation in Vancouver, B.C.
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — If you want to earn repeat customers, then you start by listening to and treating each one as an individual deserving a memorable experience.
Such an approach to service, practiced day in and day out at Walt Disney World, easily carries over to the chauffeured transportation sector, as attendees at the 2013 LCT Leadership Summit learned on June 10. The Disney Institute held a half-day seminar for operators titled “Disney’s Approach To Quality Service.”
To sum it up, what works well in an inter-personal relationship or friendship also applies to customers: You listen to the other person, validate that person by responding as an active listener, and then serve that person by meeting anticipated needs, or expectations.
Led by Disney Institute customer service facilitators Monica and Ernesto [no last names needed in Disney ranks], the seminar began by explaining how Disney sets up a customer service structure by redefining the terms. For example, employees are called “Cast Members”; jobs are called “roles”; and Cast Members don’t work, they “perform.” Overall, the mega-company has 130,000 Cast Members fulfilling 2,000 different roles.
“A lot of things are common sense,” Monica said. “Unfortunately, now what is common sense is not common practice. We are not perfect by any means but hope we have processes in place that help us to always improve. We strive for perfection, but settle for excellence.”
Putting on a show means creating an experience. You accomplish that by focusing on the needs of others, applying good listening skills, and giving positive attention. “You have the opportunity to improve on what you are delivering on quality service and thinking about your employees and customers in a different way,” Monica said.
A complementary framework for customer service is to consider quality as a high degree of excellence, while service revolves around meeting needs, Ernesto said.
By maintaining loyalty with guests through experiences, it adds to the longevity of your business, Monica told attendees. “You make someone feel important. . . How do I go above and beyond to make my customer feel special? Nobody says, ‘I don’t know,’ and walks away. You help someone find the answer. Never say, ‘No.’”
Needs Vs. Wants
The goal for any service business is to anticipate the needs of customers before they become wants. At Walt Disney World, for example, the three most frequently asked questions include: Where are the restrooms? Where is Mickey Mouse? And, “What time is the 3 o’clock parade?” The challenge is to listen to the motive behind each question, and give an answer that provides information beyond the obvious. For example, on the last question, you don’t make the guest feel stupid by answering, “3 O’Clock.” Think about the motive behind the question, and reply with tips such as the best locations to see the parade, where to get refreshments beforehand, what characters will be in the parade, etc.
For operators, such type of questions could include: Where is my chauffeur at the airport? How long is the trip going to take? Or, when a prospective client calls and asks, “What are your rates?” That last question is an opening to talk to the caller and put them at ease by asking what exactly they are looking for and what type of event or outing they are planning.