Are you doing everything you can for your customers? Dennis Snow thinks you can step it up a few notches and wow your customers with world-class customer service. As a veteran employee at Walt Disney World, where customer service is essential to creating magical, memorable experiences for the popular theme park’s guests, Snow was on the front lines of dealing with customers every day.
At OFA Short Course, Snow delivered a funny, irreverent and enlightening keynote address during the Sunday morning session, setting the tone for the event. Now a business consultant at Dennis Snow and Associates and an author of two books, Snow has built on his experience working at Disney and counsels organizations worldwide.
Snow thrilled and engaged the audience with humorous stories about Disney customers, and how his team worked to create solutions that would infuse a little bit of magic and wonder in every Disney experience.
“Disney isn’t about selling rides – it’s about selling an experience. Rides are a commodity,” Snow said. “Everything you do has to be about the experience, not the task. When someone is doing their job with a task mentality, customers feel processed. But when a task is done with an experience mentality, customers feel valued. The difference between having a task mentality and an experience mentality is customer loyalty.”
Snow challenged the audience to implement three keys of world-class customer service:
1. Look at everything through the lens of the customer.
2. Pay attention to the details: everything speaks.
3. Know what frustrates customers and do something about it.
Look Through The Lens Of the Customer
Putting yourself in the customer’s place helps you see where the disconnect is between you and your customers, Snow said. Evaluate key processes and turn the lens around to see where you can provide service at each step.
“The longer we do what we do, the more we start to think our customers know what we know,” he said. “When we’re out of our comfort zones, we are all three years old.”
At Disney, Snow and his team looked at the opportunity to get guests from the park to their hotel at the end of the day, when they were tired and frustrated. Parking lot shuttle drivers started hosting trivia contests and got kids to sing Disney songs.
“The magical thing about that is it doesn’t cost anything extra for us to provide that entertainment to our guests,” Snow said. “One idea can have a wonderful impact.”
He told the audience about how one housekeeper began tucking in the kids’ Disney character stuffed toys every evening, and leaving a signed note for each family that their toys were getting tired, so she put them to bed for them. For the tired and cranky family returning to the hotel at the end of a long day, that one simple action infused Disney magic all over again. The idea took off and became legendary at the park, Snow said.
“We asked ourselves, ‘how do we leverage that one idea to deliver service?’”
Recognize That Everything Speaks In Your Environment
Despite the beautiful setting you may create with flowers and landscaping, that one rogue soda can in the parking lot may clutter the customer’s feelings about your operation. That open back door, showing the warehouse or the backroom is what Snow called, “bringing back stage, on stage.” That disgruntled employee, speaking loudly on her mobile phone or arguing with a fellow employee is a display of “attitudinal back stage, on stage.”
“The ‘everything speaks’ philosophy means that your employees understand that even the little things matter,” Snow said. “Pay attention to everything, from keeping the physical environment clean to making sure your employees are dressed appropriately, to avoid detracting from your customer’s experience.”
Know What Frustrates Customers And Do Something About It
At Walt Disney World, guests are always locking their keys in their cars. So, Disney developed a team dedicated to unlocking locked cars. It’s a complementary service that customers don’t expect, but appreciate immensely.
The other thing guests at the theme park always do: forget where they parked their cars. Despite constant reminders on the shuttle from the parking lot to the park, guests still forget their parking section by the end of the day. Because of this, Disney has developed a method for keeping track of where customers park, based on the time of day they came to the park. Employees have fun with it and act like mind-readers, so when guests ask for help, there’s that magic, once again.
Snow challenged the OFA audience to pull their team members together at least four times every year to talk about what customer frustrations are and what the team can do to solve these problems.
Visit the Snow & Associates, Inc. website to learn more about Dennis Snow and his books and services.