What Disney Can Teach Us About Customer Service

A Disney vacation is a lot of things. Exhausting, expensive, fun, expensive, memorable, expensive ... maybe even "magical." Did I mention expensive? Yes. It's no secret that a Disney trip - even if done carefully - will cost a premium for the average family. But with that cost, comes great expectation, as it is with any other "premium" service or product.

How can you make your customer feel like they're getting a one-of-a-kind experience with your company? There are several things that can be done, but first, two short anecdotes from our Disney trip:

"You're Too Short"

My 7-year-old daughter couldn't hide her disappointment from measuring, at most, half an inch too short to ride Primeval Whirl at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Tears streamed down her face as she guided my disbelieving sister to the measuring stick for verification. Yup. Too short. 

One of the worker girls had taken notice to our parental plight and asked my daughter what was wrong. Without much of an explanation, she sprung into action: "Come with me!" she said.

Before we knew it, she had taken my daughter to 3 or 4 (normally paid) "carnival games" for free. The last one was some sort of water-shooting contest, in which the winner took home a stuffed animal. Needless to say, my daughter couldn't compete with the older kids - and young adult champion, trying to impress his girlfriend. But my daughter didn't care. She had 15 minutes of unexpected fun and was pretty much good-to-go.

The empathy didn't stop there. After the contestants cleared out, this Disney worker took my daughter by the hand and had her pick a pink stuffed animal dinosaur of her choice! She also filled out a certificate with their names and date, stating that they had a fun time together.

Not only was my daughter thrilled, we - as parents - were too. Disney made a "bad" experience (not even a fault of their own - they're just following safety guidelines) and turned it into a very good one.

My bad, little man!

"My bad, little man!" said the Disney employee to my 3-year-old son as we were making our way out of one of Disney's quick service restaurants after stopping for some water. The large man had clipped my son's heel with his foot, causing my son to stumble, slightly. I had thought nothing of it - as did my son - until the worker insisted it deserved his attention.

"Hey my man, come with me. Follow me," he said to my son. A minute later, he returned with a large flavored ice / cream drink in a Frozen souvenir cup. Retail price: $12.

Once again, Disney had gone above and beyond to make "good" on a situation. We hadn't even given it any thought. His apology and friendly demeanor would have been plenty - no harm, no foul. But the employee was aware enough of his surroundings and cared enough about customer perception and satisfaction, that he wasn't going to let that be enough. He had to make sure that we walked out happy - and we did.

Practical Application

Maybe - like Disney - you aren't the cheapest service provider option around. That's fine. If you communicate with your client, treat them like they are truly special to you, and aren't afraid to offer a "bonus" every now and then, your clients will be coming back to you, even if you aren't the cheapest.

Matt Swinehart 01-Dec-2014 0 Comments
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Address: Salisbury, MD | Columbus, OH


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