​Delivering customer service like Disney?

Delivering customer service like Disney?

A common frustration among business owners in the hospitality industry is that whilst they understand the importance of the visitor experience in maximising profits, delivering it is quite another matter. Last week, I attended the Disney Institute’s ‘Approach to Quality Service’ workshop, held around the country on a regular basis.

It there was one big take home of the day, it is this - Disney is able to deliver a world-class guest experience by zoning in on the smallest of details and building a service framework that consistently delivers.

Building and sustaining a successful customer experience programme is of course easier when you are one of the globe’s biggest entertainment conglomerates. Sheer scale is a driving force behind Disney’s theme park profits - they attracted 132.5 million guests last year according to the Themed Entertainment Association.

But how can a small tourism business benefit from this model?

Turn it on its head. Millions of people spend money going to Disney, so Disney is doing it right, and what Disney aspires to is the perfect guest experience. As an aspiration, this is not beyond the reach of the smallest service business.

When things go wrong service recovery is immediate and unquestioned (the most important goal being the reconciliation of the relationship with the unhappy guest).

The Disney Institute argues that this level of exceptional service is achievable whatever the size of business because it is created from systems and processes that the business owner controls.

Walt Disney created Disneyland because he didn’t like stereotypical amusement parks. He taught that service is manifested everywhere an organisation touches the customer, and far beyond the obvious points of arrival and departure, and that it is attention to detail that matters. Through doing this his company became a world leader in service excellence worth some $45 billion.

A coastal B&B, small hotel or restaurant might not turn over billions of dollars, but the route to offering great customer service is the same. And there’s nothing fairytale about that.

By Jacky Thorne