Disney Knocks it Out of the Park with Excellent Customer Service

How Disney Knocks it Out of The Park With an Excellent Customer Experience (And How You Can Too)

My first time at Disney World, we arrived at Cinderella’s Castle at dusk, when the sky was cotton candy pink and the air breathed a perfect warmth. The castle almost looked fake because it was so spectacular. In that moment, I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place. The excitement was almost too much to handle. I couldn’t have dreamed up a more magical experience.

There’s nothing quite like walking into Disney’s Magic Kingdom for the first time. No matter how old you are, you feel the same wonder and anticipation as a six-year-old again. 

There’s a reason Disney Parks coins itself “the happiest place on earth.” They’ve spent so much time perfecting the visitor experience. They want you to feel fully enveloped in their magic. To forget about the outside world. To feel like a kid again. (And if you don’t, who even are you?)

If you ranked powerhouse companies with excellent customer service, Disney easily takes the cake. Disney has carefully crafted every aspect of its customer experience to create an unforgettable memory for every single guest. 

That’s why we’re crushing on Disney this month. Here are some of the ways Disney knocks it out of the park – and then some – in providing excellent customer service. Plus, we give you some practical tips on how you can model your CX after Disney.

1. They value employees first

Walt Disney once said, “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.” Walt Disney understood how critical a company’s employees are to its success. So he spent countless hours perfecting the best strategies for hiring, training, and keeping successful employees. 

Disney Parks has carried on that vision. They call their employees “Cast Members” to remind them that they’re part of a bigger story. Cast Members aren’t just filling a position and clocking in and out each day. They’re playing a specific role that pieces together a bigger story to provide the best experience for their customers. 

Disney values every single employee and makes employees eager to come to work each day –  excited about being part of something greater.

How to use this method for excellent customer service:

  • Remind your agents of the bigger picture. When employees know their company’s mission and can identify with the larger business goals, they can see the value they bring and end up caring more about their jobs. 
  • Show your agents the importance of their role. Agents need to know that you care about them as individuals and that you value their work. Spend time getting to know agents individually. Invest in their career development so they feel valued.

[Read Next] What is good customer service? How to exceed your customers’ expectations

2. Cast members have clear goals and expectations so they show up ready for action

Not only do Disney’s Cast Members know they’re valued, but they also know what’s expected of them: to create happiness for every guest. They’ve been trained and prepared to come to work “show-ready” every day.

Disney trains employees to be knowledgeable and fully prepared for whatever comes their way. Cast Members know the ins and outs of the Parks so they can answer any question from a passing guest. Everyone – from The Little Mermaid to the janitor – is expected to pick up trash if they see it. They know the emergency plans for when things go awry, too.

Disney has high expectations for their employees. But those expectations are paired with tons of time and energy invested in training and preparing employees for any scenario. You can’t have high expectations without the right amount of support and coaching to go with it. 

How to use this method for excellent customer service:

  • Prep your agents to show up ready to work. Show your agents what you expect out of their performance every day. What KPIs do they need to meet? And how do those KPIs progress your call center goals and customer outcomes? Set ground rules for when and how agents need to come to work each day. And then, help them meet expectations by surfacing important metrics and performance data daily. Choose three metrics that impact your most important customer goals and serve them up in your agents’ desktop, so they always know how they’re performing against their goals (and their peers).

    Sharpen Performance Tiles

    Employees work harder and smarter when they know what’s expected of them (and how you’ll help them reach those expectations).  
  • Help your agents proactively put out fires. When your agents know how to answer customer problems before they occur, they leave your customers impressed. Write out step-by-step plans for how to handle customer issues that come up. Then train your agents to handle each issue using fallout scripts, role-playing, and in-line coaching inside the queue to identify behaviors that should be repeated and those that need correcting.

[Read Next] How to prepare your customer service for the next generation 

3. Disney sets the right expectations with guests

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or an avid Disney fanatic, Disney wants you to feel comfortable and prepared for your visit. This is part of creating a worry-free and fun-for-the-whole-family experience. 

Disney gives you tons of information about how to plan the perfect trip for your family. Their planDisney website has FAQs, video overviews of each park and resort, and tips from a panel of avid Disney-goers and experts. 

They also offer a Know Before You Go section on their website for recent announcements and updates on Park information. That’s been especially helpful as Disney reopens after the COVID-19 shutdowns. They make a huge effort to help every guest feel safe and know exactly what to expect.

How to use this method for excellent customer service:

  • Think like your customer to discover their most common questions. Learning what issues come up in your customer journey makes you and your team more prepared to handle their FAQs. Then, collaborate with marketing and operations to proactively answer those FAQs where everyone can find them – like on your website or a self-help portal. 
  • Give thorough directions and instructions on your product or service, how to reach out for help, and what customers can expect at the start of their journey. You want your customers to feel confident and prepared from their very first touchpoint with your company.

[Read Next] Practical steps to building a great customer service experience

4. They’re digital omnichannel strategy masterminds

Disney is masterful at using technology to nix worry and hassle for guests. At most amusement parks, you’re always looking for your wallet in a cluttered backpack (or making sure it didn’t slip out of your pocket), counting loose change to buy food, and losing your park map or your tickets. You may still have a lot of fun, but these minor details add a layer of stress to your day.

Disney removes these stressors with things like the My Disney Experience mobile app and MagicBands wearable technology. Disney aggregates all your information – from tickets to reservations to the photos you take in the park – so you have instant access to everything you need in an app. And, your wearable MagicBands store your FastPass tickets, ID info, and even your credit card so you can buy food and souvenirs with just a swipe of your wrist. 

How to use this method for excellent customer service:

  • Review your customer journey and look for ways technology can improve pain points. Maybe you’re a credit union, for instance, and need to connect to members while reducing your overhead. Try adding video tellers housed in a central hub to keep face-to-face interactions while expanding your availability in your community. Whatever business you’re in, figure out how you can connect areas of the customer journey – or eliminate rocky areas completely – with omnichannel strategies.
  • Keep your omnichannel personal. Research and implement ways to speak directly to your customers’ needs with technology. If none of your customers use chat (or want to), don’t add it into your strategy. Make changes to meet the real needs of customers, not to funnel customers into the experience you think they want.   

[Read Next] Omnichannel strategies that will keep you ahead of your competition

5. Feedback feeds their strategy

Disney wants your guest experience to feel the same every time. You shouldn’t arrive and say, “This isn’t as cool as I remembered it being,” or “They used to run a tighter ship back then.” Disney achieves this sort of perfection by asking for lots of customer feedback.

Cast Members sometimes approach and ask random guests for brief feedback on a resort experience or a specific ride. (I give Space Mountain five stars every time.) They also send visitors detailed satisfaction surveys on their latest experience. Plus, they monitor visitors’ online posts and comments to get both positive and negative feedback they can act on.

Then, they make changes based on the feedback. It’s common for Disney employees to follow up with customers after they’ve submitted a survey, so they can get more details to bring to company meetings. Disney constantly upgrades their parks and resorts. And a lot of those upgrades come directly from visitor feedback.

How to use this method for excellent customer service:

  • Collect customer data and feedback whenever you can. Don’t let the fear of negative comments hold you back from learning. In fact, negative comments are often the most useful to help you strengthen your products or services.
  • Make real changes based on what your customers want and need. Don’t just sit on your customer feedback. Look for trends in what they’re saying, so you can know how and where to improve your business. Then, follow up and let your customers know you listened to them.
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