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Impress Your Guests With the Details

February 7, 2011

This past weekend my family and I went to Walt Disney World (with a three-year old who has already been more times than I went in my entire life before she was born).  Like many other business professionals, I use Disney as a model for my department’s philosophy on providing excellence in customer service.  I think most would agree that there are very few companies out there who provide a better customer experience.

What also impresses me is Disney’s attention to details.  Years ago I heard how they did studies to find out the average amount of time it took a typical guest to eat something from their free-standing food units.  They then placed garbage cans in each direction based on average walking time so it would be easy to throw out the box or cup.

If you drive to the parks you know you dread that final walk to the parking lot with the family, not wanting to tell them you forgot where you parked (even though the tram driver told you about 10 times).  Disney is ready for you, just tell a park attendant what time you parked and they will “magically” find you car (really they have a card that records what lot they were parking in at each time throughout the day).

Even when you first enter the park, if you are carrying a bag, it is policy to go through bag check.  But this is no ordinary check, ask the guard what they are checking and they’ll tell you they are searching for “mouse traps.”

There are literally millions of details that Disney has intentionally put into place to ensure their guests have a magical experience.  This past weekend I witnessed yet another that served so very helpful to my family.  Like the rest of Florida, it rained on and off most of the weekend.

We were at Hollywood Studios during one of the showers.  Shortly after our 4-month old needed to be fed and clothes changed so we headed for one of the benches.  Just before we were about to sit down we almost made that fearful mistake of sitting on a wet bench.  Guess what we found, it was completely dry…magically less than 10 minutes after the rain, all of the benches were dried off so the guests would not be inconvenienced (and I still did not see anyone actually doing it…it really was magic).

So the next time you are evaluating your operations, take another page from Disney.  Thinking about your guests (either of your facility or your programs, etc.) pay attention to the details that will really make a difference to them.  Put yourself in your guest’s shoes and address every possible detail you can think of.  This is how you can strive for excellence in everything that you do and impress your guests every step of the way.

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