Let me just preface this blog post by saying that I am not a fan of Disney, probably because I prefer reality over fantasy and would rather spend a vacation experiencing culture than cartoons.
However, when my husband and I took our kids to California this summer, we knew we’d have to spend an expensive day at Disneyland (which would get us out of going to Disney World). Not only did I survive Disneyland, but I used it as a learning opportunity and ended up paying very close attention to their operations and customer service.
As it turns out, Mickey Mouse is on to something. Here are the 5 customer service lessons I picked up Disneyland:
1. Service needs to go beyond friendly and helpful
As I expected, everyone was very friendly and helpful, whether they worked in a shop, operated a ride, or organized the crowds lined up to greet a character. But service went beyond that, which really impressed me. Even on a busy summer day, employees actually stopped to chat with you, answer questions, or ask you how your day was going.
Takeaway: Encourage your employees to interact and check in with your clients, even if it’s “not their job,” because good customer service is everyone’s job.
2. Clean and neat facilities show that you care about your brand, customers and employees
The park and everything in it was immaculate. Buildings and rides were well-maintained and looked like new despite constant use – even the original rides from the 1950s! Park benches were everywhere.
The gardens and pathways were manicured and clean, and the displays in the shops were always organized, no matter how many people were browsing. I bet that if I had visited the back of the house (employee-only areas), I would have found the same attention to detail.
Takeaway: Paying attention to big and small details and continually maintaining all of your assets shows your clients and employees that you care.
3. Celebrate your clients
Disney makes it easy to celebrate their guests. We saw lots of people wearing birthday, first-time visit, and just-married buttons pinned to their shirts, names proudly displayed on them. I ended up with a birthday button even though it wasn’t my birthday (long story), and even Princess Elsa wished me happy birthday from high atop her float. My kids were jealous.
Takeaway: It’s so easy to make your clients feel special that it’s silly not to do so.
4. Do everything you can to minimize waits
I have heard horror stories of wait times at Disney rides, but we only encountered them at Space Mountain (and ended up not going on it as a result). Disney does their best to minimize wait times, which certainly made our experience much more enjoyable. Many rides have double lines, and many rides move continuously so that you end up never waiting for very long – a super smart move on their part.
Additionally, you can use their FastPass system on the most popular rides, which lets your reserve a ride time (in one-hour blocks). Show up anytime during that hour and bypass the regular line. It doesn’t cost anything extra, it just required a little planning on our end.
Takeaway: Deliver products and services quickly, and your clients will notice, remember and tell others.
5. Exceed expectations
I started out this blog post by telling you that I am not a Disney fan, but I am the first to admit that our day at Disneyland was a lot of fun. Their attention to detail and extraordinarily high service levels really blew me away, greatly exceeded my expectations, and almost justified the high cost of admission.
Takeaway: Exceed expectations, and maybe your clients will blog about you!
If you’ve been to Disneyland or Disney World, what other aspects of your visit really stood out in your mind?