In this age in which customer service is an oxymoron, I experienced something that blew me away. It was a conversation I had with a Disney World employee the Wednesdaydaybefore this past [LE1] Thanksgiving. Before I get to the punchline, let me give you more background information.
We were in Orlando, FL spending the week with our youngest daughter, who also works at Disney World. It had been over 20 years since we were there. Our daughter couldn’t have been more than three then. I remember standing in those long line and squeezing into the Tea Cup ride. (I’m 6’7” tall.) I also remember I was catching hell at work at the time, but I wasn’t going to show it because I wanted her, our other two daughters and my wife to have a great time.
Now let’s fast forward to our latest visit. We had our three-year-old grandson with us and had gone to Epcot and Disney World thetwo days before. On the third day, wWe were at Disney HollywoodStudiosthe third day. While waiting on the ride shuttleback to the hotel, I struck up a conversation with a young lady who directed cars where to park in the lot. She,at that time, was also waiting on her ride and had a very big smile on her face. I thought it was either because of who was picking her up or because she had ended a long day. To my surprise, it was neither. She told me she loved what she did. I asked, “Why?” She responded, “I create the magic.” She then said she knows that every adult, and sometimes kids, who visit the park has a story, specifically, is dealing with some type of difficult situation. By greeting them with a smile and being helpful, she creates the magic they will experience during their time at the park. For most, especially international visitors, it will be their first and only visit to the park. The next thing I knew, I was also smiling. I was smilingbecause she wasn’t approaching her job that way because of how much she got paid or for tips—she was because of people.
Her enthusiasm, along with our daughter’s and her three roommates who also work there, restored my faith in customer service. Think about it, that young lady is out there with that mindset in 100-degree heat and 90 percent humidity, rain, the occasional cold weather, and the rude customers they have to deal with.
I started thinking what could other companies, including mine, learn for her and Disney. The secret sauce just isn’t the type of people you hire; it is the culture management sets. The only way employees can make customers feel special is if leadership is making them feel special. To that point, most companies view customer service as an expense to minimize instead of a competitive advantage to maximize.
I will end today’s blog with a question: “What are you doing to make your employees feel valued and know that they are the ones—not you and senior leadership—who create the magic yourcustomers seeexperience?”