Disney University: No Mickey
While it may not grant terminal degrees in the subject, The Walt Disney
Company knows a lot about customer service. That's why 250 Emory employees
recently attended a seminar by Jim Cunningham of Disney University Professional
Development Programs called "Service, Disney Style."
Mouse customer service
Cunningham outlined Disney's attitude toward customer service, which is
known as the best in the world.
Disney's methods for customer relations vary according to the situation
and the type of consumer involved, said Cunningham, but overall, the company
strives to pay great attention to detail and to exceed guests expectations.
Cunningham emphasized that Disney takes two points seriously in its view
of customer service. First, "the front line is the bottom line,"
and second, "it's 10 percent product and 90 percent service."
"It's the type of service received that usually determines the decisions
customers make," he said.
Cunningham stressed the importance of getting more information and feedback
from and to the front lines to find out more about customers' wants and
needs. "Answers to customer questions should be fast and accurate,"
"Disney employees constantly ask, 'What makes us Disney? What makes
us different?'" Cunningham continued. "It should be the rallying
cry for any business." The dynamic and interactive model of service
at Disney includes four points set in a connected circle-delivery, setting,
guests and the service goal.
For example, Disney's average guest is a family that has saved for two and
a half years before taking their vacation, Cunningham explained. "Everyone
has certain needs from Disney, certain stereotypes of Disney and certain
emotions involved that determine what they do," he said. "If you
think emotion is a flat line, you're missing the boat-high emotional satisfaction
determines our repeat visitors."
As for Disney's service goal, the message is clear, he said. "We create
happiness. We provide the finest in entertainment for people of all ages
everywhere." In pursuit of this goal, Disney encourages its employees
to be "aggressively friendly" and to focus on their four priorities
for guest entertainment-safety, courtesy, show and efficiency.
Because facts are negotiable but perceptions are not, Cunningham said, setting
takes on great importance. He told the Emory group that 5 percent of all
Kodak film is used for pictures at Disney attractions. Disney's attention
to detail sends staff around the world to recruit cast members and to get
Cunningham ended the seminar with a quote from Walt Disney himself: "You
don't build it for yourself. You know what people want and you build it
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