In honor of Disney Institute’s 25th anniversary, Disney Publishing Worldwide has released an updated edition of Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service, the quintessential guide to Disney’s legendary customer service. Authored by Disney Institute and writer Theodore Kinni, the updated book outlines how customer service continues to provide a competitive edge for a company that, as Walt liked to say, “all started with a mouse.”
Exceeding expectations rather than simply satisfying them is the cornerstone of the Disney approach to customer service. Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service outlines how Disney Parks consistently delivers quality service to tens of millions of guests each year. How do we do this? By focusing not just on task, but also on “purpose.” The task of a custodian at Magic Kingdom Park is to keep the park clean, but his purpose is to make guests happy. That’s why you’ll see him providing directions, making small talk with families or even leading impromptu parades.
Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service gives many examples of Disney Institute clients that have used Disney best practices to improve the way they do business. It’s pretty compelling to see the results they enjoy when they find a common purpose – making customers happy.
How, exactly, do you get 20,000 employees to deliver an exceptional customer experience?
You can start by looking to Disney, which is exactly what the NFL’s Super Bowl team is doing in preparation for the big game taking place in Indianapolis in February. As Frank Supovitz, senior vice president of events for the NFL, said to USA Today this week: “Nobody’s better at it in the world than Disney. You see that any time you go to their theme parks. They’re very customer-oriented.”
Disney Institute is in the second phase of a three-part engagement with Supovitz and his Super Bowl team to help implement Fans First, an initiative designed to improve the fan experience – from airport, to parking lot, to stadium seat and back. The secret lies in the upfront training. Everyone (from manager to front-line worker) has to be on the same page and has to have the same customer-focused goal. It’s similar to the approach we use in Disney Parks around the world.
The end goal? Make all Super Bowl fans feel like VIPs.
One of the most interesting and educational aspects of Disney Institute is its backstage tours at Disney Parks. These tours give guests an insider’s look at how Disney makes the magic. Most of them are for business professionals who are learning Disney best practices. But we also offer unique tours for guests vacationing at Walt Disney World Resort – tours that cover multiple theme parks in the same day.
It was 15 years ago today that Disney Institute opened a campus in the area that is now Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa near Downtown Disney. The campus offered a variety of “leisure learning” activities such as cooking and landscaping classes. Eventually, the campus closed and many thought Disney Institute closed with it. But we’re still here, better than ever.
We always offered business programs in addition to the leisure classes. It took us some time, though, to realize that the business programs are our sweet spot. So now we travel the world teaching Disney best practices in leadership, management, service, loyalty and innovation. The programs often include behind-the-scenes experiences at Disney Parks, where you get to see first-hand how Disney keeps things running every day. It’s a pretty cool way to learn from one of the world’s most admired companies.
Here’s programming director Bruce Jones with more on what we do and how we do it.