Yesterday’s post was an introduction to the concept of the Balance of Art and Science when it comes to Guest Experiences in ChurchWorld. My primary resource in this current series is Doug Lipp, author of the new book Disney U.
Lipp is a world-renowned speaker and acclaimed expert on customer service, leadership, and change management. Former head of the training team at the Disney University, he has inspired and challenged hundreds of thousands with his thought-provoking messages and high energy, entertaining style.
In an earlier book entitled Even Monkeys Fall from Trees, Lipp makes the assertion that outstanding Guest Experience comes from a balance of both art and science. It’s fully developed in the book, but here is a quick review:
According to Lipp, the “art” of Guest Experience comes from three basic skills:
- Active/Empathetic Listening
- Ability to Apologize
Focus and attention are what is required to become an active and empathetic listener. To be an active and empathetic listener, listen closely and carefully to what the other person is saying and how the words are being said to get at the real meaning.
To show sincerity, you need to truly mean what you say – or at least back up your words with the actions, body language, and inflections which are congruent with your message.
The final fundamental skill you need to successfully practice the art of Guest Experiences is the ability to apologize. A sincere apology has magical powers to defuse tense situations and calm the Guest.
Now it is time to look at the other side of the scale, at the “science” of Guest Experiences. This science is grounded in providing the correct information the Guest needs in an effective way. This information-oriented approach contrasts to the emotion-oriented approach of the “art.” Both are essential.
It is much easier to master the science basics, since these depend on the hard facts of knowledge. The fundamentals of knowledge you need to have are:
- Product/Service/Guest Knowledge
- Role/Organization Knowledge
Excellence in service knowledge means that you know fully the range of services offered by your organization. The best way to do this is to look at your organization from the eyes of your Guests. By looking at what your organization does for your Guests and knowing what they are likely to expect, you know better how to deal with any problems that can occur when your Guest’s expectations aren’t met.
Beyond knowing about your organization’s services, each team member needs to know the organization’s overall mission and goals, and perhaps some general background on the organization’s history.
It’s not so easy to find the right art and science balance, even when you know the mechanics of balancing the emotional and informational components that make up good service. You need both sides to deliver outstanding Guest Experience. The hard/science side of things tends to be easier to grasp. The soft/art qualities are much more difficult to teach or learn, because they are so personal, subjective, and situational.
Guest Experience teams cannot choose one approach over the other. You must be good at using both and knowing the appropriate times to use them.
the GsD (Doctor of Guestology): Spring 2013