Today in the Magic Kingdom – A Field Trip for Guest Experiences

Greetings from Magic Kingdom!

courtesy John Skodak, CC 3343087934

courtesy John Skodak, CC 3343087934

When the rope drops this morning, I will already be inside the park, participating in the “Keys of the Kingdom” tour. Later in the day, I will be doing some “field work” for a Guest Experiences project – you’ll be hearing about it soon!

In the meantime, enjoy these Top Ten Takeaways from a Disney World Immersion from a previous visit.

Disney Expects Guests – What About You?

The Experience Begins in the Parking Lot

Excellence is Never Finished

Vision for the Future

Pay Attention to Details Others Ignore

Engaging All 5 Senses Creates Memory Links

Making Dreams Come True Requires Resources

Everybody Picks Up the Trash

Team Members Who Dream Together Create Fantastic Results

Everything Begins with a Story

It’s Hard to Forget the Fireworks at the End of the Day

Yes, you counted right – there were 11 Takeaways – but it’s about Disney, where they always exceed your expectations!

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram for live updates throughout the day. I’ll be there from before it opens, till after it closes, with the Kiss Goodnight

photo by Tom Brickman

photo by Tom Brickman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Always Remember Your Guest Gets to Make the Call

When it comes to measuring the success of your Guest’s experience, you don’t get to make the call – your Guest does.

No matter how hard you prepare, no matter how well you execute, and no matter how extraordinary the experience, in the end, it’s your Guest who decides if the experience was a success.

What do you do, then?

The best, the only thing you can do, is set the stage for success.

And that is accomplished through people – your Guest Experience Teams.

Are you looking for help in developing friendly, knowledgeable, passionate Guest Teams that deliver a WOW Guest Experience every time?

Maybe it’s time for you to go back to the university – but not just any university…

One year ago today, one of the most significant books related to the Disney organization and Guest Experiences was released. Entitled Disney U, it’s a very powerful and personal story by Doug Lipp, former team leader of the acclaimed Disney University. Lipp mentored under a number of Disney University visionaries, most notably Disney U founder Van France.

In honor of the one year anniversary of the release of Disney U, I will be revisiting a series from the book that originally ran last year.

Disneyland will never be completed. We’ve certainly lived up to that promise. But what about the people who operate it? Are we growing with the show or just getting older? The trouble with people is that we get hardening of the mental arteries, cirrhosis of the enthusiasm, and arthritis of the imagination, along with chronic and sometimes acute allergies to supervision, subordinates, and the whole darned system. 

Is it possible that what we have gained through experience we have lost through habit, and that what we have gained through organization, we have lost in enthusiasm?

Van France, Introduction to his “Proposed Program of the University of Disneyland, 1962-1963

Your Guest Experience Teams are the foundation of the measure of success of your Guest’s experience.

Disney U will give you that foundation.

Next: Begin the Disney U experience with Setting the Stage for Success

 

Disney U

Disney’s Imagineers: Designing the Total Guest Experience

Designing the Guest’s experience is what Walt Disney’s Imagineers came to call “the art of the show,” a term that applies to what the Imagineers did at every level, from the broadest conceptual outlines to the smallest details, encompassing visual storytelling, characters, and the use of color.

Today is eighth and concluding session of Summer Term II of the 2013 GsD program with Applied Guestology 201, a review of some of the leading organizations who deliver exemplary Guest Experiences with application to ChurchWorld.

As I conclude this brief look at Applied Guestology 201, it’s only fitting to come full circle to where we started: Walt Disney and the worlds he created.

The Imagineers design intention is always to give satisfaction to the guest.

John Hench, Imagineering genius and Disney team member for 60+ years

Walt Disney realized that a visit to an amusement park could be like a theatrical experience – in a word, a show. Walt saw that the Guests’ sense of progressing through a narrative, of living out a story told visually, could link together the great variety of attractions he envisioned for his new kind of park. While traveling through their stories, Guests would encounter, and even interact with, their favorite Disney characters, and who would be transformed, as if by magic, from their two-dimensional film existence into this special three-dimensional story world.

As designers, the Imagineers create spaces – guided experiences that take place in carefully structured environments, allowing the Guests to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste in new ways. In effect, Imagineers transform a space into a story place.

Ultimately, the Imagineers gave Guests a place to play, something Walt believed that adults needed as much as children. The design of the Imagineers gives power to the Guests’ imagination, to transcend their everyday routine. Walt Disney insisted that Guests should “feel better because of” their experiences in Disney theme parks, thus establishing the art of the show.

For the Imagineers, that meant considering everything within and relating to the parks as design elements. To build effective story environments and assure Guest comfort, the designers realize that they always had to assume the Guests’ position and point of view, and just as Walt did, to take the Guests’ interests to heart and defend them when others didn’t think it mattered.

It is up to the designers to provide Guests with the appropriate sensory information that makes each story environment convincing. This means that design considerations go beyond the attractions themselves to the service and operations staff, transportation, restaurants, shops, rest rooms – even the trash cans.

Initially, the Imagineers used the knowledge gained from their experience in films, but they soon found that their Guests themselves would teach them what they most needed to know about theme park design and operation.

To design most effectively for Guests, the Imagineers learned that they had to observe them up close, waiting in lines with them, going on attractions with them, even eating with them. The Imagineers paid attention to Guests’ patterns of movement and the ways in which they expressed their emotions. They were able to get an idea of what was going on in their minds.

When designers see Guests in their natural states of behavior, they gain a better understanding of the space and time Guests need in a story environment.

WD Guest quote DI

Disney Imagineer Marty Sklar, who retired in 2009 as the only Disney employee to have participated in the opening of all eleven theme parks around the world, is noted for many things, but one of the most cherished has to be his creation of “Mickey’s Ten Commandments.”

During his 54-year career, Sklar was involved in all facets of the theme parks – from concepts to design to operations. Along the way, he developed, refined and practiced key principles of leadership based on what he learned from Walt Disney and other Disney Legends, especially designer John Hench. He crystalized these “learnings” into the first of what he called Mickey’s Ten Commandments:

  1. Know your audience – Identify the prime audience for your attraction or show before you begin design
  2. Wear your Guests’ shoes – Insist that your team members experience your creation just the way Guests do
  3. Organize the flow of people and ideas – Make sure there is a logic and sequence in our stories and the way Guests experience them
  4. Create a wienie (visual magnet) – Create visual “targets” that will lead Guests clearly and logically through your facility
  5. Communicate with visual literacy – Make good use of color, shape form, texture – all the nonverbal ways of communication
  6. Avoid overload – create turn-ons – Resist the temptation to overload your audience with too much information and too many objects
  7. Tell one story at a time – Stick to the story line; good stories are clear, logical, and consistent
  8. Avoid contradictions – maintain identity – Details in design or content that contradict one another confuse an audience about your story or the time period it takes place in
  9. For every once of treatment, provide a ton of treat – Walt Disney said you can educate people, but don’t tell them you’re doing it. Make it fun!
  10. Keep it up! (Maintain it) – In a Disney park or resort, everything must work. Poor maintenance is poor show!

Exceeding Guests’ expectations is Disney’s Guest Service strategy, and paying attention to every detail is the tactic by which it is accomplished.

Class dismissed.

 

Application for ChurchWorld

Really? If you are involved in Guest Services at your church in any capacity, and can’t see the immediate and powerful application of Mickey’s Ten Commandments to your own Guest Services process, may I kindly suggest you are serving in the wrong ministry area?

Be Our Guest” has been the invitation to Disney visitors long before the song from Beauty and the Beast became a box office hit.

It underscores an important element in the Disney vocabulary, that customers are not referred to as such, but rather as Guests. In the Disney nomenclature, the word “Guest” is capitalized and treated as a formal noun.

What’s the difference between treating someone like a visitor, and treating someone like a Guest?

The obvious analogy is that we do things differently when we bring Guests into our home. We clean up the house. We dress up. We prepare something special to eat. We host them. We take care of their real needs.

Disney expects Guests

At Disney theme parks around the world, they expect Guests – and plan to exceed their Guests’ expectations every time. What about you?

Are you expecting Guests?

Recommended Reading for this session:

Designing Disney: Imagineering and the Art of the Show, John Hench

Dream It, Do It: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms, Marty Sklar

(for a complete reading list, see The Essential Guest Experience Library)

Guestology – the art and science of knowing and understanding your guests – is a term originated by Bruce Laval of the Walt Disney Company. The use of GsD is a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment that organizations that really want to understand and deliver a WOW Guest Experience need to study the best practices and principles in use today, and then adapt them to the context of their own environment.

the GsD (Doctor of Guestology) journey: 2nd Term Summer 2013

 

The Ritz Carlton: Ladies and Gentlemen, Serving Ladies and Gentlemen

Today is the third session of Summer Term II of the 2013 GsD program with Applied Guestology 201, a review of some of the leading organizations who deliver exemplary Guest Experiences with application to ChurchWorld.

When it comes to refined service and exquisite hospitality, one name stands high above the rest: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. With ceaseless attention to every luxurious detail, the company has set the bar for creating memorable customer experiences in world-class settings.

The Ritz Carlton: Ladies and Gentlemen, Serving Ladies and Gentlemen

Ritz Carlton logo polished

The brass lion at Ritz Carlton symbolizes excellence. Here’s a quick look at values statements – their Gold Standards – that are used to develop that excellence.

The Credo

  • The Ritz-Carlton is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission
  • We pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guest who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambiance
  • The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wished and needs of our guests

The Motto

At the Ritz Carlton, “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” This motto exemplifies the anticipatory service provided by all staff members.

The Three Steps of Service

  • A warm and sincere greeting, using the guest’s name
  • Anticipation and fulfillment of each guest’s needs
  • A fond farewell, giving a warm goodbye, and using the guest’s name

12 Service Values 

  • I build strong relationships and create Ritz-Carlton guests for life
  • I am always responsive the expressed and unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests
  • I am empowered to create unique, memorable, and personal experiences for our guests
  • I understand my role in achieving the Key Success Factors, embracing community footprints, and creating the Ritz-Carlton mystique
  • I continually seek opportunities to innovate and improve the Ritz-Carlton experience
  • I own and immediately resolve guest problems
  • I create a work environment of teamwork and lateral service so that the needs of our guests and each other are met
  • I have to opportunity to continuously learn and grow
  • I am involved in the planning of the work that affects me
  • I am proud of my professional appearance, language, and behavior
  • I protect the privacy and security of our guests, my fellow employees, and the company’s confidential information and assets
  • I am responsible for uncompromising levels of cleanliness and creating a safe and accident-free environment

As the Ritz Carlton staff lives out these values every day, it’s easy to understand the following comment:

My name is Herve Humler and I am the president of Ritz-Carlton… and I am a very important person. But you are more important than I am. You are the heart and soul of this building.

Herve Humler, addressing hotel staff shortly before the grand opening of Ritz-Carlton’s Hong Kong property

Diana Oreck, the vice president for Ritz Carlton’s executive training facility, was recently interviewed by Ashley Verrill from Customer Service Investigator. The entire interview is a must read, but one question in particular stands out.

Q. Ritz-Carlton puts a lot of emphasis on successful new hire orientation. Why is this important?

A lot of companies have a notion that employee orientation really needs to be a data dump of the company, and statistics and who’s doing what. It really isn’t. You are making a very big decision in your life to either start a job or change a job. So, we feel orientation needs to be a significant emotional experience. And the reason we do that is we know that this creates passionate advocates of our employees. We don’t think that it’s realistic to ask that your customer be a passionate, raving fan if your employees aren’t first.

The results from this passion and culture are very evident.

Ritz-Carlton Hotel has once again ranked highest in the luxury brand segment, for an impressive fourth year in a row by J.D. Power and Associates.

“We could not be prouder of our ladies and gentlemen all over the world for their commitment to excellence every single day,” said Herve Humler, President and CEO for The Ritz-Carlton. He continued,

The results speak for themselves. At a time when hotel guest satisfaction scores have increased to a seven-year high, The Ritz-Carlton plays a commanding role. It is an honor to be recognized by J.D. Power and Associates in their 2013 Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study with such outstanding results, leading our competitors in the luxury set, consecutively for the past four years. To achieve the highest ranking in Customer Satisfaction is a commitment of our service promise – to exceed our guest’s needs and expectations.

Application to ChurchWorld

It’s one thing to have a Credo, a Motto, Three Steps of Service, and 12 Service Values like the Ritz-Carlton. Many businesses go through the exercise of defining key values or composing mission statements. They might even display them in their literature, or in imposing art displays on the corporate walls.

How many organizational leaders understand the importance of regular and repetitive presentation of the core aspects of their business – not only to management, but also to their front-line staff?

Enter the “lineup” at Ritz-Carlton.

To truly appreciate the Ritz-Carlton leadership approach to repeated dissemination of their service culture, you would have to drop in on a section of the housekeeping staff as they prepare for their days work – or at the corporate headquarters – or in the kitchen of the fine restaurants that serve the hotel chain – or anywhere, and everywhere, throughout the entire organization.

You would observe that a meeting is taking place at the beginning of each shift. Not just any meeting, though: the leader in each group starts by sharing the Credo and talking about the importance of creating a unique guest experience. Another team member might share a guest story from a Ritz-Carlton hotel in another country. Another team member shares how what they do in their department helps create memorable guest experiences. Then a few quick announcements, special recognitions are given, and another team member closes the meeting with a motivational quote.

All in about 20 minutes.

Every day.

On every shift.

In every Ritz-Carlton hotel and office around the world.

The magic of the lineup involves the following:

  • Repetition of values – the core belief that values need to be discussed daily, and that values can’t be discussed enough
  • Common language – shared phrases across all tasks binds the team together
  • Visual symbols – The Credo is printed on a card that all team members carry at all times
  • Oral traditions – Personal, direct, and face-to-face communication makes a huge impact in a world increasingly dominated by e-mail, text, and voice messages
  • Positive storytelling – stories communicate life in a powerful and memorable way
  • Modeling by leaders – the active, daily presence of the leaders communicates the importance of the time together

What would a “lineup” for each of your teams do to preserve the core values, communicate the importance of everyone on the team, and provide momentum for the day’s activities?

Recommended Reading for this session:

The New Gold Standard, Joseph A. Michelli

(for a complete reading list, see The Essential Guest Experience Library)

Guestology – the art and science of knowing and understanding your guests – is a term originated by Bruce Laval of the Walt Disney Company. The use of GsD is a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment that organizations that really want to understand and deliver a WOW Guest Experience need to study the best practices and principles in use today, and then adapt them to the context of their own environment.

the GsD (Doctor of Guestology) journey: 2nd Term Summer 2013


For more great information on Guest Experiences, be sure to check out Guest Experience Design.

Walt Disney – the Father of Guestology

Walt Disney was the originator of the practices that came to be called Guestology. The Disney organization remains the world’s foremost practitioner of the Art & Science of serving their Guests.

Because of that, I’m starting Summer Term II of the 2013 GsD program with Applied Guestology 201, a quick review of some of the leading organizations who deliver exemplary Guest Experiences with application to ChurchWorld. We begin with Walt Disney and move from there to several well-known organizations, wrapping this course up by returning back to the Magic Kingdom.

Walt Disney – the Father of Guestology

courtesy 9hdw.com

courtesy 9hdw.com

In order to understand the magic of Disney’s Guestology, you need to know a little about Walt Disney, and why he cared so much about customer service. When he threw his energies into the creation of Disneyland in the early 1950s, he was totally concentrated on the guest experience. The very idea for Disneyland was born in Saturday trips to amusement parks that Walt Disney made with his two daughters. In those days, amusement parks were disreputable, dirty, and often in poor condition. While watching and waiting on his daughters to finish their rides, he began to watch the other customers and how they reacted to the parks.

A single question drove Disney: How could this experience be improved for the entire family?

Walt’s answer was to create a new kind of amusement park, a “theme” park with an intense focus on the guest experience. With his successful background in animation and movies, and with a studio of brilliant, creative minds to work with, Disney created a “living show.”

With a little bit of the same magic, your organization can do the same.

Be Our Guest” has been the invitation to Disney visitors long before the song from Beauty and the Beast became a box office hit. It underscores an important element in the Disney vocabulary, that customers are not referred to as such, but rather as Guests. In the Disney nomenclature, the word “Guest” is capitalized and treated as a formal noun.

What’s the difference between treating someone like a customer, and treating someone like a Guest?

The obvious analogy is that we do things differently when we bring Guests into our home. We clean up the house. We dress up. We prepare something special to eat. We host them. We take care of their real needs.

Disney expects Guests

This principle has to be the starting point, the foundation on which all else is built. Everything – and I mean everything – is done with the Guest in mind. At Walt Disney World, exceeding Guest expectations is the standard call to duty for all cast members, both those “onstage” and “backstage”.

Quality Service is Disney’s behind-the-scenes name for its customer service processes, and is simply defined as follows:

Quality Service means exceeding your Guests’ expectations by paying attention to every detail of the delivery of your products and services.

That’s it. The magic of Disney’s customer service is paying attention to details. But as you might expect, the simplicity of those few words is lived out daily by tens of thousands of Cast Members performing and interacting with hundreds of thousands of Guests, all delivered with a magical smile.

The WOW! Factor of Exceeding Guest Expectations

  • Superlative face-to-face service
  • Paying close attention to every aspect of the Guest Experience
  • Analyzing that experience from the Guest’s perspective
  • Understanding the needs and wants of the Guest
  • Committing every element of the organization – from the design of the infrastructure to the interaction between Guest and Cast – to the creation of an exceptional experience

Be Our Guest, The Disney Institute

Exceeding Guests’ expectations is Disney’s service strategy, and paying attention to every detail is the tactic by which it is accomplished.

That’s how Disney does customer service. A common purpose generates quality standards. The standards are defined and delivered using three basic systems that every organization shares: its people, its physical assets, and its processes. All three are integrated and aligned to produce the Disney brand of magic.

At Walt Disney World, they expect Guests – and plan to exceed their Guests’ expectations every time. What about you?

Are you expecting Guests?

Application to ChurchWorld

When it comes to ChurchWorld, more often than not we have visitors.

It may be a little thing to you, just a word, but I think it’s actually a powerful first impression that needs to change.

Do you have Visitor parking? Visitor packets? A Visitor’s Center? Do you welcome your visitors during the worship experience? And on and on…

The first step in creating a WOW! Guest experience is to remove the word visitor from your vocabulary, never to be used again.

It’s a little thing to be sure. But it’s a mindset change that will really impact how you create the rest of the experience at your church.

You are expecting Guests this weekend.

Guests come to your place, looking for a warm greeting, a smiling face, and an experience designed to make them feel like, well, Guests. Nothing phony, manipulative, or in-your-face; just welcome them as guests with the most sincere, energizing, and loving experiences you can.

Start with this simple change that conveys a powerful image, one that will be reflected through your church – and you have taken a HUGE step in understanding what Guestology is all about.

Recommended Reading:

(For a complete reading list, see The Essential Guest Experience Library)

Guestology – the art and science of knowing and understanding your guests – is a term originated by Bruce Laval of the Walt Disney Company. The use of GsD is a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment that organizations that really want to understand and deliver a WOW Guest Experience need to study the best practices and principles in use today, and then adapt them to the context of their own environment.

the GsD (Doctor of Guestology) journey: 2013 Summer Term II

 

It All Began With a Mouse…

The title of this post is actually a quote from Walt Disney himself, when asked to reflect upon the vast Disney empire shortly before his death in 1966. While Disneyland was successful, Disney World was 5 years from opening and EPCOT was just a few sketches on paper.

But Disney didn’t coin the term “Imagineer” for nothing.

The magic that Disney brought to the world was summed up in this phrase: “My business is making people, especially children, happy.” More than a statement, it was the basis for Disney’s mission as a business; it represented what the company stands for and why it exists. Changing just a little over the past 60 years, it is The Walt Disney Company’s service theme:

We create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages, everywhere

If you want to understand the “Process” of Guest Services, there is no better place to go than the Disney Company and look at their practical magic for creating the best known Guest experiences in the world.

Practical Magic

Disney has a simple definition for quality service – exceeding your guests’ expectations and paying attention to detail.

The Disney WOW! Factor is exceeding guests’ expectations

  • Paying close attention to every aspect of the guest experience
  • Analyzing that experience from the guest’s perspective
  • Understanding the needs and wants of the guest
  • Committing every element of the process to the creation of an exceptional experience

At Disney, the word Guest is always capitalized and treated as a formal noun.

Quality Service Cycle – the Practical Magic of Disney

  • Service theme – a simple statement, shared among all team members, that becomes the driving force of the service
  • Service standards – the criteria for actions that are necessary to accomplish the service theme
  • Service delivery systems – vehicles used to deliver service
  • Service integration – each element in the QSC combined to create a complete operating system

Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? It is, and should be – at least from your perspective. Spend a lot of time getting it right. Set up all the process you need to make it work. Implement your process. Evaluate it rigorously, and change it when necessary. Guestology, as Disney calls it, is both an art and a science.

But to the guest, it should all appear effortless.

The weekend’s coming – are you ready to welcome guests in your church?

From Be Our Guest, Revised Edition, by The Disney Institute