Disney Does it Well

Disney street cleaners, customer service specialists.

Most people that go to a Disney theme park have a good, sometimes great story to tell.  In reading the book “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions” by Guy Kawasaki, I read a personal story in which the individual tells of a situation in which a Disney employee “enchanted him for life.”  This prompted me to tell my little story from our very first trip to Disneyland.  First, a little background.  Our daughter had been wearing braces.  The Orthodontist said she could have them off in time for the trip but had to promise to wear her retainer for two hours every day.

The big wow came about from a moment of panic.  It was late in the day.  As many families did, we grabbed a spot on the curb, to have a good spot for the “Main Street Electrical Parade.”  We had dinner, which was probably hot dogs and drinks.  Our daughter was dropping her retainer into the ice at the bottom of her mostly empty drink cup, getting it cold and putting it into her mouth.  Street cleaners go up and down the street while the pre-parade show is happening.  During they day they have brooms and small covered dust pans.  Prior to the parade they have a garbage can on wheels.  Near the beginning of the parade we gathered up all of our garbage and deposited it in one of these trash containers and off it went.

Of course you know where this is going.  When we realize what has happened, the street cleaner is out of sight.  My daughter and I race down the street to catch him.  We meet a street cleaner but he’s not the right one.  He says there is another just down the street and goes with us to catch him.  Hurrah, it’s the one that took our trash.

I’m ready to start digging through the trash barrel right there on the street.  The two fellows calmly say no we’ll go “back stage.”  They take us into a staff only area and they go through the garbage and find the drink cup.

I have since learned that the strteet cleaners in Disney’s theme parks are asked more questions than any other cast member.  For this reason they get a great deal of training on dealing with guests.  One told me that he has met people from all over the world that he has helped, and he sometimes gets to visit them when he travels.  Disney is a company that is a benchmark in terms of customer service.  People work for Disney just to learn everything they can about how it’s done.  You can of now go to the Disney Institute or just read their book “Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service.”

Lessons from Pike Place Fish Market

The famous Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle.

The Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, WA is famous for WOWing people.  This is the fish market that is famous for throwing fish.  It’s a little bit of theatre and a must do on most Seattle visitors’ itineraries.  This is a company worth emulating and it is easy to learn from John Yokoyama’s great company.  He and long time business coach Jim Bergquist have created a business training division.  There is a training video and a book both called simply “Fish.”  The two men also speak to businesses large and small and at industry conferences.

There are four simple lessons:  1. Play, have fun in your job, it makes a difference for you and for those around you.  2. Be There, be present, be engaged.  3. Choose Your Attitude, you choose what your mood will be, it’s no one’s responsibility but yours.  4. Make Their Day, staff at the fish market entertain and engage the customers.  They take them behind the counter and have them try to catch a fish.  It’s an experience, and many a visitor walks away having had a fishmonger make their day.

Google, Pike Place Fish Market images.  People catching flying fish, kissing fish, and smiling.  Do you have those kinds of smiles in your business?  What can you do this week that will make a difference?

Lessons From the Car Lot

Carl Sewell, author of "Customers for Life"

One of my top ten favorite business books is “Customers for Life” by Dallas car dealer Carl Sewell.  He’s one of the business owners I respect because he understand Retail DNA.  I will refer to this book from time to time to discuss lessons for all of us in retail.  For today’s post I will just share two ideas from Sewell.

The first comes directly from the title of the book.  The subtitle is “How to Turn That One-Time Buyer Into a Lifetime Customer.”  Sewell calculates what a typical customer spends with his dealership over their lifetime.  Without digging up my copy of his book, the number is approximately $330,000.  The specific number is perhaps not important as the book was originally published in 1990 and the numbers are going to be different for your business.  The point here is, when Sewell is dealing with a customer complaint, he judges what they are prepared to do. not by how much they just spent but how much they will spend over their entire lifetime as his customer.

The second concept is very simple but has a profound impact on what the dealership will do for a customer.  Sewell says, whatever you would do for your best friend, you should do for your customer because in retail your customer is you best friend.  For example, he says if your best friend would phone you in the middle of the night because they broke their key off in the door lock, then his customers can call him.  Well, not him directly, his dealership has its own service truck on the road 24 hours a day.

 

Do you love your customers enough to go to these lengths?  What one thing can you implement in the next 30 days to start turning one-time buyers into lifetime customers?