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Live From Walt Disney World


For those of you who know me, you’re probably surprised it took me this long to post a chapter dedicated to Disney. The truth is that I was waiting for my visit this week and inspiration hit me as I walked back into my hotel from a night at Hollywood Studios. Now this is one of my favorite locales, but tonight was one of those lackluster nights. It literally began raining as soon as I arrived and didn’t stop – and not that fun drizzle that feels great on a 90 degree day, but rather that bone soaking torrent that lowers the temperature 20 degrees and smacks of thunder, lightening, and disappointment.

But then I got off of the shuttle, found some dry clothes, and headed out in search of a cupcake. When I walked into the lobby, it immediately became clear why I love this place. The leaders here realized that many families with children had packed it in early and headed back to the resorts. You could tell tensions were running high and family drama was boiling up as parents snapped at children and there were threats of canceling the rest of the vacation echoing through the concourse.

Then he showed up.

Yep, Peter Pan.

In he sauntered with his handlers and in a single moment everything changed. Vacations were saved. Parents realized they didn’t hate their children. And I’m sure somewhere an angel got his wings.  Hyperbole aside, the change in the lobby was immediate and palpable.

The families queued up and as Peter crowed at the top of his voice, it was a signal that the rain had no power here.

It was, as trite as it sounds, a little bit of Disney magic.

This was one of those rubber meets the road moments that really can define what a business stands for – and that is where this company eats. They were simply responding to the needs of their guests. This is a lesson for us all. Are you spending enough time thinking about what your customer needs and helping him or her find it? Are you anticipating needs and meeting them?

If you are, then stop reading now and get back out there and keep up the great work. If not, then work with your teams to spend more time talking to your customers. They may not always come right out and tell you what they need, but they will tell you what they want. And from there, you just have to use a little intuitive thinking and creative planning to hit their expectations.

I want to close by saying that this was one of those amazing “wows” that I have mentioned in earlier posts – and told you weren’t the core of your service model. I stand by that. But just like that dessert you aren’t supposed to eat, it has it’s place. Sometimes a ‘touch ’em all” moment is just what your customer needs: It could be a birthday cake for the customer when you know it’s her birthday, a dessert sent to the table of a regular diner, or that special photo with a beloved cartoon character that makes all the difference.

So, while consistency matters and ultimately drives loyalty, everyone loves a little something extra every now and again.

Talk to you soon. . .I have cupcake with my name on it.

Best Wishes, Tony Johnson @ServiceRecipe

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