Mickey And Minnie At DisneylandA few weeks ago we took an RE Technology staff member to Disneyland for her birthday.  She is in her 30s and had never been.  We all had a blast, even in the cold and the rain.

As a consultant and entrepreneur, I take note of excellence.  Everything we touched and everywhere we went, and everybody we encountered from Disney was excellent.  The trip to Disneyland was as much about learning how to provide awesome service as it was about celebrating a team member’s birthday.  I am sure that there are a thousand books about doing business the “Disney Way,” but I must discourage you from reading them, or even taking my word for it.

Pack up your team and head to Los Angles or Orlando.  It will cost you a small fortune, but you will gain an even larger fortune in fun while you learn a lot about customer service.  Be sure that a person or two in your group requests a button for “First Time at Disney” and “It’s my birthday.”  Another person should buy a necklace of Disney pins and begin trading with the staff.

You will realize that the workers at Disney are not just playing nice.  They are authentic.  They have reached a new plateau with confidence.  They understand that no matter how bad things are at home, with the economy, the rain, or anything – that there is abundant freedom in letting all of that go and treating people nicely.  They realize that being customer-centric is the most fulfilling and rich reward you will ever experience.

How can and MLS or Association leverage this experience?

There are many examples, but I am not sure that they are written down anywhere.  I believe that someone should write a white paper or have a conference that is all about tactical processes for being customer centric.  I pick them up along the way when we do strategic planning.  For example, at an MLS in Southern California they do not track their call center for number of rings or average call duration.  Instead, every staff member is trained to pick up the phone.  Yep!  Staff are answering the phones and talking to customers all day long.  They dumped the “departmental” notion of customer service and decided that every person in the company is responsible for taking care of customers.  Furthermore, if you work there, you should be prepared to help a customer on just about anything they call about.

I think that this spirit is in all of us.  We have seen countless examples of entire cities or even countries stepping up their customer service.  It is pretty simple really.  Just be nice – all of the time!  Here is what my favorite sports writer, Bill Plaschke from the LA Times said about the people of Canada during the Olympics.

There were women giving me directions as if they were my mother reading me a recipe, hand on my back, walking me toward my destination – “OK, now, you go down here a little ways, pass that cute little syrup store, make a left at that fountain.”

There were guys who, standing in one of the endless lines here that the Canadians accepted with such good humor, would ask me if I’m having fun, and did I need anything, and oh, here, let me explain curling, everyone a cousin, every gathering a family reunion.

Then there was the Canadian who literally gave me the shirt off her back. She was a manager at a local bakery that properly boasted of Vancouver’s best cheesecake. After a couple of memorable visits there, I wondered whether they sold T-shirts featuring the name of the shop.

The manager went into the back and came out with red shirt that looked similar to the one she had been wearing. Take it, she said. No charge. Thanks for coming. (Los Angles Times, 2010).

What does your organization do that others can learn from? Leave a comment and share with others.