The Disney Secret
The other day, someone asked me the following question:
“How is it that Disney employees are always able to provide such amazing customer service? At the rides, hotels, and the restaurants? It’s uncanny!”
Well, I know the answer.
They have a secret tool. A secret device. It’s not really a secret, it just seems that way because nobody uses the tool anymore.
Let me explain.
Many moons ago, our daughters reached the perfect age to go to Disney World. At the time, I was a terrified airplane passenger. I was a “white knuckle” flyer and it would take me five (5) martini’s to fly from Louisville to Atlanta (a 1-hour flight).
I visited our family doctors and said, “I don’t want my children to see what I do to myself on an airplane. Please give me something so I can tolerate the flight.” The good doctor gave me a mild sedative and told me “not to take more than two of these and do not drink.”
I didn’t obey his orders.
I washed down multiple pills with Stoli on the rocks. That’s how terrified I was of flying at the time. Side note: this has since been cured by the US Air fearful flyers seminar. We arrive in Orlando and I am an unholy mess. Arriving at Disney World is confusing in and of itself. Just an FYI, throwing in 3 sedatives and 3 Stoli’s doesn’t make it any less difficult.
We make our way to the Contemporary Hotel (Disney) and get checked in. Everyone is having a blast but it was a long night for yours truly. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. the next morning to a horrendous headache. Meanwhile, the tribe is still sleeping. I go down to get some coffee and attempt to get myself together. I find myself in the lobby where there are approximately 15 check-in bays (think a bank teller’s station).
Every 15-20 minutes, a plane bound for Disney World lands. And every 15-20 minutes, a new batch of confused, and sometimes mad travelers enter the lobby of the Contemporary Hotel to check in. They’re frustrated because they don’t know where to go. They have passes and reservations for special deals but have no idea which direction to go. It’s like a scene from the Walking Dead where zombies walk around clueless without any sense of direction.
As I’m slowly coming back to life, I witnessed the tool.
As each hotel guest arrives fussing and huffing, the front desk agents allow each guest to get their ya ya’s out and just listen. They just let them vent. Then, with a smile on their face and a smile on their voice, they explain everything to the guests in a courteous, unhurried manner. And the guests go away smiling and waving at the hotel agent exchanging pleasantries of “thank you so much” and “hope to see you later.” “I’ll say hello to Pluto for you!”
Many of us start out each day with a similar thought to ourselves. Something like “I hope today is a good day and I don’t have to deal with any difficult people.” That’s not what’s going through the mind of the check-in clerks at the Contemporary Hotel. They aren’t worried if the customers are belligerent or not because they have the ‘tool’. They KNOW their customers are going to be unhappy.
And here is the secret: They KNOW they are going to take care of it. They KNOW they have the skill and patience to fix it. They KNOW the guests are going to walk away happy. So they don’t have to WORRY about running into problematic customers. They’ve got the ‘tool’.
It’s called customer service. It’s the confidence of knowing you have the gift to please the agitated customer. It’s not being insulted by someone who jumps in your grill because they are discombobulated. It is enjoying the pleasure of fixing their confusion and their problem instead of being thin-skinned and defensive. And believe me when I tell you the ‘tool’ is not widely used. And with that comes a way for you to succeed in your dream job or your dream career or your dream.