How Can We All Get A Bit Of Disney Magic

Maybe we all need a lot of Mickey Mouse in our business. Certainly business can gain a lot by sprinkling a bit of Disney Magic!

It is the little things that count, and often it’s the simple things as well – it’s the compound effect of too many little breakdowns can cause a massive melt down.


How many times for those who travel by rail regularly(on virgin trains for example), do you hear the message “our seat reservations systems aren’t working properly” or “the seat reservations haven’t downloaded at our starting destination”.

This is a basic of service or what we call ‘TAGS’ – Taken As Given, it is what we expect.  When you have booked your ticket online it has asked you to select your seat preference (facing forward, with a table etc) so why therefore is this then not translated to the actual seat?  I have had so many instances now of no seat reservations and arguments with other passengers who are sat in my seat refusing to move.

I have also witnessed one customer being so abusive with another passenger that she started to cry!  So something that is a TAG or basic to us, should be to the companies that are offering a service for which we pay.  But I am now resigned to the ‘seat reservation announcement’ as it happens all to often.

We now also live in a virtual world and expect to be constantly connected, so another TAG is to have a wifi that is advertised that works. This appears to also be getting worse, on Thursday last week I had to log off and onto the #vriginwifi 5 times, in the end gave up and starting typing this blog.

There are a few comments about the broken TAG’s on twitter …also a comment from Which about First Group who have won the contract over Virgin Rail, despite Virgin having higher satisfaction scores at 64% – which whilst not great is better than FirstGroup, so that does not bode well for an improved travel experience.




Which Leads Me On To Measurement

There has been lots of debate about what is the right measure for Customer Satisfaction.   Is it cSat (customer satisfaction), NPS (net promoter score), CES (Customer Effort Score) or another measure that is the magic silver bullet.


Many businesses get lost in the measure itself and obsess over how they can make the score better. How it is measured? Should they switch to another measure? Should they add another measure?

My view is you need to look deeper than the actual measure itself and see what your customers are telling you – the good, the bad and the down right ugly.  Look at the comments from your surveys, looks at the reasons why customers are contacting you about their poor experiences and focus on getting the TAG’s in the business right.

I thought long and hard about the company that I feel was still best in ‘getting it right almost nearly every time’ – lets face it no-one is perfect.  One company that I have experienced of, still tops the charts for me and that is Walt Disney World – businesses can learn a lot from Disney and not just the fun bits.

I was very fortunate to have spent a few days getting to know them better in February 2011. I was speaking at a conference at one of their fabulous hotels and their Vice President of Customer Service invited me to go underground to see how the heart of how Disney operates.

I was amazed at how business like this underground world was, from the Company Mission, Vision and Values down to their processes, recruitment techniques and so on. What humbled me was the story of Walt Disney, his Vision and Ambition to build this World where dreams are made.


 It opened on October 01st 1971 after being designed to every last detail by Walt himself in the 1960’s. Sadly he died on 15th December 1966 before it was even out of the ground.  His brother and business partner Roy O Disney postponed his retirement to see his brothers Vision through. This is what makes this achievement even more remarkable.

It is the clarity of that Vision, the Values, the employee engagement and the attention to detail, that makes this a Dream come true for every last guest of the very busy world. This is ruthlessly executed every single day. Nothing is left to chance. Precision is everything with checks and then checks again in place.

I experienced the amazing parks themselves during the day, as my family came along for a holiday (on the days I wasn’t working of course), and saw for myself how this overnight precision – perfected to a fine art, delivered a fresh experience, despite there being a constant flow of thousands and thousands of guests.

Then by night I went back to the underground world to see their 24 hours operation in action.  Once the guests had left, an army of people appeared as if out of the ground.  Every nook and cranny was swept and polished, plants that weren’t flowering were replaced, buildings were touched up with paint, every bin was emptied, even though I had never seen an overflowing bin throughout my stay. Stores were restocked completely, catering facilities refreshed and so on.

It was as though every evening the World was refreshed.  When I asked why?  The answer ‘All our guests should experience the magic as if it was built for them yesterday.’  So everyday this is what all their cast members deliver for their guests no matter who they are.

An article written here by Miles Free for Production Machining Magazine Apply The Disney Lesson reiterates this message and shows how even manufacturing companies can learn a lot from the Disney way.

I would add to this that not just manufacturing. ANY organisation that serves Customers can learn a lot from their complete Company ethos, delivered with precision, with every Cast member and every Guest, every second of every day.  Guess what – Disney have one the highest Customer Satisfaction scores of the top 100 US businesses, they obsess about what makes the score, not the score itself.

At Disney, the Magic is delivered not just the dust, but by the process that leads to it being sprinkled by Tinkerbelle.