John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog

Reverse Secret Service at Westin Hotels: Similarities between your employees’ jobs and Disney’s cast members: Southwest Airlines rapping flight attendant: Steve Jobs Quote

“Changing the World by Creating a Customer Service Revolution…”

Innovation Secrets by Carmine Gallo

Reverse Secret Service – While reading The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, by Carmine Gallo, I came across an innovative initiative by the Westin Hotels, designed to encourage deeper relationships between hotel employees and guests: New employee name tags, which included this phrase, “My passion is ___________.”  Westin executives said that the passion tags opened a dialogue between the company’s staff and its guests, and when guests start talking, they are much more forthcoming about any issues that might concern them during their stay.  A simple phrase on a nametag encourages guests to talk and engage, and find out similarities and common interests, thus helping to break down barriers and create emotional connections.

Call Center & Cast Members – Do you have employees in mundane roles, doing the same task over and over again all day long, answering the same questions, dealing with frustrated customers, whose problems and issues where not your fault? Well guess who else has the exact same scenarios, maybe even worse? Walt Disney World!  Disney is and always will be the leading example of world-class customer service.  Even though you have heard numerous examples, if you really think about it, they apply to any business.  I swore I would not share another Disney story until just recently when I heard someone say, “Our customer interactions are not as romantic as a theme park, where people are excited to be there. It is not apples to apples.”  I disagree!

I took my three boys to Disney World this past August — the absolute worst time to go. The temperature was in the mid-nineties, and the average wait time for an attraction was about 60 minutes.  It was miserable. Like everyone else, we waited, baking, all while the kids are whining, “How much longer.”  I observed the Disney cast members who stood there the entire time, in costumes, as uncomfortable as we all were. The only difference is that eventually we got to enjoy a ride, while they just ushered people on and off.  I saw them being asked the same stupid questions hundreds of times, “how much longer,” “my child has to go to the bathroom,” etc. They had to deal with frustrated customers who were literally losing their cool because of the anxiety of waiting in the heat with an impatient child. And I was amazed at these young 18-24 year olds and how well they kept their composure.  They acted like the questions were unique, they kept smiling, and I watched as tour guides returned with a new group, reloaded another dozen people and they had to start the script all over again.  They said it fresh and enthusiastically like it was their first tour of the day.

There is something to be learned from this about making sure our employees understand the importance of their roles in our customer’s day; and while it may be our 100th same old interaction of the day, it is our customers only one with us.  We owe it to them to provide an experience saying they were the only customer we contacted that day.

Adding theatre to your job – Just like call centers, receptionists, and cast members managing wait times, flight attendants’ jobs can get very monotonous by performing the same duties and saying the same scripts flight after flight, day after day.  You have to watch this video of how a Southwest flight attendant changed it up, making it a memorable experience for the passengers and himself, and breaking out of the same routine.

Resource of the WeekThe Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, by Carmine Gallo. I am a huge Steve Jobs fan and found this book excellent. So much so, I had everyone at The DiJulius Group read this book.

Quote of the Week

“Leaders are fascinated by the future. You are a leader if, and only if, you are restless for change, impatient for progress, and deeply dissatisfied with the status quo. As a leader you are never satisfied with the present, because in your head you can see a better future, and the friction between what is and what could be burns you, stirs you, propels you forward.”

~Steve Jobs

~John DiJulius best-selling author, consultant, and keynote speaker, is the CVO of The DiJulius Group, the leading customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on customer experience trends and best practices. Learn more about The DiJulius Group or The Secret Service Summit, America’s #1 Customer Service Conference.

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