We Could All Learn Client Service Lessons From Disney

Although it’s well known that Disneyworld’s tagline is the “Happiest Place on Earth,” everyone’s definition of “happiest” is different.

Let me pose one, important question: Do you think clients and customers believe your business is the “happiest company on earth?” Taken literally, do clients love your firm so much that they will never go elsewhere for accounting services? That’s a hypothetical question, but it’s still an important one.

If you’re wondering where the random reference to Disney came from, I spent a week at Disneyworld over the holidays. The trip was great, but I spent a lot of time waiting in line for my favorite rides, so I had a lot of time to reflect on how well Disney really sticks to its customer service model.

Just yesterday, I had a conversation with a colleague who took her family to Six Flags over the holidays. She had been to Disney before, so she was able to compare the two experiences. Hands down, Disney won – which should not be a surprise to most people, even those who have never been to Orlando or even Anaheim. Putting aside the fact that Disney is cleaner, more attractive and more fun, the “cast members,” as they are referred to, truly seem happy to be doing their jobs.

There were a few missteps. Not everyone is fit to be upbeat all the time. I remember one young woman who scowled at me when, just after our arrival to our resort, I asked her to check my backpack at the bell stand so we could head to the parks instead of going to our room to drop off the backpack. She wasn’t too happy about that. Turns out she was the same person I asked to check the same backpack on the final day of our stay so we, again, could spend the day at the parks instead of dragging around a backpack with us. She scowled, once again.

Most of us remember excellent customer service experiences, but we tend to talk about those that are not up to par rather than the positive ones; hence, my story about the baggage person. Perhaps she didn’t drink the Disney Kool-Aid or had not been on the job for very long. Regardless, her attitude totally reflects on to the guests. By no means did she ruin our vacation, but it’s still a moment I really didn’t want to remember.

Small businesses can learn a lot from companies such as Disney and others that spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on the customer experience. Truth be told, I originally included Apple just after Disney in the previous sentence, but edited it out. I love Apple products, but the last few times I bought something in their stores, I did not have a very good experience.

Perhaps Apple doesn’t care … and perhaps Disney believes it has so many customers that a few bad experiences won’t affect their stock prices and bottom lines. However, if your firm or any other accounting firm, regardless of its size, felt that way, where would we be?

Stick to what you know. Disney is known as the happiest place on earth because it works really hard on its brand and core competences, most of which focus on hospitality and making every one of its guests feel really good about the Disney experience.

Can you say you do with same with your firm? Spend some time, now, before the months fly by and you’re reading another one of these types of articles in 2016. Your clients and customers will benefit from an enhanced focus on client service and I guarantee you’ll benefit on your end by receiving more referrals.

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