Book Review: Be Our Guest

When you think of excellent customer service, I wonder what companies pop in to your mind.  For me…Publix, Chick-Fil-A, Apple, and Disney are my top 4.  In the summer of 2010, Clint and I had the privilege of taking our daughter Emma to Disney World for her first visit.  We had both been as children and then spent part of our honeymoon at Disney, but there is nothing like visiting Disney World with a child.  We had an amazing vacation that we still talk about quite often.  One of the major reasons we look back so fondly on that experience is because of the outstanding customer service we received from the moment we booked our trip all the way throughout our visit.  We could not have been more pleased and look forward to going back some time soon.  Everyone we encountered at Disney truly treated us like special guests.

As a result of our positive experience, I was curious to find out more about what goes on behind the scenes at Disney with training and execution in the area of customer service.  The book Be Our Guest is a part of the Disney Institute.  This book is a great tool to get in the hands of any leader that wants to learn how to see the whole picture, analyze their organization, and raise the bar in the area of service.  It is a very quick read, but well worth your time.

Below I have pasted some things that I highlighted while reading.  I hope you find these notes to be helpful and encourage you to pick up a copy of the book for yourself to learn how to create an atmosphere where all of your customers truly feel like guests.

  • In this volatile business of ours, we can ill afford to rest on our laurels, even to pause in retrospect.  Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future. -Walt Disney
  • We have always tried to be guided by the basic idea that, in the discovery of knowledge, there is great entertainment-as, conversely, in all good entertainment, there is always some grain of wisdom, humanity, or enlightenment to be gained.
  • You build the best product you can.  You give people effective training to support the delivery of exceptional service.  You learn from your experiences.  And you celebrate success.  You never stop growing.  You never stop believing.
  • No matter whether you call them customers, constituents, or patients, we all must satisfy our guests or risk losing them.
  • Quality Service means exceeding your guests’ expectations and paying attention to detail.
  • There is a corporation-wide obsession with attention to detail at Disney.
  • At the Disney Institute, the Quality Service Cycle is composed of four main elements: a service theme, service standards, delivery systems, and integration.
  • “Guestology” is what Disney calls the art and science of knowing and understanding customers.
  • There are four service standards at Walt Disney World.  In order of importance, they are safety, courtesy, show, and efficiency.
  • The importance of managing the effect of setting on the guest experience can be summed up in two words: Everything speaks.
  • Obviously, there is no point in investing a single cent in market research if the findings are hidden away in a desk drawer.
  • The service standard of courtesy requires that every guest be treated like a VIP-a very important, very individual person.  Fulfilling the standard means more than simply treating people the way we want to be treated; it means treating them the way that they want to be treated, with recognition and respect for their emotions, abilities, and cultures.
  • You can dream, create, design, and build the most wonderful place in the world…but it requires people to make the dream a reality.
  • There’s really no secret about our approach.  We keep moving forward-opening new doors and doing new things-because we are curious.  And curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.  We’re always exploring and experimenting…we call it Imagineering–the blending of creative imagination and technical know-how.
  • There are two key ingredients in creating effective service attention processes.  First, there must be appropriate resources to make the guest experience a good one and second, the availability of those resources must be communicated to cast and guest.
  • High-touch, high-show, and high-tech.  As you explore the ways to make the most of your service moments, be sure to keep all three features in mind.

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