Growing an Irresistible Welcome

Have you been to Walt Disney World?

Did you leave with a “can’t wait to come back” attitude?

You’re not alone. In 2017, more than 20.4 million attended the Magic Kingdom theme park alone (there are three others at Walt Disney World in Florida).

One of the first leadership books I devoured was In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman. Among their profiles for best business practices was the Walt Disney World (WDW) Resort, specifically for quality service that generated customer loyalty.

In the book Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service, the folks at the Disney Institute spell out their approach to customer service. It’s not complicated: “Quality service means exceeding your guests’ expectations by paying attention to every detail of the delivery of your products and services.”

You might think that the heart of making this happen is money, or technology, or the “wow” factor of a ride.

Nope.

What is one of the most frequently stated reasons why guests return for another visit?

The cast.

Disney calls all of their employees “cast members.” They have roles and responsibilities, the most important of which is “courtesy.”

As Jeff James, Vice President of the Disney Institute, puts it, “A $200 million attraction won’t be fun if the cast member at the front is less than pleasant.”

Beyond this is the attention to detail, particularly in matters of quality. In Disney theme parks they have the saying, “Everything speaks.” This means, “Every detail – from the doorknobs to the dining rooms – sends a message to guests. That message must be consistent with the common purpose and quality standards, and it must support and further the show being created.”

If only the church could be more like Disney World.

Not in terms of existing for mere entertainment, and not in terms of a vision of providing “happiness.”

No, the church is much more than that.

But the church is meant to be Disney World in terms of its effort to reach out to others in a way that makes them want to return. Its volunteers should be marked by friendliness and courtesy. If “everything speaks,” then nothing about the church should speak against the message it is trying to convey, or the honor due God.

When it comes to serving guests, opening the front door to guests, and having our guest relations mirror our message and purpose, then yes, we should not only be like Disney, but put Disney to shame.

Disney wants to say, “Be Our Guest.”

Unless I’m missing something, so does the church.

It’s just that we’re not saying it as well as Disney.

But we should be.

Sources

The Disney Institute, with Theodore Kinni. Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service (Revised and Updated Edition).

Read more from James.


 

It may seem like magic, but there’s really one reason Disney excels at Guest Experiences. Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp in Cincinnati, OH on August 7-8 to find out what that is.

 

Download PDF

Tags: , , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James Emery White

James Emery White

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. He is the founder of Serious Times and this blog was originally posted at his website www.churchandculture.org.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Why Wayfinding Matters: What We Can Learn from Disney Culture

Walt Disney World is aptly named:

Spanning 40 square miles, Walt Disney World Resort is approximately the size of San Francisco, or nearly twice the size of Manhattan. The property features:

  • Four theme parks
  • Two water adventure parks
  • 35 resort hotels (26 owned and operated by Walt Disney World, including seven Disney Vacation Club properties)
  • 63 holes of golf on four courses
  • Two full-service spas
  • Disney’s Wedding Pavilion
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports complex
  • Disney Springs, an entertainment-shopping-dining complex

On an average day, there are approximately 250,000 people on Walt Disney World Resort property – including Cast Members, other employees and guests.

Walt Disney World Cast Members come from all over the world, representing more than 80 nationalities and speaking more than 50 different languages.

All of which begs the question:

How do people find their way around Walt Disney World?

Wayfinding design provides guidance and the means to help people feel at ease in their surroundings.

– David Gibson, The Wayfinding Handbook

In the 1980s, the design firm Sussman/Prejza was engaged to reimagine the wayfinding and signage system for Walt Disney World (and also for the developing Euro Disney project, now known as Disneyland Paris).

Established in 1968, Sussman/Prejza works with its clients to develop memorable identities and branding, based upon research and graphic archeology. Abstract stories are woven into the visual product, creating a sense of place and memories that users retain and remember. S/P’s work has pushed the boundaries of environmental graphic design to meld cohesively with architecture, civic planning, and landscape design.

The recognized trailblazer in this discipline, Sussman/Prejza’s expertise can be seen in civic, cultural, corporate, sports, institutional, entertainment and retail projects around the globe.

At Walt Disney World, all Guests arrive by highway or freeway, so the main task of Sussman/Prejza was to develop a vehicular signing system that would be “unique in spirit, clean, easy-to-follow, and capable of being expanded as the area continued to grow.”

The theme park was divided into several major “districts.” A hierarchy of signs was established to first lead Guests toward a specific district, and once there, toward a distinct destination. The 1,000-sign system (now greatly expanded) includes large freeway signs, major and minor road directional, regulatory signs, gateways, and bus graphics.

SPAreaMap

In order to develop a wayfinding system that would cover an area so large while at the same time stay flexible enough for growth, Sussman/Prejza started with a basic color palette and shape guide.

SPPalette

The color palette consists of lavender, blue, and green, chosen to emphasize the black, red, and gold used to create Mickey Mouse. Of the various shapes, the “mouse ears” reinforce the iconic symbol used to represent Mickey Mouse.

Great wayfinding systems employ explicit signs and information as well as implicit symbols and landmarks that together communicate with accuracy and immediacy. Over the last thirty years, wayfinding design has matured to become an essential component of buildings and spaces, helping make sense of a sometimes-overwhelming task: getting from here to there.

What do wayfinding clients need?

The examples below illustrate the range of design projects. The complexity of the project grows in direct proportion to the scale and challenges of the client’s property.

  • Individual sign – a single landmark or feature sign
  • Wayfinding for building complexes – exterior and interior signage for a group of buildings
  • System signage – signage for multiple locations, branches, or franchises operated by one owner or manager, ranging from park systems to consumer banks
  • Open space signage – exterior signage for individual parks, streets, or plazas; for trails and greenways; for urban downtowns
  • Campus wayfinding – wayfinding system for a group of buildings operating together on one site
  • Building signage – signage for an individual structure, exterior and/or interior

Successful wayfinding design depends on understanding three variables:

  1. The nature of the client organization
  2. The people with whom the organization communicates
  3. The type of environment in which the system is installed

Wayfinding in ChurchWorld

As a leader in ChurchWorld, you may be saying, “This is all well and good, but we’re not even meeting our budget or having enough volunteers to serve in our ministries, or …”

People will always need to know where they are, how to reach their destination, what is happening there, and how to exit.

Of all places, shouldn’t the church be clear about wayfinding?

Part Two: The Wayfinding Design Process

Information for this series comes primarily from The Wayfinding Handbook by David Gibson. It is an excellent resource for leaders who want to understand and apply the art and science of wayfinding to their organization.

Download PDF

Tags: ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Communication >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob Adams

Bob Adams

Bob is an absolute fanatic about Guest Experiences, growing up watching his father serve customers at the gas station he built and operated for 44 years. Bob is continually connecting with corporate leaders in the customer experience world, learning and then translating practices for ChurchWorld. He writes, speaks, and consults on the topic frequently. Vocationally, Bob has a dual role at Auxano, a clarity first consulting firm serving the church. As Vision Room Curator and Digital Engagement Leader he researches, edits, writes and publishes online content. As Guest Experience Navigator, he leverages his passion, providing Guest Perspective Evaluations and Guest Experience Blueprints. Bob and his wife Anita have been married for 39 years. They have 4 children, 3 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, and 4 grandchildren.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.