Welcoming Well Must Include These People

Editor’s Note: During our August focus on Guest Experiences, we are honored to have some of the best voices in the world of Customer Experience provide guest posts for the Vision Room. As you read the content below, simply think “Guest” in terms of the “customer” the author is talking about – and you will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of these great minds.

One of my favorite places in the world is Disneyland Paris. Of all the Disney parks world-wide, it is perhaps the most beautifully designed experience. There are so many details that can be found such as the signature icon, Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant.

On my YouTube Channel, I have videos posted of Disney Imagineers talking about the amazing lands of Disneyland Paris. Signature icons like this stand out across the park. But get up close and each of these majestic attractions is full of beautiful, intrinsic details, like the stain glass you see below:

The Imagineers know that despite the hundreds of millions of dollars that go into creating these beautiful attractions, it’s all for nothing if the guest experience isn’t supported by the Cast Members. To that degree, they emphasized this at the end of the one of the videos:

Here are some key messages from this vignette:

  • It’s easy to forget when designing a great experience the importance of what the Cast Member brings.
  • Cast Members bring the story to life.
  • People most often talk about how great the service is of the Cast Members than any other aspect of their experience.
  • Imagineers put their work in the hands of Cast Members to maintain, keep the park beautiful, to keep the story alive, and to bring about the spirit of the parks through their smiles.
  • Cast Members are truly the host–the guest experience is in the hands of the Cast Member.

Of course, getting the right Cast Member delivery requires having the right Cast Member. This was particularly important when Disneyland Paris opened, because many potential candidates from that area were not familiar with the guest-friendly expectations Disney makes of its Cast Members. Fortunately Disneyland Paris Resort has now been through a generation or so of guests, so that many new hires were once guests who enjoyed Disneyland as children themselves. They see how powerful the guest experience can be.

Emphasizing the role of Cast Members is not just Disneyland Paris’s challenge. It’s the challenge of all of Walt Disney attractions. Walt Disney World alone needs to hire thousands of new Cast Members each year. Staffing some 70,000 roles throughout the property is no easy job. That’s why a few years ago Disney Parks put out videos like the ones below, letting potential hires know not only what it’s like to be a Disney Cast Member, but what is expected.

In your organization, you probably don’t have castles or Cast Members. But you do have staff, and you want to emphasize the importance of your employees. Ask yourself:

  • How do I demonstrate that my employees are important?
  • What would fall apart if I didn’t have capable employees supporting me?
  • How do employees add or distract from the investment that I have made on the entire guest experience?
  • To what length do I communicate expectations to potential hires of what I want in a great employee?
  • What resources do I utilize to support my employees in the work they do?

We often say that employees are our greatest asset. How do you invest in those assets? Or, do you treat them more like a liability? That’s the opportunity every organization–maximizing your most important assets. Always consider: how important are your employees?

Leadership matters when it comes to having great employees. That’s why you may want to check out my latest book, available on Amazon and Kindle. Take a look at Disney, Leadership and You. Find new ways you can lead your employees to greatness. Check it out today!

> Read more from Jeff.


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Jeff Kober

Jeff Kober

Writer. Columnist. Speaker. Facilitator. Trainer. Coach. And the thought leader in best-of-Disney practices. For nearly 35 years, Jeff has delivered development and training solutions for the private, public and non-profit sectors. He has facilitated hundreds of programs and delivered keynote addresses to scores of clients as diverse as General Electric, the U.S. Postal System, Federal Express, and the City of New York. Topics have ranged from leadership to performance accountability, from customer service to team building. Jeff’s consultant activities were previously associated with The Disney Institute, a best-practices institution modeled on America’s first corporate university. While there, Jeff was responsible for designing The Disney Approach to Quality Service and Service, Disney Style programs. The models, concepts, and examples of those programs were later introduced in the successful business book, Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service, with a forward by former Disney CEO, Michael Eisner. Jeff continues to be the thought leader in sharing best practices of the Walt Disney Companies for corporations worldwide. He hosts DisneyatWork.com, with blog posts and podcasts featuring ideas on life & work from the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Many of those stories and concepts have been penned into four best-in-business books on the house of the mouse: Disney, Leadership and You; Lessons From Epcot: In Leadership, Business and Life:Disney’s Hollywood Studios: From Show Biz to Your Biz; and The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney. Beyond Disney, Jeff emphasizes best practices from a range of amazing organizations. Jeff is a partner and CEO of World Class Benchmarking, which provides a programming series that benchmarks many of America’s greatest corporations. Along with his business partner, Mark David Jones, he has co-authored Lead With Your Customer now in its 2nd edition. It showcases scores of examples of how private, public and non-profit world-class organizations have transformed their culture and brand into world-class excellence.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
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