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disney service strategy - 38 A Strategy for Service Disney...

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38 A Strategy for Service— Disney Style Rick Johnson The organization's customer service philosophy was established over 35 years ago by its founder. Today, every aspect of the resorts and theme parks is geared to serve and satisfy its "guests. " M any organizations are striving to improve the level of quality ser- vice through the per- formance of their employees. Some have recognized the importance of corporate culture and environment in the process. Our com- pany strongly believes that the culture, the environment, and the performance of people lie at the heart of a successful quality service program. Guests at the Walt Disney World Resort, located a few miles southwest of Orlando, Florida, typically comment on three main aspects of the quality of ser- vice: the cleanliness of the place, the show itself, and the friendliness of the employees. These reactions are com- piled through comments, surveys, focus groups, and letters. Together, they reflect the original business philosophy of Walt Disney, who summed it up by saying: • "Quality will out! • Give the people everything you can give them; • Keep the place as clean as you can keep it; • Keep it friendly; • Make it a fun place to be." While this philosophy applies to a place of entertainment and family vaca- tion fun, it applies as well to any service-oriented organization. What brings this philosophy to life at the Walt Disney World Resort is a well-struc- tured, complex, and fast-moving organi- zation of people. Committed to a single goal of creating happiness for customers (called guests), the Disney people live in a corporate culture—a way of life—that places the guests' enjoyment above all else. After a visit here, which includes the Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT Center, the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park, resorts, and recreational facilities, many are prompted to ask, "How does Disney get over 32,000 employees (called cast members) to perform more than 1,400 different jobs (called roles) and deliver quality service with a smile? How do they do this for millions of guests, 365 days a year, often in 98° heat and 100% humidity? How do they maintain a quality service standard that many say is unmatched anywhere?" The secret to the Disney approach is that there is no secret. Disney demon- strates that high levels of quality service can be attained by developing, refining, and living a business strategy based on Rick Johnson is Manager of Business Programs for Walt Disney World Seminar Productions in Orlando, Florida a part of the Disney University. He instructs executives in the "Disney Approach" through business and management seminars.
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DISNEY'S SERVICE STRATEGY 39 hard work, attention to detail, and ex- ceeding customer expectations. The first challenge in developing such a strategy is to define a company's busi- ness. Disney strives to provide quality entertainment in its theme parks. It also serves food, sells merchandise, operates resorts, runs transportation systems, and provides recreational facilities along with a myriad of other guest and support services. More important, the company
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