Customer Service Tips: Employee Empowerment

Disney at Christmas

Customer Service Tips from Walt

We Can All Learn From Walt

I was fortunate to spend a day recently attending the Disney Institute’s Approach to Business Excellence seminar. As expected, customer service tips was a huge part of the presentation. Disney is well known for employee empowerment or empowering their employees to make decisions without management approval, which creates brand loyalty for park visitors. For example, empowering an employee to replace an ice cream cone that a small child dropped could help “make” that child’s whole trip and avoid a major meltdown, which I can say from experience the parents will never forget.

Employee Empowerment in Action

I saw this same philosophy in action during a recent business trip to Orlando (ironic destination, I know). As expected, many of the families on my flight were excited to experience Disney. That excitement carried through the flight and to my hotel, which was not a Disney hotel, but did use the same employee empowerment that Disney teaches.

As I was preparing for my meeting in the hotel lobby, I watched as a family with small children bounced down the entry way to catch the magical bus to Disney. Upon arrival, they found out that the bus had just left and wouldn’t be around for another 30 minutes. As a parent, I saw the imminent doom of meltdowns quickly approaching while the parents tried to figure out what in the world they were going to do. We all know that 30 minutes to a small child is a lifetime! I watched from a distance, and truly felt the panic in the young mother’s face.

Then the concierge quietly said, “don’t worry”. She quickly gathered another employee and a van to make a special trip to take this excited family to the most magical place on earth. She didn’t wait around for a manager’s approval. She didn’t say sorry, you should have been here sooner. She saved the day for this family with one quick decision.

We could all take customer service tips from the way Disney allows their employees to make decisions. Think about your staff. Could they make a quick decision that typically goes through management in order to keep a customer happy? Think about the frustration that could be avoided from your customers when they have to talk to someone with “more authority”. By using employee empowerment, not only can we create lifelong customers, but we give them a story to tell about how they were treated.

Thanks Walt for showing us what great customer service looks like and what it can do for an organization.