The Disney Way to Customer Support: 5 Tips For Great Customer Support

Walt Disney famously said “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends”. In an increasingly connected age, where tweets and shares are the order of the day, this translates to “do what you do so well that your customers will tweet to their friends and followers”.

Bad publicity is not good publicity in today’s world, where one negative review can snowball into a PR nightmare of mammoth proportions. So, how about taking a leaf – or five – out of Disney’s superlative customer service skills book and applying it to your situation?

Hiring the right people

[pullquote]Even the best employee in the world will be a wasted asset if he isn’t slotted into the right role to suit his personality.[/pullquote]One of Walt Disney’s firm beliefs, which has gone on to determine their view on selecting a cast member (or hiring a support agent, in our case) is that people are more important as the customers remember people more than they do the products.

Which is why their hiring process is a long one. They test at different levels and look at the personal values of the person they are hiring. Unless you and your notions are genuine, it is impossible to do the job on a daily basis with a smile plastered on your face.

Just as important as hiring the right person, is matching the right person to the right job. Even the best employee in the world will be a wasted asset if he isn’t slotted into the right role to suit his personality.

Do it like you mean it

When your staff read from a script, chances are that they come across as robotic and not spontaneous. Hence, uncaring. When they are encouraged to go beyond the “Hi I’m Bob” approach and delve deeper into getting to know the customer – asking about their day, their hobbies etc, – then things begin to get interesting.

I don’t know what’s in the water at Disney but they all seem to have this perky spirit! Much of this is due to the fact that the employees are allowed to use their initiative. And passion! Passion is the grease that makes the life goes smoothly at Disney. An injection of passion in your own job might be just the thing the Doctor ordered. Especially the next time you are at the receiving end of less than complimentary verbiage.

Emotional connect

[pullquote]An emotionally connected customer is three times more likely to recommend your product, company or service while less satisfied and connected ones are 6% more likely to take their business elsewhere. [/pullquote]A meld of points 1 and 2, with a dash of encouragement, brings you to the third item on our menu – emotional connect. As the saying goes at Disney, ‘aim for your customers’ hearts, not just their heads’. Sounds pretty simple when put that way, right? And as the company has proved time and again, this is the most effective way to build loyalty in the hearts and minds of your customers.

This is not just some magical statement uttered by Tinkerbell. Hard facts, backed by a Gallup poll, no less, prove clearly that customer satisfaction with engagement, is ‘priceless’. Survey says, an emotionally connected customer is three times more likely to recommend your product, company or service while less satisfied and connected ones are 6% more likely to take their business elsewhere. 

Power to the people

Or in this instance, to the people at the frontline of Customer Support. Disney believes in empowering their people so that they can go the extra mile and keep their promise of ‘delivering a million smiles’. Now, you cannot make a lofty claim like that without giving your employees a certain bit of carte blanche, right?

Which scenario do you like better? Upon receiving your complaint about a broken product or a delayed service, the support agent not only sorts out your immediate issue but also throws in a freebie or two? Or one where you are kept hanging on the line for a long time and then just before your patience snaps, the agent comes back and says he will now transfer you to his supervisor?

All for one, one for all

Ultimately, great customer support doesn’t happen overnight. Or with just one person getting on board. It happens when every person pulls together in the same direction. For example, many stores tell their employees “do not point them in the right direction but take the customer to where they want to go”.

Disney takes this up a few notches, as can be evidenced in this imaginary transaction:

As Bruce Jones in his article points out, when every employee goes out of their way thus to make the life of their customer easy, that’s when it scales up and the customer ends up having a relationship with the brand.

From populating your team to exceeding your customer’s expectations, Disney shows the way in how to not just match but go well beyond the brief to make your dreams come true.  Have you used any of the Disney methods in your company / team? Do share your views in our comments section.

Lavanya Donthamshetty

Writer. Apple-lover. Follower of big brands. Interested in talking about all things customer support. Follow me on Twitter @lavanyad