Customer service is like body odor. Most of the time it is managed and goes unnoticed. But when it’s bad, it’s terrible—and it’s all people talk about.
Of all the companies known for taking good care of their customers, Disney is certainly near or at the top. In fact, the organization refuses to use the word “customer.” Instead, they call visitors to their theme parks “guests.”
In a post on the Refresh Leadership blog called Lessons in Creating a Magical Customer Service Experience, the company is heralded for making the experience just as critical as what is being purchased:
When you consider that emotionally engaged customers are three times more likely to recommend a product to others and return to make another purchase – finding a way to delight customers on an emotional level can be as important as the product you sell.
They also list Disney’s Seven Service Guidelines:
- Make eye contact and smile
- Greet and welcome every guest
- Seek out guest contact
- Provide immediate service recovery
- Always display appropriate body language
- Create dreams and preserve the “magical guest experience”
- Thank each and every guest
It’s no wonder the place is called the “magic kingdom.”
To understand why so many businesses have trouble providing good customer service, simply reverse the guidelines:
Ignore and do not welcome customers. If people enter your business but you don’t acknowledge them, they won’t feel like you care if they are even there.
Avoid making contact with customers. Picking up the phone or sending a note to a customer is a great way to enrich a relationship; so doing the opposite will help the relationship stagnate.
Take a long time to correct problems, if ever. Life is not perfect. Mistakes will happen, and good customer service involves finding and fixing them quickly. Bad customer service is taking too long to address problems, or doing too little.
Use standoffish and unapproachable body language. Cross your arms, slouch, and roll your eyes. Doing so will communicate to other people that you don’t want to talk to them.
Crush people’s hopes and explain how you can’t help them. Customers usually want something. If you can’t provide it immediately, you should still try to help them. But if you don’t, they will feel annoyed or angry and go elsewhere.
Never say thank you. This is the simplest way to turn a customer against you. If you don’t appreciate their business or their feedback, they will assume you don’t need them. And worse, they will tell everyone they know.
Good Customer Service: Treating People With Care
The secret to great customer service is that there is no secret. It’s being humane, gentle, and appreciative. It’s acting as if they are a guest in your home, helping them with whatever you can. It’s being honest and direct, while at the same time being kind and supportive. All of the behaviors that we all learned in kindergarten form the basics of good customer service.
What’s really important to understand is the impact of your customer service—good or bad. A happy customer will tell a few of their friends about your business. An unhappy customer will tell a dozen people, plus countless strangers on social media. That means you must always be ready to answer a question, address a concern, or simply listen to a complaint.
Remember that if people could do it for themselves as easily as you do it, they wouldn’t need your business. So put a little magic into your interactions with customers to help them enjoy the experience. The returns will be worth it!