I think it’s safe to say that almost everyone in America (and probably the world) is familiar with Disney. Most have seen some of Disney’s classic movies, like the Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast. Disney is well-known for producing hit after hit when it comes to film-making. That consistent success, partnered with the worldwide renown of its 11 theme parks, has made The Walt Disney Company one of the most recognized brands in entertainment.
But producing great movies and gifting delighted children with a magical theme park experience isn’t all that Disney is great at. Disney has long been hailed as a leader in customer service, providing an almost unrivaled customer experience to its movie-viewers and park-attendees. The company engages in thorough, values-based employee training to ensure that each customer is treated the right way – the Disney way. In fact, Disney’s propensity for providing a great customer experience has compelled the company to operate a consulting practice of sorts, dubbed the Disney Institute.
The Disney Institute’s consulting team draws on vast business experience to equip its clients with the knowledge and tools they need to transform their customer service methodology, the perceptiveness required to recruit and hire the best employees, the guidance needed to lead a desired corporate culture shift, and the leadership training that facilitates a strong and clear top-down company vision. These instructional workshops take place in the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Institute is unique in that company leaders from all over the world carve out the time to travel to Orlando for a fully-immersive round of on-site training. The Disney Institute’s engagement model is based on 4 core principles:
Understand and Prioritize Your Needs
Though many company representatives attend Institute seminars at the same time, consultants make a point to personally interact with individual employees and company leadership to gain a more intimate, comprehensive understanding of each client’s company culture. Beyond that, Institute consultants draw on a wealth of detailed data and personal observations to better understand each specific company’s character. This combination of examining analytics and hearing personal testimonials creates a multidimensional understanding what each company needs to successfully implement change and best practices.
Adapt and Apply Disney Best Practices
When you’ve been providing great customer service for as long as Disney has, you’re allowed to get a big head. In other words, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – meaning Disney has mastered the art of creating a great company culture and providing phenomenal customer care, so they would be wasting time teaching any practices but their own. As such, during this second phase of engagement consultants draw on Disney Best Practices to show companies the way to transform insight into implementation. Consultants use the Disney model of success to shed light on what it takes for an organization to adapt and apply these best practices. Consultants also create cross-functional teams to be tasked with implementing specific strategies so that organizational buy-in comes from all angles.
Reorient and Upskill Your Team
At this stage in the consulting process, consultants engage in a more hands-on approach to dialogue, collaborating directly with leaders, middle managers, and frontline staff in an effort to facilitate a top-down embrace of change. The logic is that if change is adapted and encouraged at the top, what will ensue is a trickle-down effect of change-receptiveness. What’s more, by engaging with a company’s front line, consultants are better able to instill a culture in which desired behavior is clearly identified and wholly encouraged.
Operationalize and Sustain for Ongoing Success
What’s special about Institute consultants is that their work is never entirely done. Consultants track implementation processes from beginning to end, offering continuous support in the form of toolkits, reassessments, and advanced skills-based training along the way. As should be expected from a company so devoted to customer experience, the Institute’s beginning-to-end guidance is just another example of how Disney provides unrivaled customer care.
It’s particularly interesting to consider that the Institute is not only operating on the customer experience principles that have made Disney so famous, but it’s using those principles to teach those principles so that others may use them as well.
One success story that I found particularly intriguing was that of Arkansas Children’s Hospital. After years of mid-level patient satisfaction scores and a continuously high turnover rate, ACH leadership decided to send a group of employees to the Disney Institute for a consultation. What resulted was a top-down transformation of company culture and customer care, leading to patient-satisfaction numbers in the 90th percentile, national recognition as one of America’s best companies to work for, and a whole host of other praise and benefits. Perhaps the only thing a company like ACH can implement to be better is online guidance software to simplify employee and employer experience – the Institute’s wise teachings seem to have covered all other bases.
Though most don’t know of its existence, the Disney Institute is working toward making the corporate world a more caring and magical place. What better company to guide others than one known the world over for its extraordinary customer care? If you’re a small business seeking to implement change and transform the customer experience you provide, you have every reason to seek out the Disney Institute’s help.