To ensure a magical experience for each of its resort guests, The Walt Disney Co. leaves almost nothing to chance, as CUNA Tech/OpSS Council Conference attendees will discover this week in Orlando, Fla.
Disney actually strives to “overmanage” aspects of its operation that most companies either hope develops organically—or ignore altogether, says Kendal Jolly, engagement manager at Disney Institute, the company’s training and development center.
This approach shouldn’t be interpreted as micromanagement but rather as contingency planning, Jolly says. In addition to carefully designing service standards and delivering that service flawlessly, credit unions and other organizations must provide a safety net for employees.
“Exceptional service is ‘architected’ from systems and processes that you control,” Jolly said. “It’s not enough to put the ‘right people’ in place if they’re handcuffed with poor processes and policies.”
During a preconference workshop Sunday, many CUNA Tech/OpSS Council Conference attendees will view the Disney experience from another vantage point on The Business Behind the Magic Tour.
The three-hour experience highlights the Disney Institute’s professional development courses and the embodiment of those lessons at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Instruction rests on the five key concepts Walt and Roy Disney and implemented to maximize results: leadership, culture, service, brand, and innovation.
At the Disney Institute, new employees learn the company’s common purpose: “We create happiness.”
Although the company’s more than 60,000 employees have specific duties and guidelines, that ethos trumps all, and staff are given latitude to break from the norm to make sure guests go home whistling Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Jolly says.
Disney trains staff to turn every situation into an opportunity to showcase exceptional customer service. Sometimes, that means answering the question behind the question, says Jolly, as when a guest might ask, “What time is the 3 p.m. parade?”
“Don’t just look at it at face value—answer it so you exceed the customer’s expectations,” says Jolly, a second-generation credit union member. “When they ask, ‘What time is the 3 p.m. parade?’ what they want to know is, ‘Where is the best place to watch the parade?’”
Credit union leaders should turn around this exercise on themselves, Jolly advises: “What’s the seemingly obvious question members ask you again and again and again? How are you training [staff] to give people the answer they really want?”