Strive to give an authentic experience

Strive to provide an authentic experience

Disney cast members aim to achieve ‘business excellence.’

May 1, 2019

Every cast member at Disney—whether they’re donning a character costume, serving up ice cream, or picking up trash—performs their duties with one goal in mind: Attaining business excellence by delivering an exceptional customer experience for those visiting the parks and resorts.

“It’s about focusing on creating an authentic customer experience at every touchpoint,” says Jeff James, vice president and general manager of Disney Institute. “Each and every moment where a customer interacts with your brand, product, or service—and consistently delivering on your brand promise over and over again.”

Disney Institute is the professional development and business advisory arm of Walt Disney parks and resorts. James will deliver a keynote address at CUNA’s 2019 America’s Credit Union Conference Wednesday at Walt Disney World Resort® in Florida.

To attain business excellence, James says organizations must have a common purpose—or a succinct explanation of what you want your customer experience to be at the emotional level.

‘People are looking for an authentic, individualized, and ‘unexpected’ experience.’
Jeff James

“This is crucial because it’s the essential foundation on which all of your service decisions and desired employee behaviors can be developed,” he says. “For employees, this represents what your organization stands for and why you exist, and it’s the primary tool for getting everyone ‘on the same page’ to display specific behaviors.”

Leaders play a critical role, James says, because they must make sure their behaviors uphold the organization’s common purpose and serve as a role model for others.  Also, they must be intentional about everything they do, whether it’s creating a process or demonstrating through their actions.

Your employees are key to delivering the authentic customer experience, James says, and a combination of employee selection, training, communication, and care is necessary to create the engaged employees that are necessary to accomplish this.

“People are looking for an authentic, individualized, and ‘unexpected’ experience—something that surprises and delights them—when they interact with your company, product, or service,” James says. “If customers feel like they’re treated as individuals, they are more likely to perceive their experience as unique and special.

“Having all the customer experience bells and whistles alone can’t create enduring success,” he continues. “It’s about having employees who are aligned to your common purpose and creating genuine connections with your customers that will largely determine your success and ensure that your organization can stand the test of time.”