Customer Experience: How Disney World Gets It Right When Everything Goes Wrong

Customer Experience, more than customer service, is what top brands strive for to build loyalty and reputation, and a more sustainable business that goes beyond the sale.

This is HR + PR, Disney style

During a trip to Walt Disney World (WDW) a while back, we had such a good time. Planning and reservations were a breeze with the My Disney Experience app; we enjoyed great weather, lighter crowds, and really good customer service.

One particular standout – I sent them a note – was a seasonal employee, a college student in her 20s. So helpful and pleasant, she was a credit to how Disney recruits, trains and fits its employees (aka castmembers) for the right jobs. WDW empowers each castmember so they can provide the best service and customer experiences. (Playfully mocked below:)

Making it Right When Getting it Wrong

A polar opposite, my latest WDW trip had one glitch after another:

  • Our Magic Bands, RFID bracelets that act as the room key, wouldn’t ever work our hotel room door;
  • A food court employee didn’t understand a discount;
  • A package got lost on its way to our hotel;
  • Our last day, the park we were visiting lost power and basically shut down.

If I’ve typed it once, I’ve typed it a million times: customer service isn’t about getting it right all the time – it’s about what you do when you get it wrong, turning a negative into something positive.

Mickey shaped food tastes better. 

This is how WDW will keep me going back; they know HR and PR and what it takes to offer great customer experiences. Or guests, as they call us.

  • Our hotel manager gave us some bonus fast passes to make up for room key not working, then eventually adjusted our resort bill.
  • The food court manager fixed our issue, kept an eye out for us the rest of the trip.
  • The resort store manager tracked down our package, and had it mailed to us.
  • We were on our way out anyway when the park lost power; reports were that guest services upgraded everyone to Hopper tickets and gave them fast passes, so they could still enjoy the rest of their day at other parks.

All done with service, smiles, patience and apologies for failing to deliver on their (admittedly high) customer experience promises. That’s how Disney sets the standard and builds brand loyalty – and what keeps me going back. That and Mickey shaped treats.

FWIW with all that, we still had a pretty good trip… I mean, it’s WDW. LOL.

You: last time a brand won your loyalty – by fixing what went wrong? 

Video: instead of a meme, this hilarious video by comedian John Crist.

Want More? Keep Reading.