By Randy Sanders

I recently came back from a weeklong trip to Disney World with my family and I’ve been telling everyone who will listen about what a wonderful time we had. The parks were fun, rides were exciting, and my daughters, both first-timers, were immersed in the magic of Disney. With all that was going on, there is one thing that stood out in my mind above all else and trust me, there is a long list of great experiences, attractions, and ‘made-my-life-easier’ technology enhancements (MagicBands anyone?!?).

This one thing can be summed up with two words: Customer Service. It was FANTASTIC! It was better than top-notch, it was superior, excellent, Grade-A, couldn’t have been better customer service. Now, I realize that this concept isn’t new for Disney but I was blown away at just how good it was. The problem was that it didn’t dawn on me exactly how good it was until I returned home. Let me explain.

In Disney, approximately 65,000 employees strong, not one cast member (as they call their employees) was using their cell phone to check in on their life. I didn’t hear one complaint about their schedule, having to work a particular shift, or even gossip about this one or that one. Every cast member was engaged with the guests, greeted us as we strolled by, and told us to have a ‘Magical Day’ if we had a conversation with them; everyone from the ride operators to the cast members sweeping up the grounds. Lastly, and quite frankly the most impressive, was that every cast member knew everything. Everything. It didn’t matter who I asked what, they knew it. Most of the time it was mundane stuff like where the restroom was or where a particular attraction was, but they knew the more nuance stuff as well.

We returned from our trip on a Monday afternoon. We had all of the usual airport frustrations but remained relatively unscathed and returned home. Since we were gone a week, I had to run out to get some essentials; milk, bread, eggs, etc. My local grocery shop doesn’t have the greatest customer service but it wasn’t until that Monday that I had realized how bad it was.

My experience in my local grocery shop was the exact opposite of Disney’s. Phones, gossip, shift complaints, and just plain fooling around with customers waiting for help. Thankfully I didn’t have to ask for help but if history serves, the experience wasn’t going to be stellar. The best case it could be is adequate.

So what’s the moral of the story? Become superior at customer service, even if the company you work for doesn’t have that culture. Become the reason guests come to your establishment. Become engaged with every person you talk to, walk by, or see. Just start by saying 'Hi'. Don’t get sucked into the trap of phones or gossip others might pull you into. By doing the opposite of most everyone else, you’ll succeed more. Lastly, become Disney.