It May Look Like Poop to You, But It’s Bread and Butter to Us

A HUGE pet peeve of mine when it comes to customer service and one of my top five reasons why I won’t frequent a business is…

Toilets from Hell

His guest was aghast and said to him, “Walt, what are you doing?

You see Walt was a true genius in so many ways, not the least of which was his respect, gratitude and understanding of his customers oven roti. Walt realized better than most everyone, that people’s experiences from which they form opinions are shaped by feedback from all five senses both consciously and unconscious.

It is the sum of those experiences that decide whether people come BACK to Disneyland. Knowing that it costs a lot to get a customer to come, Walt realized that it was the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and beyond trips that made him the most money.

He also knew that those experiences, from which opinions are formedand determines whether people come back and are KEPT as customers for a lifetime. Yup, that’s sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. ALL FIVE! Simply saidthat experiences come from the sum total of the input from one’s five senses.

So, Walt reasoned, a dirty, even a little dirty Disneyland, would almost certainly negatively impact “guest” experiences that would almost certainly decrease their willingness to return. And, that was BAD for business. So, Walt bent over and picked up the trash rather than risk hurting his beloved business. Moreover, Walt took that knowledge to extremes.

Let me ask you a question. How many feet are there between waste bins at Disneyland? Given what I’ve just told you about Walt’s understanding of the five senses needing to be positively engaged in order for people to have a positive experience and return, would you be surprised to know that they are spaced exactly as many steps as the average person takes between when they start their candy bar and when they finish it and have to throw away the wrapper?

Yup! The second you have to get rid of that piece of trash, boom, there’s a trashcan ready to receive it. What could be easier? And, even if you walk too fast or too slow and can’t find a bin immediately and you happen to drop it, there are what appears to be an army of handsome, fun, intelligent, full-costumed “street-sweepers” with hilarious brooms and shovels waiting to scoop it up. All part of the “show” of course. All insuring that your senses are positively influenced.

The sum total of the efforts to positively impact your own 5 senses while at Disneyland come under the heading of what Disney calls the “setting”. And it is one of the most important building blocks of Disney’s success in EVERYTHING they do. From theme parks, to retail, to products, to movie theaters to movies, the quality of the “setting” is minutely considered and maintained to the highest standards possible.

It’s why I defy you to find a piece of trash at Disneyland. Or a dirty sink, or a door that has hand smudges on it, or a piece of siding that has a nick on it, or… Are you ready for this, a plant with a brown leaf or heaven forbid, a dead flower on it. I challenge you. Next time you go, look for any of these and you will NOT find them. Not by chance, but by design and commitment.

This brings me again to the great Chef Gordon Ramsey. I admit it; I am a huge fan of Chef Ramsey even though I don’t care anything about cooking. I am however hopelessly addicted to his show “Kitchen Nightmares”. For mepersonally, Chef Ramsey is right up there with Walt Disney when it comes to doing anything and everything to show your customers you appreciate the gift of their business and their money.

Let me reiterate what Chef Ramsey concluded leads to the failure of 90 percent of all the restaurants that open for business. In his exact words, “They fail because… they (the owners) take their customers for granted”. Whew! Right on Chef! Restaurants and all other businesses fail more often because they don’t put their customer’s first, everyday, all the time. Even with great food, success in the restaurant (and many other businesses) comes down to how you treat your customers.