Guest Service- Understanding Your Guests

Posted: July 25, 2008 in Disney, Leadership
Tags: , , , , ,

Today I begin my look at some of Disney’s top Guest Service secrets and how they can be applied in other situations. The first of which is Understanding Your Guests. (If you’re not interested in Guest Service you may wish to skip this series.)

The first thing you must do in order to have outstanding guest service is to well, know your guest (aka: Market Research)! Some of the techniques to understanding your guests can be surveys at the point of exit, maybe once a quarter, once a year etc., having a dedicated “listening post” in the facility where guests can come to ask questions, make comments and find out more information about the organization; comment cards available for guests to fill out and place in a box or give to someone in the “listening post”, and of course having your employees observe and report back what they are hearing the guests say, what they are reacting to and how they are reacting to them as well as the collection of opinions from the guests through casual conversation.

Another technique to use is statistics and usage diagrams. How much time are guests spending in each area of your store? How are they getting there? Are they passing other displays and items to get there without stopping? When do they go to the magazine section, when they first enter or when they are about to leave? These techniques can be applied in any organization. Possible questions and data that can think of for the ministry I work with are: Where are guests sitting in the auditorium? Do they focus more on the IMAG screens or the live presenter on stage? Where, prior to the service, do they spend most of their time: talking with friends, playing video games, eating? What time do most of our guests show up to the building? How long do guests usually hang around after the service is completed?

Another technique is to have Mystery “Shoppers” to go into your stores, rides, hotels etc. and experience it from the point of view of the guest. Are they being treated well? How long did it take for someone to greet them upon arrival?

Focus groups are also a huge part of any major decision. Maybe you are planning to add a new section to your store, a new amusement ride, a new community outreach service. Yes, managers and leaders can sit in a room all day and brainstorm great possibilities to these, but without bringing in a group of people who will actually be using these services you are missing an important element.

With surveys however you must conduct them often. A survey completed four years ago about what guests like will be hugely different than what guests expect today. Surveys and data also cannot be hidden away in a drawer but must be used to develop new standards, improve old ones and develop new policies and procedures.

It is also vital to gather data at numerous points along a guests journey. As Disney puts it, a guest is going to give a much happier response when they checkout after a week of fun than they will 30 days later when the Credit Card bill comes in!

The Guest Compass

Another important focus to understanding a guest is to split them into four different areas: Needs, Wants, Stereotypes and Emotions. Lets take a high end clothing store for our example. What a guest needs is fairly obvious, new clothes. What a guest wants however can be a little more tricky- maybe they are wanting to impress in a job interview or maybe wanting to impress someone on a first date. Understanding wants, not just needs, can help lead you to better understanding your guests and how you can provide for them. Next are stereotypes, how do the guests see your company (store)? Being a high end clothing store an obvious stereotype would be “rich” or “high class”. Understanding how your store is seen in the guests eyes can help you see what they expect. Maybe they expect to have higher service than a lower end retailer and an environment that says “high class” with lounges, amazing decorations with top of the line clothes. The last point is the emotions. What emotions are your guests experiencing when they come to the store? When they first come in they may be amazed by the exclusive decorations, then they are impressed by the rapid and intelligent staff who help them find a suit, however when they get home they may feel remorseful for purchasing a $400 suit!

Next time I will continue with developing a Service Theme and Service Standards.

Previous Guest Service Series Posts
An Introduction

  1. Robbert says:

    Very interesting stuff here! I’m looking forward to your next posts. Keep up the good work!
    Greets, Robbert

  2. rammislatty says:

    Complimenti per idea del sito. Anche noi siamo amanti del trekking. Perche non organizziamo un incontro di appassionati per delle escursioni insieme? Magari non piu di 6-8 in tutto? Un saluto.
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