Guest Service- The Service Theme

Posted: August 22, 2008 in Misc., Organizational Behavior
Tags: , ,

I know it has been a LONG time since my last post in the Guest Service Series. Things have been CRAZY the last few weeks. To see my last two posts go here:

Guest Service- Introduction
Guest Service- Understanding your Guests

So Today I will be looking at The Service Theme, what it is, how to create one and what it means for your organization!

“My business is making people, especially children, happy!” said Walt Disney over half a century ago! As simple as it sounds it is the basis of the entire Disney Company! From the movies and television shows to the top theme parks in the World! Things have changed a little since then, but the Disney Company’s Service Theme stays basically the same: “We create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages, everywhere!”

There has been tons of research conducted over the years in regards to a company having a firm Vision Statement, something their employees can grasp on to and use as a guiding theme in their daily work environment. Jim Collins and Jerry Porrars found that companies having sound vision statements outperformed general stock market figures by a factor of 12 since 1925! As they say in the Harvard Business Review:

“Leaders die, produces become obsolete, markets change, new technologies emerge and management fads come and go, but core ideology in a great company endures as a source of guidance and inspiration.”

One thing that cannot be done when creating a service theme is engraving it on plaques, hanging it on banners and then just leaving it at that! A vision statement must be based on already existing truths or be followed so closely and “religiously” that they become truths! The theme must be a living theme, it must be lived out in the daily lives of everyone in the company! The theme serves three critical needs: It clearly identifies the organizations purpose; it communicates a message internally; and it creates an image of the organization.  The service theme should tell everyone what your company does, how it does it and create a public image for the company. Again, look at Disney.

We create happiness– This is the what of the Disney Company, what they strive to do every single day in every medium they have.

By providing the finest entertainment for people of all ages, everywhere!– This is the how, the purpose of the company. In today’s world Entertainment can be television, movies, theme parks, cruises, books etc. but you probably won’t be going and taking out a Loan at the Bank of Disney anytime soon!

So how does the service theme communicate the organization to the outside world? Looking at this theme you can clearly see what the customer “guest” expects when interacting with Disney. They expect the finest in entertainment. This, in the words of Be our Guest, is a double-edged sword. If you exceed their expectations they are “happy”, if you fall below their expectations they are not pleased at all. Imagine, for those of you who have been to Disney, what standards you hold it to in relations to your normal amusement park. You don’t expect to see trash lying around on the streets, you expect that each and every show you see be top-notch (regardless if it is the 17th time that day the cast and crew has performed it!), and you expect nearly every aspect to be “picture perfect”. Imagine, or if you have seen it, going to Disney and a show stopping half way through, the dancers not performing hard, the singers slacking off, you’re going to be disappointed! You’re going to be dissatisfied! Now imagine the same thing happening at the local fair, you’ll probably throw it off to “well, this is just the local fair”. Interesting way our expectations cause us to react!

The thing all companies need to realize in today’s world is that EVERYONE is in the Service Business (more about this later!)

That wraps up The Service Theme section. Check back next time for Service Theme Standards!

Also, if you are enjoying this series and would like a Much More in-depth look at the Guest Service ideas and thoughts I’m throwing out here, I would recommend picking up “Be Our Guest” by the Disney Institute. It is a rather small book but is packed full with very useful content!

  1. Nick says:

    Interesting idea, isn’t it–setting the expectation that everything will be perfect? Of course, the payoff is in adding value to the experience and being remarkable so people will tell their friends and family.

    And I agree…”Be Our Guest” is a great book; it’s one of several I keep in arm’s reach.

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