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When Creating Happiness, Small Acts Have Big Impact

Are your employees empowered to go off task to be on purpose?
When Creating Happiness, Small Acts Have Big Impact
Image credit: Courtesy Disney Institute
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By Bruce Jones


The goal of wanting to provide excellent service is nearly universal—that is, most organizations want to provide excellent service to their customers. However, as we have seen at Disney Institute, through our work training business leaders and organizations around the world, realizing and consistently delivering on this goal over time remains challenging.

There are many reasons and situations that might factor into creating this discrepancy. One factor that we see fairly often is that organizations may not provide employees with all of the resources and training necessary to help them meet these expectations.

As we explore in our Disney’s Approach to Quality Service professional development course, one of the first, and most important things leadership can do is to help employees gain an understanding of their organization’s common purpose. For example, when employees can see clearly how their particular role fits into “the big picture,” they are more able to not just meet, but exceed customer expectation.

Here’s an illustration from within our own organization:

Sarah, a cast member in our research division, is tasked with gathering information about our guests as they enter and depart the park. This is an important role, as the information gathered by Sarah is instrumental in discovering the needs, wants and expectations that can help to enhance our customer experience.

One day recently, despite not yet having reached her daily goal, Sarah quickly dropped what she was doing when she was approached by a guest who was seeking assistance in planning his day. Sarah happily talked the guest through the park map, showing him what attractions would be the best for his children, and even helped him set up dining and Fastpass+ experiences via his mobile phone.

Yes, this interaction took Sarah away from her primary task of gathering surveys, and it potentially impacted her ability to reach her daily goal. But the guest was so thrilled at the attention he had received that he wrote a letter to us thanking Sarah for her time and assistance.

The key to this interaction was that Sarah felt empowered to take a few minutes away from her primary task to create a special moment for our guest. Through her training, she understood that in the service moment, the governing philosophical rule is “purpose overrules task.” It is OK to be off-task if you are on-purpose.

By performing this small act of exceptional guest service, Sarah was able to create a big impact on our guest—something they won’t soon forget—and that’s what truly matters.

Think about it…how can you empower your employees to perform the small acts that can have a big impact on your customer experience?

For more information, visit us at DisneyInstitute.com.