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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Science of Service

I'm always encouraging my full-time staff to ask part-time staff for their opinions on how programs are running and how facilities are operating, and I encourage all staff (full and part-time) to be asking our customers questions.  What do they like, what would they like to see different?  What do we do well and what are we missing that would make their experiences better?  Studying our customers is what Disney calls Guestology.  They define guestology as the study of the people for whom we provide service.  Of course, they have it down to a science (see diagram).
For Disney, identifying the amenities, services, and experiences that satisfy and dissatisfy their guests is what helps them understand their guests' wants and needs, and helps them meet and exceed guest expectations.  If it works for a multi-billion dollar company like Disney (for over 60 years I might add), it can work for little West Sacramento Parks.

We will always know what we want and need, but finding out what customers want and need takes time and effort.  Focus groups, public hearings, electronic surveys - these are all ways we can gather input to better understand customer needs and wants, but nothing beats that impromptu, on the spot chat with a customer.  We all find ourselves in conversations with customers when we're visiting programs or on-site at a facility.  We need to add the questions, 'how are we doing, what do you like, what would you like to see different, and how could we make this a better experience for you and your family?' to our conversations.  I'm always surprised by what I hear (and often pleased, too).  Come up with your own questions and begin the study of your customers.
"You don't build it for yourself.  You know what the people want and you build it for them." - Walt Disney
Want to know more about Disney's approach to customer service?  Check out 'understanding your customers using guestology' and add their blog to your reading list.

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