Improving the Quality of Customer Interactions

According to a recent New York Times article, the hottest customer service consulting firm isn’t the well-known McKinsey & Co. or Harvard University’s executive management teams but Disney. Yes. Disney. Why Disney? Companies are feeling the pressure to improve the quality of their customer interactions. From the NFL to Chevrolet, organizations are hiring the Disney Institute because they recognize that the Internet gives unhappy customers a megaphone. Sound similar to the challenges facing the mortgage industry? I think so.

The Disney Institute’s consulting approach is based on five principles: leadership, selection and training, customer experience, brand loyalty and creativity. While these topics are not new and many companies certainly talk about them, few companies execute them well in my opinion.

To summarize what Disney Consulting says about two of their main principles, I have outlined key insights here:

1. Leadership: It all starts with the quality of leadership. Leadership is driven by how the leader leads by example. Leading by example is when the leader (defined as any person who influences change not just those with manager titles) consistently demonstrates the values of the company and their personal values. Both value systems must be in alignment or employees will not buy into the message being delivered by the leader. While the Disney Leadership model starts with the communication of core values from the leader, it is recognized that for the organization to survive over time, it must be willing to examine its strategies from planning, role clarifications, right-fit talent, accountability and supporting processes. The key theme is to constantly look at what works and what does not. Just because it worked before, does not mean that it works today.

2. Selection & Training: Walt Disney believed that customers do not remember a product or process, but they remember the people they dealt with. As a result, Disney hit upon an essential business truth, that while an owner can dream about building the most wonderful place in the world, it takes people to make it a reality. When making hiring decisions, it isn’t enough for hiring leaders to find a person, but it is important to select the right person for the position.

Leadership and Selection & Training. I couldn’t agree more that if you get these two principles correct, success will follow.