Best Practices in Client Experience Strategy: Disney

Walt Disney once said, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”  With more than 70% repeat visitors at Disney Parks and Resorts, Disney is a great example of a company that has maintained customer loyalty for over half a century.  A strong basis for loyalty is the moment of interaction between frontline staff and customers, and the customer’s perception of that interaction.  For Disney, these “moments of truths” are categorized as either ‘Magic Moments’ or ‘Tragic Moments’.  Disney attributes its extraordinary retention rates to creating as many ‘Magic Moments’ as possible.

Let’s take a look at Disney’s “Take 5” program.  This program encourages each Cast Member (employee in Disney terms) to take five minutes out of their day to proactively do something special for a Guest. This could be as simple as offering to take a picture for a family (so all family members are in the shot), or giving away a stuffed animal to a sick child in her hotel room.  The Cast Members are encouraged to look for opportunities each and every day for ‘Magic Moments’—those little things that happen for Guests that are complete surprises. 

In the video below, Dennis Snow, a former Disney Cast Member, now turned customer service expert, discusses the strategy for improving customer loyalty.  He believes the key is to expand the product to include the entire experience…something that Disney does extremely well and takes into consideration when developing programs like “Take 5”. 

As Mr. Snow points out, every company has a product that they sell; and for banks and credit unions, the product is checking accounts, savings accounts, loans, etc.  But, there is also the process that the customer has to go through to obtain the product and this process is what companies are really selling to the customer; and it is what will differentiate a company from its competition if it is done well.  When evaluating the “process”, a company should move from a task mentality to an experience mentality.  Everything that a company does when interacting with a customer can either be treated as a task or it can be treated as an opportunity for creating a positive experience for the customer. 

For customers of banks and credit unions, the process for obtaining the product can include entering the lobby, waiting in line, and being asked questions about financial needs.  For a company to improve customer loyalty, it is key that frontline staff begin to view these processes as opportunities for creating a positive customer experience (i.e. Magic Moments) and not as routine tasks.  It doesn’t take much to be successful, simple things like a smile, a nice gesture, a demonstration of care, proper eye contact, or a pleasant phrase can go a long way in creating a positive experience for the customer. 

For more insight into Disney’s strong commitment to customer service and loyalty, check out “Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service” and to learn more about Dennis Snow, check out his website at:


Company Profile

Name:  The Walt Disney Company

Industry:  Diversified Entertainment, includes Media Networks, Parks and Resorts, Studio Entertainment, Consumer Products and Interactive Media

CEO:  Robert A. Iger

2009 Employees:  144,000

2009 Sales:  $36,149 (in millions)