Customer Service Lessons from the MouseWhat can a cartoon character teach you about superior customer service? Quite a bit, if it’s Mickey Mouse. At least that what Dennis Snow, an author, trainer and 20-year veteran of the Walt Disney World Company, hopes to demonstrate when he takes the main stage July 22, at PBA Symposium as part of PBA Beauty Week in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Recently, Snow warmed up by comparing and contrasting the fantasy world of Disney with the beauty world of a professional salon and spa during an interview with Stacey Soble, editor in Chief of SALON TODAY, and he proved that the mouse does know a thing or two:

CLICK HERE to listen to Stacey Soble's podcast interview with Dennis Snow!

ST: “Disney is a theme park, what can a real-world company like a salon learn from a company like Disney?”

Snow: “I get that all the time. People say, ‘It’s Disney, it’s fantasy, it’s fun to work there.’ Well, the product may be fantasy, but the execution is hard work, and it’s not easy. People often save for years for their visit to Disney World, so their expectations are sky high, which means the potential for disaster also is sky high. So when I look at a salon in relation to the Disney, it’s about three things: First, it’s the quality of the physical environment—that’s going to set my first impression. Then, it’s about the quality of the people working there. Does every person I come in contact with from the receptionist to the technician enhance my experience? Finally, it’s about the quality of the processes. Anything from the wait time to the checkout process to the scheduling of an appointment—how easy is it to do business with you? Your brand has to be represented effectively in all three of those components: the environment, the interaction with the employees, and the quality of the processes.”

ST: “Disney has a reputation for having very friendly employees. How can a company teach friendliness?”

Snow: “The best answer, which is also the hardest answer, is you need to hire friendly people. I believe that the real success begins with whom you bring into your organization. No matter what the role, make sure the people you bring in are wired to deliver great service. That being said, I certainly think you can talk about the service expectations your salon is looking for, and the types of behaviors that you want to represent your brand. And, you can coach those employees who may not be hitting the level you want by having them watch another person on the team who is excellent at what they do.”

ST: “To a visitor, Disney always seems like the perfect place, but what can it reveal about some of its backstage secrets?”

Snow: “People have that image of a Disney cast member who is out there smiling and friendly, and of course, that’s the idea, but when you go backstage, that’s where people decompress. That’s where you hear cast members complaining about their supervisors, or a guest who just held them personally accountable for the rain, or the fact they don’t want to work on the 4th of July. The important thing to remember is that <I>backstage environment<I> is where that imperfection can happen without a consequence to the guest. I think that’s important in a salon or spa too, because there’s a feeling you’re trying to create, and most of your guests are really looking forward to the time they spend with you. So those little disagreements between staff members or complaints about other guests, they can’t happen onstage. No matter what business you’re in, it’s so important to have that onstage/backstage mentality.”

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