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How Disney says "I'm sorry"

November 24th, 2010 · 6 Comments · Branding, Love affair with customers, Magic of Disney

Disneysorry_drewmclellanIt's inevitable…we're going to make a mistake or disappoint a customer.  And while Love Story might have told us that "love means never having to say you're sorry" I'm pretty sure that if we really want to create a love affair with our customers — we do on occasion, have to apologize.

The brilliant marketers at Disney know that for many, a trip to one of their resorts is a once in a lifetime event for a family.  So if they mess up, they'd better apologize in a big way.

Like most hotels, check in at Disney's Boardwalk is 4 pm.  But our room wasn't ready until around 6 pm.  Oops.

How did Disney handle their error?  First, we got a $200 credit on our room tab.  And then, there was a knock at the door and room service presented us with this beautiful (and delicious) 8" white chocolate Mickey and four tuxedo'd chocolate covered strawberries.

Do you suppose that right after we finally checked in, someone scrambled to figure out how to make things right with us?  Of course not.  Disney had a plan in place and all the cast member had to do was put it into action.

How about you — what's your white chocolate Mickey?  Don't wait until after you've disappointed a customer to figure out how to apologize.  

 

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Steve Woodruff

    Never thought of it that way – have your “I’m sorry” plan ready to roll in advance. That’s awesome! And tuxedo strawberries?? -makes you WANT your room not to be ready!

  • BrandCoach

    What a great little story, Drew. It tells a lot about Disney.

  • Drew McLellan

    Scott — they usually are!

    Steve — sooner or later, we’re going to get it wrong. So it makes sense to have the “I’m sorry” plan in place!

    BC — DIsney understands that it is the details that make or break a brand. I don’t believe there is anyone who gets it right more often.

    Drew

  • Billie

    My husband used to live in Florida and told me once that they train EVERY person from the trash sweeper to top exec to know all the same Disney policies. So, it doesn’t matter who you stop and what question you ask them they will all help you the same way.

    Disney is often used for reference on good customer service but there’s (or it used to) one of the best.

    Your photo looks delicious!

  • Drew McLellan

    Billie,

    Your husband is exactly right. EVERY new Disney employee (cast member) goes through 3 full days of training called the Disney Way before they are allowed to do any actual job training.

    It’s no accident that they’re everyone’s example of customer service excellence.

    Drew

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