What Time is the 3 o’clock Parade?

Dumb question, right?  The 3 o’clock parade is at 3 o’clock!

This is apparently a question Disney employees hear on a regular basis.  When visitors ask, “What time is the 3 o’clock parade?” Disney employees are trained to say something like “The parade starts at 3 at Frontierland, but will be at Main Street USA at about 3:20.”

I love that story. It’s such a great example of taking the time to identify a moment that has the potential to go very wrong and pro-actively coming up with a plan to ensure it doesn’t.

Companies that pride themselves on consistently delivering great service take the time to plan and develop service philosophies. Take a quick peek at the following five stories. How can you incorporate these ideas or philosophies into your business?

  1. Disney’s “It’s not my fault, but it is my problem” philosophy.  When a customer reports a problem, a concern or a complaint, employees are taught to own that moment and work with the customer until the problem is resolved.  No pointing fingers, no passing blame … just focusing on the solution.
  2. David Ogilvy,  founder of Ogilvy & Mather New York, said “We don’t walk our clients to the elevator, we walk them to the street.”  Employees were expected to walk their clients all the way down to the street and help hail them a cab.  What a great way to go way beyond the expected and turn an ordinary customer touch point into an extraordinary customer touch point.
  3. Westjet’s “We succeed because I care” motto.   When baggage handlers contracted by Westjet didn’t load a bride-to-be’s wedding dress on the flight to their wedding destination, flight staff got together to buy the frantic bride a brand new $1,500 gown. (This ties in rather beautifully with Disney’s “It’s not my fault, but it is my problem” philosophy.)
  4. Jimyz Automotive knows you don’t have to be big to be great and you can make everyday, ordinary transactions extraordinary.  He thanks his customers with a handwritten note.  When’s the last time you got one of these from the person who serviced your vehicle?
  5. Home Outfitters doesn’t let policy get in the way of a satisfied customer.  In my blog ‘She Broke the Rules’ ,I received a refund on a product I purchased, even though the receipt clearly stated “no refunds” and I hadn’t asked for a refund.  No, not all rules, policies or procedures can be bent or broken but knowing which ones can be and then bending them for the customer builds loyalty.

Happy, loyal customers means focusing on the person behind the customer label. It’s about taking the time to plan ahead, to come up with responses to silly questions or answer questions before they are asked. It’s about finding ways to make ordinary interactions extraordinary. It’s about fixing problems when they arise and letting our customers know we value them.

Laurie Barkman is a customer service expert, corporate trainer and professional speaker.  Contact her at (204) 995-5836. For information on customer service training programs go to www.servicedge.ca/services.

1 thought on “What Time is the 3 o’clock Parade?

  1. Pingback: How to Exceed Customer Expectations in 2014

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