Be Our Guest - Disney Institute

Be Our Guest - Disney Institute

Disney understands very well about enchantment! Discover the business practices of the customer service of the most beloved company in the world and learn how to offer your customer an exceptional experience.

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In this book written by Disney Institute, you can find the demystified answer about what the company does, behind its curtains to always conquer more clients.

You certainly have already heard about Disney. But here you find what makes this company one of the biggest names in the world. You'll also discover the secret of the business behind the "magic" of service. And there's more, you understand how they face the same challenges as your company does.

Discover all the attributes of a company that delights its guests (clients) with an unforgettable experience, or should I say an unforgettable show?!

So, how about taking a walk in this enchanted land?

About the book "Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service"

"Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service" is a work of Disney Institute published in 2001.

The book chronicles the business practices that Disney applies in its everyday life to provide the customer with exceptional customer service.

In addition, it shows that, while being the most beloved and consolidated entertainment company in the world, Disney has to deal with a lot of random business challenges.

About the author Disney Institute

The Disney Institute is a division of The Walt Disney Company, responsible for providing professional development training and business consulting.

Besides, the institute helps organizations around the world with business insights and best practices tips on leadership, people management, service, and engagement, based on the method adopted within Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.

To whom is this book indicated?

This book is indicated for telemarketing companies or companies that deal directly with the general public, who wish to provide customer service of quality.

Main ideas of the book "Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service"

  • Disney faces many of the same challenges as any company;
  • You should develop the best product as you can;
  • Get your employees trained so they support exceptional service;
  • Learn from your experiences;
  • The importance of studying guestology to understand the client.

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[Book Summary] Be Our Guest - Disney Institute

Overview: Disney Style of Attendance

The pleasure of a well-attended customer is a result of the team's commitment and its leaders. Disney has unveiled a method of providing clients (whom they call guests) a magical experience in every visit.

It may seem that Disney is an extremely consolidated and stable company. But behind the curtains, the organization also faces challenges like your company does. According to the Disney Institute it's necessary to:

  • Be prepared because great success generates large competitors;
  • Keep the Disney standard of quality, even in other establishments of the park such as hotel and restaurants which are not properties of the company;
  • Raise customer service standards continuously to ensure their satisfaction.

A key element to awaken pleasure and enchantment is to always give people who use your services the best treatment. That's why, in their vision quality service means meeting the customers' expectations, paying attention to the details.

Quality service consists in knowing the needs and desires of the customers and then using all your business devices to create a unique experience.

Disney divides its quality service cycle in four parts:

  1. The theme of the service;
  2. Service standards, as safety, courtesy, spectacle, and efficiency;
  3. Service systems, employees, scenario, and processes;
  4. Integration.

You may be asking yourself:

  • All right, but how do I understand my client?
  • How do I prepare my employees?
  • How do I raise the quality of my scenario?
  • How should I optimize my processes?
  • How can I integrate each of these elements to provide a spectacle for my client?

Your answers are just in the next lines. Keep reading and demystify this doubts!

Overview: The magic of customer service

Understanding the customers doesn't mean just knowing what their needs are. It consists in getting deep in its demographic and psychographic characteristics to know the best approach and invest in the best solution.

Knowing the demographic factors ensures a better flow of the service cycle. Disney calls the psychographic study "guestology" (guest study).

The Guestology Compass consists in four parts:

  1. Needs: to discover what you customer need;
  2. Desires: less obvious traits that define the client's deeper purposes;
  3. Stereotypes: what the customers expect their company/employees to be;
  4. Emotions: what the customers feel in contact with your company.

According to the book "Be Our Guest", the theme of your service reflects the purpose of your business and the way that customers expect to be attended by you. Keeping the word of your "slogan" implies establishing criteria to ensure quality care.

These criteria are called service standards. As explained by Disney Institute, they support the quality of their service in four fields:

  1. Security: ensure customer well-being as a priority;
  2. Courtesy: each guest is a VIP guest. People are treated the way they want to be treated;
  3. Show: Exceptional entertainment from the beginning to the end;
  4. Efficiency: ensures the operation of processes without obstacles.

Overview: The Cast's Magic

It is important to establish a purpose and criteria to better serve the customer. And what guarantees the delivery of quality care? First, the "cast members".

Disney employees are the squad of the show. They are a critical source of care. To ensure the excellence of the show, you must cast exceptional "actors".

First impressions are the most striking. Your employees should be aware of the importance of making a positive impression.

Upon entering the company, Disney employees go through an adaptation period. They acquire knowledge of concepts and behaviors characteristic Disney way of serving.

Afterward, they undergo an internal training by Disney University that aims to:

  • Accustom new employees to the fundamentals of corporate culture;
  • Cultivate the values, behavior, and traditions of Walt Disney World;
  • Engage them as part of the environment as a whole and feel happy to be working there;
  • Present the essential safety standards.

Overview: The Magic of the Scenario

The scenario of a company can influence both the physical and psychological aspects of care.

Even the environment can tell you a lot about the quality of your customer service. If you intend to take a more serious approach, for example, your typical workplace may not be an amusement park.

Studying the scenario in the right way produces an appropriate environment to offer comfort to those who seek for your services. The book addresses a term created by Walt Disney itself called Imagineering (imagination + engineering).

Talking about Imagineering, it also gives the name to a Disney business unit responsible for creating all the resorts, theme parks, attractions, and other aspects that make up the Disney scene.

For this, they follow the 10 Commandments of Mickey:

  1. Know your audience;
  2. Get into the skin of your guests;
  3. Organize the flow of people and ideas;
  4. Create a "wienie" (visual magnet): guide and attract your customers;
  5. Use visual language: the message you want to give to the customer can be transmitted through the colors and shapes of a scenario;
  6. Avoid surplus, create surprises;
  7. Tell one story at a time;
  8. Avoid contradictions; keep the identity;
  9. Each gram of attention provides a ton of pleasure;
  10. keep it like this.

Overview: The Magic of the Process

The performance of a result depends on a series of actions and analysis of external influences which we call process. The process is in charge of gathering the cast and scenario in different ways to produce new results.

In this case, the process of a service is, policies, tasks, planned strategies, and the procedure used.

Disney, like any other company, faces some burnout points (complaints, doubts) from the guests. It is essential that the identification of these points and the treatment are implemented in a right way, to ensure the delivery of quality care.

At Disneyland, waiting time in the line is one of the most likely problems to happen. Unsurprisingly, due to the incredible public reach.

To overcome this situation, the book "Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service" shows three solutions they have implemented:

  1. Optimize the operation of the product and services: use resources to minimize waiting time, such as providing some priority services, build different accesses to the best customers;
  2. Optimize guest flow: provide choices on how to make the most of their time;
  3. Optimize the line experience: instruct guests to efficiently drive their ride within the theme park, as well as entertaining them by testing a few products in advance. Therefore, it minimizes the client's discomfort.

According to Disney Institute, some techniques must be applied to improve communication between the employee and the client. This includes providing special care for people with specific conditions, such as, in their case, children, foreigners and disabled people.

Overview: The Magic of Integration

The cast, the scenario, and the process must be integrated in order to meet the established standards of the attendance system shown above.

In fact, a well structured process gives you an efficient experience. This added to the cast of your company and the right scenario builds a lovely experience.

What would be the Disney way of integrating these three factors?

Integration Headquarter

It is a guide through the process of analysis and continuous improvement of care. It is a matrix composed of the service standards in the lines and the attendance systems in the columns.

This gives you an easy insight into each standard that you must establish for each service system. Also, you have the freedom to implement specific ideas for each intersection.

These ideas are analyzed through the aspects of:

  • High contact: an interactive experience;
  • Highly Spectacular: A Memorable Experience;
  • High technology: speed and accuracy in answering solutions.


It consists in mapping out a solution and devising a plan that is easy to implement. It is an effective way of visualizing the solutions elaborated by the Headquarter of Integration.

A Storyboard doesn't have to be limited to a drawing. To demonstrate its solution, the book "Be Our Guest" nominates other methods, such as:

  • Fabric samples;
  • Colors;
  • Photos;
  • Textures;
  • Brainstorming.

The main purpose of the Storyboard is to facilitate the transmission and realization of your idea. Just like Cinderella's outfit that was simple and turned into a splendid dress!

Then, recapitulating, it's important to have:

  • Well defined standards of care;
  • Service systems applied efficiently;
  • Get them added and aligned through integration tools.

The result: your customer will have an experience just like the Disney way - a spectacle!

What do other authors say about it?

In the book "The Sales Bible: The Ultimate Sales Resource", the author Jeffrey Gitomer advises the importance of being able to listen to your customers with all ears. This is related to the first rule of the sales world, as well as letting the customer decide, not forcing the response as this will bring discomfort.

"Geração de Valor", a book written by a Brazilian businessman Flávio Augusto, shows how, rather than just working for capital, it is important to generate value for clients. By generating value in other people's lives, in return, they will generate value in your business.

Finally, in the book "Scaling Up", the author Verne Harnish gives some tips for searching continuous improvement, as giving employees feedback in order to make them improve, among others.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

You have seen that you need to optimize all the fields in your service system so that the established standards can get done. To accomplish that you can:

  • Become a specialist in guestology, and use it to improve the process of customer information;
  • Determine critical care standards;
  • Make a memorable first impression;
  • Cultivate the language, standardization and tradition of the company in the service;
  • Instruct your employees with in-house training so they always provide a quality service;
  • Optimize customer flow throughout your service experience;
  • Stimulate the interaction of your team with the client;
  • Satisfy and surprise your customer expectations;
  • Plan and organize your ideas.

Did you like this summary of the book "Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service"?

How was this experience for you? Are you prepared to make your company's customer service work like Disney? Know that your opinion is very important to us!

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