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Disney Customer Experience Summit 2018 - Lessons Day #2 - Employee Engagement

May 21, 2018

“Do not just TELL people how they contribute; SHOW them how they contribute by immersing them in the customer experience”

Disney Institute


The first evening of the Disney CX Summit 2018 saw the participants having a fun night out at an Ice Age themed venue with the Disney Institute team.  After dinner, participants were escorted through the streets of Disneyland to watch the infamous and spectacular fireworks show that happens most evenings. And in true Disney style, it was spectacular!


As noted in my previous Blog, the first session of the Disney Customer Experience Summit focused on the role Leadership at Disney.  Appropriately following on from this session, the learning's of the second day were aptly dedicated to employee ‘Engagement’.


Before attending the Disney CX Summit, I think that I, along with many others in the CX industry, had a distorted view of how important the role of technology is in the customer journey. Technology is obviously a key factor in driving an efficient experience; but the emphasis we place on it needs to be realigned and put back into perspective. What I’ve realised is that technology is merely the ‘enabler’ of a great customer journey; it cannot fulfill the experience! Computers, technology and AI can only go so far in building customer relationships, drive customer satisfaction and contribute to loyalty.  Customers today, more than ever, crave a human interaction, particularly when the role technology doesn’t go as planned or meet their needs and they need a quick resolution to a problem.


It is in this area that Disney have got it right.  Even though Disney spent $1 Billion in technology in 2014 to create the ‘MyMagic+’ wristband and mobile app to facilitate a smooth customer journey, their primary focus is still on educating and engaging cast members (Disney term for employees) to fulfill the role of creating the magic that Disney is known for. It amazed me that during the Disney CX Summit, very little of the material we received or the discussions we had were around technology; the majority of their effort is focused on initiating, driving and maintaining the Disney culture, which is entirely focused on employee engagement.


Key takeaways on Employee Engagement:

  • An organisation must cultivate internal (employee) customer service with the same intentionality as external customer service.

  • Desired culture = desired behaviours = business results

  • Because your culture is defined by how people behave, the ideal employees are those who most closely align with your desired behaviours.

  • It is possible to create a workforce that demonstrates desired behaviours on a consistent basis, but it requires commitment to a culture that focuses on employing, developing and nurturing employees on a consistent basis.

  • Employee behaviour is the observable manifestation of your culture.

  • Behaviours reflect assumptions about how people think and act, as well as the values and beliefs that members of the organisation share.

  • Define a desired culture - the key elements of Culture consist of:

    • Shared values

    • Traits & Behaviours

    • Heritage & Traditions

    • Language & symbols

Disney are also very clear that creating a service minded culture is much more than just employee engagement and training, as customer service training isolates only one variable : the person on the front line. If policies, processes and systems are not working together to support employees in the delivery of exceptional service, the system collapses.


*Reference material – Disney Institute

*To attend the next Disney CX Summit, go to www.disneyinstitute.com




Email :  lynn@executivepresence.co.za    Mobile # +27 82 457 5752    www.lynnbakerspeaker.com

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