A customer handed me this book. And I couldn’t put it down.
After all, what entrepreneur doesn’t dream of building a world-class organization like Walt Disney did?
At first glance, Be Our Guest, is the story of the Disney Institute’s corporate training program, but as I read deeper into the stories, it truly became the story of integrating quality into the customer experience.
Most entrepreneurs I know fashioned some “quality” methodology and then shoved it into their customer’s faces at every opportunity. For us, it was a 100-page document, printed on expensive paper and handed to every prospect we met. I considered it a victory if, upon returning to that prospect’s office, I spied our binder on the shelf.
Be Our Guest showed me the importance maintaining the highest quality standards while making the customer feel like they were experiencing something special and unique. Consider this quote from the first edition (page 175):
Here’s one scene you will never witness: Your neighbors have just returned home after a vacation at Walt Disney World. “How did it go?” you ask. “Wow,” say the parents, “you’ve gotta experience that Walt Disney World service theme to believe it. Those folks know their service standards.”
I could readily relate to this story. I took my daughters on a Disney cruise one year. “Wow!” often came to mind. “Service theme” never did. Not once. It was our best vacation ever.
The first edition of this book remains on my bookshelf. I’ve given the updated edition, by author Theodore Kinni, as gifts.