Are You As Good As Disney?

For many, many years now, the best example of customer service has been the Disney franchise. Their commitment to providing a magical customer experience has been the benchmark for companies to achieve. Recently, I heard Doug Lipp, former trainer at Disney University, speak about how Disney tirelessly trains their employees to provide the level of customer service expected at their theme parks. When listening to Doug, I couldn’t help but realize these same principles apply to the tree care world. So here are Disney’s four keys to great customer service.


Safety – Disney’s top priority is safety. If their customers get injured or do not feel safe inside the park, no amount of magic will get customers to return. The same goes for their employees. They understand that without safe employees, the premises does not stand a chance at being safe for visitors. Isn’t this true with the tree care industry as well? If your employees do not have safety in the forefront of their mind at all times, preventable accidents will happen. Not only do you risk having your employees miss work because of being injured, you also lose out on profit from a job if property damage is done because an employee was careless. Safety should always be the top priority of a tree care company.


Courtesy – Every Disney employee is instructed to be courteous to everyone they meet no matter what. They feel that when their employees treat every interaction with another human being as the most important conversation of their day, the impact on the customer experience is immeasurable. Think about how your crew interacts with your customers. Are they given the freedom to engage with the customer to help them understand what you are doing? Does your crew foreman ensure that all crew members are taking care of the property that they are working on as best as they possibly can. Focusing on courtesy at the jobsite will go a long way in helping ensure that the customer has a great experience with your company.


Show – Because the Disney team performs the first two points really well, their third key to great customer service is what their customers remember, the show. To Disney, the show is when team members provide the unforgettable experience. This can only happen when the effort on safety and courtesy is successfully achieved. They have a mirror on the door of the dressing rooms that all characters look at before they walk into the park. This reminds the team member that as soon as they step out into the park it is show time. How do you put on a show for your customers? Do you have clean looking trucks and equipment being operated by team members all wearing your uniform? When working at a job site, your employees should act in a professional manner no matter if your customer is home. The show that your team puts on starts the minute they get to the job and doesn’t end until they are in the trucks driving away. Even then, your trucks act as a mobile billboard giving a show to other motorists as they drive. Watching true arboricultural professionals at work is a spectacle and one that can tremendously help your company gain more customers if you nail the show.


Efficiency – Disney’s believes that efficiency comes at the very end of their customer experience. They create a better customer experience by focusing on safety, courtesy and show which in turn creates efficiencies throughout their organization. This works so well, that the increase in efficiencies creates additional capacity within their theme parks. In other words, when they succeed at the first three points, they become more profitable as a result. Think about your company. If your team members work safer and do not have many accidents or injuries to deal with, you become more efficient. If your employees are polite to your customers, you as the owner will have less fires to put out. Lastly, if your customers are enjoying the show that you give them, they will talk about your company more, creating free marketing opportunities for your business. The efficiencies a tree service gains from following those key points can make the difference between a thriving organization and one that is struggling to make it.


There are many ways to provide a great customer experience, however, I strongly encourage you to try the Disney model within your company. The more customers that have a fantastic experience with your team, the more likely they are to share their story and recommend your company to others. Isn’t that what we all want? More business from satisfied customers? Take a look at these four principles and find a way to fit them into your culture

Written by: Eric Petersen