Be Prepared For Angry Guests

By your host, J. Jeff Kober

In a recent post, we spoke about how Disney listens to its guests. We have an example of the work that goes on at Guest Relations in the Disney parks, such as City Hall at Disneyland Paris. Throughout the day, Guest Relations receives hundreds of guests. Many just have questions or need help. Some want to share their compliments and some want to complain. And Guest Relations stands ready no matter what the concern, even when that guest is quite vocal. After all, some guests are more than upset–they are angry and very mad.

City Hall at Disneyland Paris. Every Guest Relations has a room to accommodate angry guests. It is said that there are four of those at DLP. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
City Hall at Disneyland Paris. Every Guest Relations has a room to accommodate angry guests. It is said that there are four of those at DLP. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

As a result, they can also be disruptive. So as to not upset everyone else who has come to Guest Services to take care of an issue, Disney has a room set aside in the back to handle the needs of guests who require a little more attention than can be provided at a podium.

Here’s a look at the room at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It is lovely, and its appointments would satisfy any guests, even a celebrity visitor to the park. It has a cool art deco touch, appropriate for the time period represented at this theme park. Its furnishings include a soft, two-ended chaise lounge chair, with a glass coffee table in front. Around the room are black-and-white photos of Walt and the studios in the thirties and forties. The colors are subdued and the lighting is soft. Every appointment in the room serves the very purpose of bringing down the emotional level of the guest, while sending a subtle message that they are important and that management will do everything possible to make things right.

Be Prepared For Angry Guests
Disney sets up their Guest Relations Cast Members for success by providing a quiet, comfortable place to deal with angry guests.

How a matter is resolved depends on two important criteria–its severity, and who is responsible for what happened. Many issues are resolved simply by providing a friendly ear. Some people are satisfied simply when someone else has heard their complaint and understood it. If a problem needs to be fixed, once Disney fixes it, the guest is usually happy to resume his or her day in the park. We’ll talk about that in another entry. What’s important to know, is that not only has management trained their top employees on how to deal with angry guests, they’ve provided a space that helps them to succeed with bringing that anger down, and in managing their difficulty.

What do you do to be prepared for angry customers? What do you have in your tool kit to address customer frustrations? Disney has a plan, do you?

By the way, if you like the kind of ideas you read about today, such as the Guest Relations suite at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you might just want to take a look at my newest book, Disney’s Hollywood Studios: From Show Biz to Your Biz. It’s a great look at scores of little-known stories that are gems for taking your business to the next level. Be sure to take a look!

Disney's Hollywood Studios: From Show Biz to Your Biz, by J. Jeff Kober

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