Earning Customer Trust

Earning Customer Trust

Let’s discuss the guest service idea of Earning Customer Trust. Let’s flash back to the long gone Toon Town Fair at Magic Kingdom. You’ll recall that when you entered this land you first arrived by Pete’s Gas Station.

Earning Customer Trust
Would you trust someone with a face like Pete’s? Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Pete had a motto on the side of his garage that summed up his customer service offering:

Earning Customer Trust
“Trust Me With Your Car.” Should you? Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

I think many of us have had an experience at some point or another of having our car serviced by someone who was not too unlike Pete. You weren’t sure if you were getting what you paid for. You wondered if you weren’t being taken advantage of.

Earning customer trust is foundational to any satisfactory customer experience. You can’t have loyal customers if they don’t trust you. My colleagues, Mary and Chuck Lofy, worked with organizations to build that trust. They often defined trust as a “felt sense of safety.” Nowhere does this come more alive than in the Disney theme parks. Walt Disney built his entire concept around the idea that his park would not be a fly-by-night strip mall carnival, where you wondered if the lights burned out on the rides represented the people who had died on it. He wanted to build a name people could trust. As a result, Disney is one of the most trusted name brands in the world.

Nowhere is earning customer trust made more evidenced than on the rides and attractions found in the Disney theme parks. Across the way at Goofy’s Barnstormer, we see a humorous play on how one of the most essential supplies–in this case, the emergency escape parachute–is cut for budgetary purposes.

Earning Customer Trust
Would you trust a plane whose emergency equipment was cut for budgetary purposes? Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Imagineer Bruce Johnson summed it up: “The statistics are very much against us. Think about it. If there is a one-in-a-million chance that something will go wrong, and ten million guests ride our ride, then something will happen ten times. We can’t design to that one in a million. We have to design to one in hundreds of millions.”

No where does that play out so literally as at the Hollywood Hotel Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Here guests drop a total of–you guessed it–13 floors.

Earning Customer Trust
A 13-story free fall attraction is what awaits guests at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The irony is that visually this attraction works very hard to send the message that this ride will be anything but safe. All of the senses combine to suggest that the hotel and its elevators are broken down, and that something really bad is about to occur. Reality is that nothing could be further from the truth. The Tower of Terror is a state-of-the-art ride/show experience ran by some 80 computers. More computer power is used to run the Tower than was used to get astronauts to the moon. A crew watches every inch of the attraction, all the time. Safety checks occur before the park opens and throughout the day. Every vehicle is tested at the start of every day before bellhops can use them to board guests. Trained maintenance personnel handle the elevator systems and the ride vehicles; many of these personnel work long into the night to make certain that the ride is ready for the next morning. Everyone is trained extensively and then continuously retrained–especially as it pertains to safety, a topic under constant review and discussion.

The result is that you can trust Disney with the rides and attractions it offers. It is earning customer trust every day by working hard to provide the safest experience possible. They teach all of their Cast Members that they should practice safe behaviors in all they do–that they should take action to always put safety first and that they should speak up to ensure the safety of others. This is taught on day one when a new Cast Member attends orientation. And it’s focused on each and every day thereafter.

Earning customer trust must be intentional. It doesn’t happen accidentally. How is your organization at earning customer trust? What strategies and efforts are in place when it comes to earning customer trust? What must you do to improve and build re-build that trust if it’s broken? Earning customer trust is foundational if you want to build a great customer experience.

Do you want to know more about how Disney earns that trust? Be certain to take a look at The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney, available on Amazon and now on Kindle. Also, learn more about the Hollywood Tower Hotel in Disney’s Hollywood Studios: From Show Biz to Your Biz, also available on Amazon and Kindle.

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