From my days as a Walt Disney World cast member, I learned essential lessons in exceeding expectations. In fact, that was expected of us. It was especially crucial if a guest was having a bad day. Often it was because their kids were tired and crying, or their kids had dropped their ice cream, or after standing in line for an hour they’re just about to get on an attraction when the ride breaks down.
That’s when you tried “to turn a tragic moment into a magic moment.” It sounds corny, but it worked every time.
What I learned that when a guest would go off, it wasn’t just because you told him they’d have to wait for the next monorail, or their kids weren’t tall enough to ride an attraction. It was usually a series of small incidents that had built up from the time they were given the parking space furthest from the trams, the monorail had broken down, or they forgot their tickets at the hotel and had to get replacements at Guest Services. By the time you tell them the Haunted Mansion was closing due to technical difficulties, every small complaint is instantly compiled into a list of grievances.
That’s when you exceed expectations. You call another attraction and ask if they could ‘back door’ the family so they won’t have to wait in line. You get them a box of popcorn. You set up a special reservation for them at a popular restaurant. You give them a Disney pin. Total cost? A few bucks.
Total value? Priceless.