Another Example of Disney's Great Service!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 3:47 PM
And, despite my rants in the other thread about all the woes with CP, I will say that the operations employees there are really pretty darn good. On balance, they hustle to check restraints, they work hard to get folks through the line, and they keep safety as job 1.

There were a few years there where the staff had all the enthusiasm of a dead fish, especially at queue entrances, but I believe that last year, particularly, the CP operations staff have gotten a lot better at realizing that what they are selling is really an experience, and that employee/guest interactions are a part of that experience. Still not Disney or Dollywood levels, but not half bad.

Merch/games staff is just fine.

Resorts does a pretty good job with the limited resources they have, but I get the sense that resorts is a tad understaffed. Not the employees' fault.

I'm still not convinced that Foods at CP couldn't use a big update to their training/reward system, because good employee service in foods seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

(As an aside, Dollywood > Disney in terms of staff friendliness. For a Disney CM, you can tell that it is their job to be friendly. For a Dollywood employee, they're just plain friendly.)

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008 4:01 PM
And to come full circle, I have experienced rude Dollywood employees.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008 4:06 PM
A lot of that Dollywood friendliness goes hand in hand with the mountains. I found the people throughout Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge to be some of the frindliest folks in the States. Those who aren't friendly? Well, they are not from Tennessee.

I could write volumes on customer service. It is slipping everywhere...not just at parks. It isn't as good now at Disney as it was a decade or more ago. Part of that is that we are raising a generation of priviledge that has not known SERIOUS sacrifice. Gas is expensive now but we aren't lined up for blocks to get it. The economy is tough now but this ain't the Great Depression. We are at war but for many it is something they follow on tv or in the paper but don't have a true connection with. By and large kids today are getting anything that want, are not made to earn it, and do not know what it is like to want what they can't have.

So, as they age and get ready for the workforce they are "lazy", expect to be coddled, get cocky about discipline, etc. It shouldn't come as a surprise to us since we have watered down sports so much that they can't fail. Schools are so sensitive now that they manipulate the grading system to avoid hurting feelings, etc.

I would argue that this example coming from Disney isn't even Great customer service. It is good service that appears great because we, as a society, have had to lower our expectations.

McDonald's had a program in the early 90s: We will smile and say "have a nice day" or your lunch is on us. They ended up giving away so much product that they quickly had to let the program die. They just could NOT get the cashiers to do that simple thing. And back then, McDonald's was highly regarded as a leader in customer service.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008 5:19 PM
Get out of my brain, you witch! :)
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008 9:25 PM
It seems the general consensus is that customer service is pretty good with a few exceptions at both CP and Disney. I would say Likewise for some regional parks (Dollywood).

I can really tell that a few of us have been out to ride now as the threads are less interesting (people are agreeing more) now than what it was a few weeks ago. I kind of miss it. Kind of. Not really. Anyway... CP SUX!!!!11!! Disney ROOLZ!!11!1 (From a fella who has been to neither):)

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008 9:53 PM
My apologies for my original post! I have never been a guest at either a Disney or a Cedar Point resort. It seems to me that the level of service at Cedar Point isn't as good as it used to be, but overall, they do have some great employees who probably would go out of their way to help out a guest.

With Bill Spehn back at Cedar Point, and based on my experience at Kings Island AFTER the bitter taste left in my mouth at the toll booth, it seems like Cedar Fair's employees should be good this year.

Again, sorry for making such a bold statement when I don't have any experience to back it up.

Thanks,

Sam

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008 10:01 PM
I still do not understand why that is so awful. You got your money back and no one was hurt in the process.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008 10:34 PM
I'm with Sam, actually. It's not that hard to look at the pass and wave the guest through, accounting for it later. Making the guest go through the hassle of paying and refunding because the park's systems don't work properly is Just Not Right.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008 10:38 PM
OK, but it is not something I would be thinking about two days later.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008 10:47 PM
Then you'd better turn in your enthusiast kvetching license. ;)

More seriously---it is these little things that can make the difference between a perfectly fine day and a great one. If parks want top dollar from their guests, and want them to go home happy having spent that top dollar, they've got to get these little things right.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008 11:09 PM

a_hoffman50 said:OK, but it is not something I would be thinking about two days later.

Thinking about it from a slightly *business-oriented* perspective, I see it a little differently...or not.

There's the "not something I would be thinking about two days later" in the PERSONAL sense...where you'd be griping about how you personally were affected. That would be counterproductive and silly.

But then there's the flip side, where you're thinking "if it were MY business, I'd want my customers to NOT go thru hassles on their way to spending money in my park and having a GREAT time." That's not the least bit counterproductive, and it's sometimes that very same discussion that takes place where businesses that DO strive for better get some of their best ideas. I know we've thrown a ton of ideas around the last decade or so, and some of them have actually made it to implementation. The parks can't exactly acknowledge what they've adopted as coming from enthusiast discussion (enthusiasts are bad enugh as is, LOL), but clearly some of the endorsements and/or criticisms have had an impact. Hopefully most of the ideas they've "stolen" (borrowed?) have been among the better ones. ;)

Meh, Professor Brian said it better...amd more succinctly. ;)

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008 12:41 AM
Customer Service has always been a big part of the amusement industry. Whether park A or B is better depends on how they treat someone.

Cedar Point could have days when they cant help you and disney can, its all the people that are willing to do it like mentioned way above this post. Customer service varies, but it comes in all aspects of a park. Whether it be a certain ride not running one day, and people complaining about it because they made a trip to ride it, im sure most of us have been in that boat before. Or something as simple as helping us find something lost, i guess it depends on our situations as guests at the time of our visit.

We dont see all that goes on everyday, unless we are some sort of employee who deals with lost and found or something of that nature. Truth is all cannot always be sacrificed for one person, at the expense of time to do work or even other people's experience at a particular place. Sometimes employees do the best they can.

To get to the bottom line, yes parks do invest in their patrons and try to make the best experience possible for guests, but sometimes human stupidity and other accidents happen within a given day. We need to stop whining about who does the best job of service because its hit or miss, considering if you have a great experience with help sure its the best place in the world, and if not damn them all to hell.

I think i got that point a few years back here when i did the same thing sam did, somehow i missed the point where other things lacked at cedar point, all because they did all they could to help me find my wallet-which is human stupidity on my part. There were for my case probably was at least someone who didnt enjoy some aspect of the park that day because of help, so that being said it all adds up to a circumstance of events and they are about equal when you take the good with the bad.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008 2:26 AM

Brian Noble said:
I'm with Sam, actually. It's not that hard to look at the pass and wave the guest through, accounting for it later. Making the guest go through the hassle of paying and refunding because the park's systems don't work properly is Just Not Right.

Unfortunately, I may have to go through this again on Friday, based on my calling Canada's Wonderland. Hopefully their computers will work, or the front line folks will be instructed to pass me through. I did leave my name and number(s) with the park, so I don't know if the Guest Relations rep will leave my name with the toll booth folks, or just be waiting for me so he can hand me $10 if the computer doesn't work and I am forced to pay.

I just realized that I should have asked what their exchange rate was on US currency. Last year their rate was heavily in my favor, and I hope it is again this year. Considering the only credit card I normally carry is not widely accepted in Canada (though I used that brand of card at Wal-Mart up there, and I think to buy my "Phantom of the Opera" ticket last spring), and the low value of the greenback, I'd like to exchange as little money as possible at the border.

-Sam

*** Edited 4/23/2008 6:28:05 AM UTC by Avalanche Sam***

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008 8:17 AM
Yesterday the Canadian dollar was running something like $1.05 to the American dollar. So you'll get a little bit of a discount.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008 8:44 AM

wahoo skipper said:


I could write volumes on customer service. It is slipping everywhere...not just at parks. It isn't as good now at Disney as it was a decade or more ago. Part of that is that we are raising a generation of priviledge that has not known SERIOUS sacrifice. Gas is expensive now but we aren't lined up for blocks to get it. The economy is tough now but this ain't the Great Depression. We are at war but for many it is something they follow on tv or in the paper but don't have a true connection with. By and large kids today are getting anything that want, are not made to earn it, and do not know what it is like to want what they can't have.

So, as they age and get ready for the workforce they are "lazy", expect to be coddled, get cocky about discipline, etc. It shouldn't come as a surprise to us since we have watered down sports so much that they can't fail. Schools are so sensitive now that they manipulate the grading system to avoid hurting feelings, etc.

MrZero response:
Wow! Just Wow! Oh, I agree and I'm just 46 who's never had to go through many of the things you mention but I still feel that 'kids today' don't give the effort that even 'my' generation does.


*** Edited 4/23/2008 12:45:38 PM UTC by MrZero***
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008 9:19 AM
Prior to 9/11...the worst thing my generation (born 1970 or later) had to deal with was the first space shuttle (Challenger) disaster. I do remember the lines for gas (I grew up in Southern California) in the 70s but the Vietnam War was just about over and even though I do remember bomb drills during the Cold War it certainly wasn't they same type of struggle.

Now, there is no doubt that 9/11 had an impact on my generation (and even those born after 1980/1990) but I would argue it wasn't the same type of national struggle as generations before us. A month later baseball, football and life in general was "back to normal" except for those directly impacted by 9/11 or those folks who were in New York, the area in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon.

Now, I know my criticism of today's young workforce is a generalization. I have young folks who work for me that do a fine job. But, by and large I think my theory explains a great deal about what is happening today. And, of course, the service sector has exploded in the past 20 years so there are more jobs than there are willing workers.

Cedar Point is a great example of that. Back in the 80s (and even...to an extent in the early 90s) Cedar Point could hand pick its workforce. It is no exaggeration to say that they could go to a college, take a polaroid picture of a whole slew of potential candidates and say..."this one looks like a rides worker, this one looks like a games worker, etc."

Now when they go to college campuses, instead of getting hundreds of potential recruits the are lucky if dozens show up. They find it so difficult to recruit their 4,000 employees from the potential midwest workforce that they have to travel around the WORLD looking for employees.

If a Sandusky kid doesn't like the way his Cedar Point boss talks to him one day he can quit and be hired later that afternoon in all liklihood for the same wage, if not better somewhere else in town. If he/she doesn't like that job then boom...they can change again. Heck, they could do that all summer before they ran out of potential employers. So, it isn't a stretch to say that the seasonal workforce has the full time work force by the short hairs. They know it...and they take advantage of it.

How do you get around it as an employer? Well, in my case I convinced my bosses that we have to pay a premium if we want premium people working for us. The jobs I have are not difficult but if we want to be represented by quality individuals (and yes...I view my workforce as a representation of me and the government that I work for) then we have to pay for it. I pay my staff $10 an hour to answer phones and work at a front desk. Is that exorbinant? Yes. But guess what? I generally have my pick of better quality kids. In many ways I have THEM by the short hairs b/c if they don't work at the level I expect them too they are not likely going to find a better paying part time job in this area...certainly not a job that is as "easy" as this one for what we pay.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008 10:56 AM
^You rock the house....


"And, of course, the service sector has exploded in the past 20 years so there are more jobs than there are willing workers."

Which is why when employers flat-out refuse to pay anything remotedly above minimum wage, they get what they get in terms of employees. You want employees who give a rat's behind about your customers, you have to show them you give a rat's behind about them. Otherwise, there are a bajillion other employers also willing to pay minimum wage...

The idea that employees are internally-motivated or not - there's alot of validity in that. But if I want to be able to pick-and-choose, and keep only the good ones, and motivate them...then I as an employer need to do something a little better for THEM.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008 11:01 AM
Here's a company that is strictly service-industry, pays their employees a real wage and real benfits, and gets excellent service out of them:

http://www.zingermansdeli.com/

Not only that, but employees are encouraged to spend time developing new business plans, and pitch them to the board. If the board is convinced, the mother company bankrolls the business, and the employee and mother company split the new business created. Some succeed, some fail, but all are interesting. The latest one is a baking class/camp:

http://www.bakewithzing.com/index.php

Now, this stuff is *expensive*, but they do a huge business. That's because they aren't really selling *stuff*. As one of the founders puts it: "No one wakes up in the morning and says, 'Today, I think I need a $12 sandwich.' Instead, we have to sell *service*."

And, do they ever! I stop by the coffeeshop most mornings for a quick breakfast. $6 for a coffee and a pastry, but it's *good*.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008 11:39 AM

rollergator said:
Which is why when employers flat-out refuse to pay anything remotedly above minimum wage, they get what they get in terms of employees. You want employees who give a rat's behind about your customers, you have to show them you give a rat's behind about them.

That still puts too much responsibility in the employer's hands for me.

If you don't want to work for minimum wage, then don't take a minimum wage job and not do it correctly.

That's not necessarily disagreement with what you guys are saying, but it still seems to be about employees saying, "What are you going to do for me?"

And I tend to look at it more as, "What am I going to do for myself?"

Obviously there a whole lot of give and take in the employer/employee relationship, but I still believe in the idea that if employees did more they'd receive more...not the other way around.

Half full? Half empty? Same cup. :)

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008 11:44 AM
The problem with the "What am I going to do for myself?" approach, is that many of these low paying service jobs simply have no future growth. You're talking about jobs that pay minimum wage to start, and you hit the pay ceiling in a matter of months even as a top-notch employee.

So, in many cases with low paying service jobs, there isn't much one can do for themselves, and combine that with the abysmal pay scale...

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