In 2017, retail brands are scrambling to differentiate themselves. There is still some product exclusivity left but for the most part, product X can be replaced by product Y. This then just leaves price and the customer experience as ways for companies to stand out from their competitors. Customer experience is the key to making your customers loyal, and giving them a reason to pick your organization over the one down the road. In fact, if you are good enough, the customer will talk you up and tell their friends that if they need product X, go see Retailer ABC. If you are really good, the customer will become a promoter, a brand ambassador and is excited about doing business with you and receiving messages from you. The customer might even be delighted by any interaction with your retail brand. You may be thinking there isn’t a company in the world that creates experiences that would invoke this kind of customer reaction; there is and that company is Disney.
Western Canada has been in a boom economy for a long time. It was good times. Business was good, in fact, it was so good some might be honest enough to admit it was easy. It is not easy anymore. Combine a tightened economy with a customer that has more choice and the power to broadcast any mishap a brand makes via social media and review sites, and business has gone from being interesting at times to frightening. Customer service excellence has to be a top priority for every business. I personally am one of the leaders of the customer journey focus at Flaman Group of Companies measuring all the touch points to rank for improvement. This is a journey we believe can never stop. This is where Disney comes in and why Flaman Group of Companies lobbied to bring Disney to Saskatchewan.
So what does bringing Disney to Saskatchewan mean?
On March 9th Disney Institute will be hosting their full day interactive learning experience: Disney’s Approach To Quality Service
What is Disney Institute?
Disney Institute is the professional development and external training arm of The Walt Disney Company. The company showcases ‘the business behind the magic’ through seminars, workshops and presentations, as well as programs for professionals from many different industries, including healthcare, aerospace/aviation, government/military, food/beverage and retail.
What will the course provide?
The course provides understanding that excellent service does not simply come from a friendly transaction or helpful technology—it is the result of truly understanding your customer’s expectations and putting the right guidelines and service standards in place to exceed them. When an organizational framework properly unites its people, place and processes by putting the customer at its core, exceptional service becomes possible across customer touch points. This creates greater intent to return and recommend, as well as a stronger competitive edge. With a common purpose and quality standards, employees at the front line are empowered to perform because they are equipped with the right tools and clear service expectations. When team members’ behaviors are reinforced through positive feedback, they feel valued and appreciated and will make sure their customers do as well.
So I have taken the course…
The course woke me up to what I needed to do. In fact, the course was transformative to my thinking. The session itself was remarkable in how it brought the concepts to life which provided clarity and deep understanding. I personally came out of the course with a deep belief of what quality service really is and how every single team member at Flaman Group of Companies is so important to making our customers’ experiences remarkable.
After the course I applied the thinking to Flaman Group of Companies to aid our culture shift towards the entire customer journey. I was so taken with what I learned from the course that I took another course and sought out the organizer to see if these courses were held in Saskatchewan. My thinking was I wanted not just our Alberta staff to benefit but our Saskatchewan staff as well. Sadly, no course has ever been run or was planned to be…..so Flaman lobbied and gathered its business connections to create a ready audience and with a substantial guaranteed attendance Disney said ‘yes,we will run a course in Saskatchewan.’
So why is Disney coming to Saskatchewan important?
Beyond learning to create remarkable experiences for your customers, there are other things happening with Disney coming to Saskatchewan. Disney is the world’s most powerful brand in 2016 (as ranked by Forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathryndill/2016/02/18/disney-tops-global-ranking-of-the-most-powerful-brands-in-2016/#1bdd8a3d7181 ) Having Disney institute in Saskatchewan is a big deal. The fact that the business community could convince Disney to come speaks to the commitment of Saskatchewan leaders to enhancing their level of customer service. This course could be the start of a movement in customer service excellence that will help define and differentiate how business is done in Saskatchewan. This is not pie in the sky thinking, it could happen and imagine where the companies could rise to if they embark on this journey.
Just food for thought.
Steve Whittington is Managing Director of a boutique digital agency, Graphic Intuitions. He has also served for a over a decade as a member of the Executive Team of Flaman Group of Companies an award winning organization and has over 25 years of executive experience. Steve’s current board work includes serving as Chair of the board for Flaman Fitness Canada, a national retailer; President of Glenora Child Care Society; and Co-Chair of the Marketing Program Advisory Committee for NAIT’s JR Shaw School of Business. Previous notable board work included, a Director for a meal prep internet Startup Mealife and Chair of Lethbridge Housing authority, the third largest Social housing NGO in Alberta.
Academically, Steve was an instructor of Project Management at Lethbridge College for seven years. Steve holds a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree; he is a Certified Sales Professional (CSP), Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Marketing Specialist (CMS) and (CCXP) Certified Customer Experience Professional.
Steve’s first book Thriving in the Customer Age – 8 Key Metrics to Transform your Business Results teaches about the customer journey and provides a guiding framework spanning all stages of the customer experience. The book explains how every metric impacts an organization and how leaders can best utilize each metric to provide a stellar customer experience. Everyone knows the customer is the most important part of a business. This book provides the tools to improve an organization’s customer experience and drastically transform business results.
Recently Steve’s Blog has been profiled as one of the Top 75 Customer Experience blogs