Using Disney’s Customer Service Model in Government

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It’s no surprise that customer service models differ from company to company. Depending on an organization’s mission, customer service models could focus on anything from low cost, high convenience to personalized care. Regardless of what your organization values, a customer service model should focus on customer satisfaction and how to continuously drive it. This means fine-tuning your touch points and developing strong internal policies and training programs. It also means evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of your customer.

As I looked around for a model that could provide more pieces for CXO’s to use in developing their customer service models, I stumbled across a post written on the Disney Institute Blog about a year ago called A Model for Customer Service.  While Disney’s customer service model focuses on exceeding a customer’s expectations, there are six pieces of their quality service model that could be applied to any organization’s model—even if that organization is a government entity. Here they are:

“• Guestology – the study of our Guests and their wants and needs. Who are your customers? How can you anticipate their needs?

• Quality standards – Disney’s operational guidelines to providing an outstanding experience for the Guest. These questions may include, “Are the hours I operate ideal for my Guest?” or “What can I do to lessen or avoid overcrowding?”

• Cast (employees) – The people charged with delivering outstanding service. Are you properly aligning the talents of each individual with a role (job) that will utilize those gifts?

• Setting –The physical environment. Is it clear where your Guests should place their order? Is your entrance inviting? Would a Guest describe this area as clean?

• Process – The step-by-step procedure for accomplishing a task. If a Guest has a complaint, what is the appropriate channel to direct it?

• Integration – How do you make sure that each piece works seamlessly with the others to deliver the best possible experience for your Guest?”

Although these six pieces were written for Disney, their concept can be the applied across industries. I used similar concepts developing a model for the City of Philadelphia. Guestology had to do with understanding constituent wants and needs. Cast meant developing a great training program and hiring the right people.Process meant fine-tuning our operations and Service Level Agreements with other departments. And Integration meant coordinating internal and external processes to work together as well as communicating our feedback and data to our senior team for ideas on how we can improve.

Setting is the only piece that does not perfectly translate. While Philly311 does have a walk-in center, our most popular channel is still the telephone. For us, “setting” meant evolving our channels to work as efficiently as possible. It also meant developing new channels so that we could bring our “setting” to our customers. Some of this was accomplished by developing a community engagement program—attending community meetings and training citizens in our self-service portal. Another piece of our setting was a mobile strategy—bringing our same service plus new technology and information to every smart phone. In governmental customer service, developing the right setting was one of the most difficult and yet most appreciated pieces of our customer service model.

Could Disney’s customer service model work for your organization? Are there any other essential components to your model? Let me know in the comments.

0a87dc88be2bd3c4377aed9a2380550e Rosetta Carrington Lue is the Chief Customer Service Officer and Senior Advisor to the City of Philadelphia’s Managing Director. Follow Rosetta on Twitter @Rosettalue or visit her blog at www.rosettacarringtonlue.com

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