Radio Evangelist

Thoughts of a Evangelist for Radio in all its forms

Charm School

Posted by Steve on July 20, 2008

I thought this is an interesting post because Tim Davis proposes that radio stations be run like Disney World. So. How about Radio Disney? Is the experience of working there, being a listener, and so on akin to the Disney World experience? I think not, although my friend Drew Rashbaum may disagree.

Charm School:

Today we have a guest blog from Jacobs’ Digital Director Tim Davis, recounting his Disney experience:

Disneyworld_characters_250 I recently had the pleasure of spending a few days in the wonderful world of Disney – Disney World to be precise.

From beginning to end, it was a delight.’ From the moment you arrive in Orlando and head to the Magical Express which takes you to your hotel, up until the return to the airport, we were wrapped in the warmth and courtesy of Disneyana.’ We had virtually no problems with anything – from park access to bus transportation and hotel accommodations, it was near flawless.’ And in the moments where the inevitable small glitches did occur?’ They were handled exactly how you would have like them handled (even if you didn’t actually know how you wanted it handled).

From senior managers at the hotel to the voice on the telephone when you made a reservation or inquiry, nearly every point of contact was concluded with the phrase have a magical day.’‘ Now, I’m a cynic by nature, but by the second day into the trip, I actually believed they meant it!

What’s the secret?’ They sell happiness – not just to guests but to their own employees.’ After several days in the park, I talked to a young lady working in our hotel about what really happens and how they all hold up the smiles.’ Turns out that they actively recruit from Africa for the ‘safari themed‘ hotel I was staying in.’ The young lady was at the tail end of a four-year degree in tourism and hotel management, and doing a year’s stint in customer service with Disney.’ The on-the-job training started with orientations that would blow your mind.’ As much as visitors expect to be ‘wowed’ by the shows and attractions, the same goes for the training.’ It’s all done Disney-style with animation, fireworks, big events, and even costumed characters leading sessions.’ It doesn’t matter if you tend bar, clean bathrooms or run the hotel, you get this training and immersion into the Disney Culture.’‘ If you can’t uphold it, you don’t work there.

Disney_look_book_250Disney employees are not simply ‘workers’ – they are in fact actually called cast members and those images and attitudes are upheld at every level of contact visitors might have.

It may seem a bit totalitarian, and likely isn’t feasible for many organizations to reach that far and wide in a culture immersion program.’ But the concept of customer service is one that is lacking in many industries.’ Radio in particular, being every bit as much showbiz as Disney, would do well to remember that we are selling entertainment.’ (A little happiness wouldn’t be such a bad thing either.)

For a study in contrasts, at the end of our trip I exited the ‘Magical Express’ and walked into line for Northwest Airlines to check luggage with my family.’ Not ONE person made it through the process without a scolding or receiving a dirty look from an NWA employee, myself included (after over an hour in line, I moved my bag to the counter before they were ready).

At no point did I believe that the folks working the NWA counter cared about my ‘experience,’ much less my happiness.’ Sadly, bad customer service carried over to the gate staff and flight attendants.’ Sure, there’s nothing remarkable about that level of crummy service for any airline these days and we’ve all faced our share of bad flights and lost baggage, sadly, but the contrast is what struck me this time around.

It was truly a tale of two cultures, and I know which one I’m ready to (willingly) patronize again.’

In radio’s struggle against new media and technology, perhaps one of the ‘difference makers‘ might be a commitment to customer service and making listeners (and advertisers) happy.

(Via JacoBlog – Jacobs Media’s Blog.)

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