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4.0 out of 5 stars An oldie but a goodie, 6 May 2013
Gerardine Killeen (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Be Our Guest (10th Anniversary Updated Edition) (Disney Institute Book) (Hardcover)
I have always liked this. The simplicity of approach appeals and I know from experience that it works.

Of course, in UK terms, how service and servility are confused can get in the way of stellar service if leaders fail to take it into account.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Some Disney Magic you can take home and use, 10 April 2014
Dr. Nicholas P. G. Davies (Halifax, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Be Our Guest (10th Anniversary Updated Edition) (Disney Institute Book) (Hardcover)
Disney create a magical experience whilst you are in the resorts and theme parks. But of course it doesn't happen by magic. They don't have a secret pixie dust mine run by dwarves. They use the combination of cast, setting and process to superb effect.

They do have an excellent cast- who are very well trained and drilled- and who have very clear priorities set for their work. This clarity allows them to do their work well- and creates a safe framework within which they can improvise freely and safely- creating magical moments and memories for guests. Disney Cast are simultaneously very disciplined, and yet very free and trusted. This is a good combination to achieve in any industry yet rarely done as well as by Disney and its cast. In particular the need for control and direction felt in many organisations actually leads them down the path to failure. The chains of unjustified assurance (See for example The Audit Society: Rituals of Verification demanded in many companies and government departments are actually reducing their degrees of control, and their degrees of effectiveness. The staff end up unable to give their best and the managers fruitlessly keep wondering how to bring out the best in their staff...without giving up control.

Disney uses a simple approach based on overarching priorities and then local adaptations for particular settings. Their overarching priorities are very clear- safety, courtesy, show, efficiency, and in that order.

Safety is not easy to assure at Disney- huge numbers of guests, and so eventually an incident will occur, even if the risk is one in a million or less- they have that many visitors so that a one in a million event will happen somewhere. Staff are trained to mitigate this risk.

Courtesy is their next step. Everyone is a very individual person- and Disney try to match their staff with the people they are serving. They also study culture across the world- and make their gestures clear but neutral and inoffensive. For example a pointing finger may be polite or impolite depending on context- Disney have worked out a strategy to avoid any appearance of impoliteness.

Show is harder to define- but it basically means that the guest is always focused on enjoying the park, and not on observing its workings. The amount of design work done to ensure seamless transitions between the areas of the parks is huge. Also the work that has gone into avoiding incongruous back scenes, and abrupt transitions is noteworthy. The audience's attention is never distracted unnecessarily.

Efficiency is process management by Disney team mange the flow of people through their locations. The detail with which Disney tracks this is awesome- they know how many people to expect in each bit of their park, and what they will want and need- and plan ahead to meet it. The cast then make it look easy, but there's a detailed process behind it.

This book describes well how Disney achieves its quality of service and if you want a bit of that magic to rub off onto you read this book, and learn. It actually makes me appreciate what Disney do more, and also realise that what they do could be replicated and adapted to many other contexts.

It's all just hidden within cast, setting and process.
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Be Our Guest (10th Anniversary Updated Edition) (Disney Institute Book)
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