Be Our Guest Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Be Our Guest shows you how to take better care of your customers by outlining the philosophy and systems that Disney has for taking care of theirs which have helped it become one of the most successful companies in the world.

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Be Our Guest Summary

You might think I’m crazy, but I don’t love Disneyland. I never really understood the magic of it and would rather go fishing or hiking. 

But I do know a lot of people who absolutely love it and go every year. And from what I can see of their fanaticism, I have to hand it to Disney. They know what they’re doing when it comes to customer service.

If you asked anyone what their dream vacation would be, they’d likely say going to Disneyland or Disney World. But how has a company that’s been around for almost a century stayed so relevant? Especially with how fast our world changes?

The answer is in the care they take in selecting the right staff and designing everything they offer around their guests. You’ll learn all about it, and how you can replicate their efforts to better care for your customers, in The Disney Institute‘s Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service.

3 of my favorite lessons from this book are:

  1. To deliver the best quality service spend time considering what your guests want and need.
  2. Integrate your systems and make them strong to have a solid strategy for taking care of your customers.
  3. Don’t just guess at what your guests are thinking, feeling, and doing, ask them!

Be…. our…. guest! Here we go!

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Lesson 1: Think about the needs and wants of your guests if you want to deliver the best quality service to them.

The main secret of Disney’s customer service success is it’s Quality Service Compass. And just like a real compass, it has four points to help employees care for guests:

  1. Guestology
  2. Quality Standards
  3. Delivery Systems
  4. Integration

First, let’s talk about guestology. This refers to the science of getting to know customers and is the foundation of the rest of the compass. It involves discovering what guests expect and then making sure employees know this.

For example, Disney paid attention to guests and found the main purposes of a vacation at a theme park for a family. Then, they made sure to fulfill those at all of their parks.

The next compass point is quality standards. Upon finding out what people want, the next best step is to figure out how you’ll deliver it to them, which is what this principle is all about.

There are four main components to quality standards at Disney:

  • Safety, which involves taking care of guest’s welfare.
  • Courtesy, or caring for guests personably.
  • Show refers to the elements of the environment which guests are in.
  • Efficiency is simply making sure that everything works properly.

Imagine you were a Disney cast member, as they call employees, and you were about to start a show when you notice a lost child. Because safety comes first, you would wait to begin until the child was taken care of.

Lesson 2: The best strategies for caring about customers include strong and integrated systems.

Disney’s next point on it’s Quality Service Compass encompasses three delivery systems:

  • Employees, who get constant performance training to make sure they can give high-quality service.
  • Setting, which helps ensure that Disney values are followed in each store, theme park, and hotel.
  • Processes to make sure that there are no errors in any part of the customer experience.

If you ate in a hotel dining room, for instance, you’d find that that the doorknobs are the same as those from Alice in Wonderland. This is an example of Disney’s commitment to incorporating its values into each setting that guests are in.

Trying to reduce stress as much as possible is also important to the company. At one time, it was difficult for guests to find their cars in the massive parking lots after a day of fun. 

Disney solved this by organizing the order in which the spaces were filled. Employees noted guest’s arrival time so all that customers had to do was remember what time they parked to find their car more easily.

The last point of the compass is integration, or interweaving the power of employees, setting, and processes.

To do this, it examines just one part of what they think is vital for guests to have a good time within all three of these aspects as part of an integration matrix.

Consider the element of courtesy as an example. Integration involves looking at how employees, setting, and processes contribute to this important factor of the guest experience.

Lesson 3: Ask your guests if you want to know what they are thinking, feeling, and doing.

Surveys might be a lot of work, but they’re a gold mine when it comes to being able to serve your customers. They let you find out what people really want and need and offer it to them. Without the vital info they bring in, you’re just guessing!

It’s helpful to know the demographics of who you’re serving, including gender, age, and income level, just to name a few. Once you figure out how to use surveys to get this information, you can use to offer the right services.

Disneyland, for example, found out that people from outside the United States made up 25% of the total guests coming to the park. They also discovered that Brazilian guests liked to sing as they traveled close together in large groups.

With this data, Disney could train employees that spoke Portuguese to notice these habits and respond accordingly. They could then translate for and better accommodate the Brazilians large groups.

You can also find a lot about what people are thinking and feeling from surveys. You might discover also what someone already knows about what your company does.

Utilizing this opportunity, Disney has discovered that guests enter the park excited, feel a sense of thrill while riding rides like Space Mountain, and exit exhausted.

With this information, they can provide places for people to sit and rest and also make sure to greet guests with enthusiasm as they enter the park.

Be Our Guest Review

I don’t really like Disneyland much, but I learned a lot from Be Our Guest. The level of care that Disney puts into its theme parks and customer services is admirable. I was also impressed with how much I learned from their organization and methods and I believe that anyone applying the same principles to their customer service will succeed!

Who would I recommend the Be Our Guest summary to?

The 56-year-old business owner that wants to help their customers have a better experience, the 27-year-old who works in a customer service position that wants to be their best, and anyone that’s curious about how Disney is so good at taking care of people.

Last Updated on October 12, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.