Disney employees are called cast members by the Disney Corporation. They refer to their customers as guests. Cast members are trained to acknowledge each guest with a smile anytime they come within 10 feet of that person. If you have ever been to a Disney theme park, you can imagine how often these employees come within 10 feet of their customers. They are smiling a lot!
They need to smile because they are being held accountable for doing so. Friendly employees are a primary reason people enjoy visiting Disney theme parks. If the cast member comes within five feet of a guest, they are required to not only smile, but acknowledge the guest verbally with a greeting such as:
- “Good morning.”
- “How are you today?”
- “Welcome to Disney World.”
The 10-10 Rule
Smiling and greeting customers are key components of customer service. These simple actions take service to a higher level, yet, they are missing in many organizations. I’ve expanded the Disney concept in my customer service training workshops by encouraging employees to greet customers within 10 seconds of coming within 10 feet of them. I call it the 10-10 rule. You can have fun by applying the 10-10 rule to other scenarios.
- For example, challenge yourself to answer your telephone within 10 seconds of the first ring.
- Respond to important email messages within 10 minutes after you have received them.
- When you need to be away from your desk, return all of your phone calls within 10 minutes of returning.
- Smile at 10 co-workers each day.
Ask yourself, “How do my customers and co-workers feel when they interact with me?” Do they feel like someone genuinely cares, or do they feel like a robot is serving them? You can demonstrate your caring and professionalism by following the 10-10 rule. You will communicate a loud and clear “welcome” message to everyone with whom you do business.