Dan Naden

@WaltDisneyWorld: How My Mom Witnessed Customer Service Mastery

When's the last time you were blown away by a restaurant experience?

A stack full of pancakes…

A heaping portion of hash browns…

A delectable blueberry muffin that crumbles perfectly…

Millions don’t take a second to consider these ideal breakfast choices.

My Mom, however, can’t even go near these delicious concoctions.

A few years ago, she was diagnosed with Celiac disease. Within days, she had to dramatically affect her eating habits – and her life.

Mom’s kept an indefatigable spirit throughout this change in her life. She’s connected with peers in the same situation and adjusted to this new way of eating and drinking. I can’t speak for her, but, I know it hasn’t been easy to undergo such a forced transformation.

Thankfully, there are a growing number of restaurants that are catering to people with these restrictions. Outback Steakhouse, Panera Bread, Carrabbas, Chili’s, PF Chang’s are some locales that present options for those with dietary restrictions.

When I dine with my Mom, here’s a typical conversation between us and the waitstaff:

Waiter: “Can I take your order?”

Mom: “Yes, hello. I can’t eat anything that contains gluten. Do you have a menu that lists gluten-free options?

Waiter: “Hmm. I think we have a menu somewhere. Hold on.”

The waiter usually returns with a menu that looks as if it’s been unearthed from an ancient tomb. Yellowed and crumpled; it’s barely legible.

Yet, sometimes, establishments go to extraordinary levels to make people with special dietary needs feel welcome.

On my parents’ recent visit to Walt Disney World, they dined out 4 times. Each time, when my Mom posed the question about gluten-free foods, the wait staff member responded: “Yes, we do. Let me go get the chef. He can recommend a few options for you.” The chef arrived eager to please and grateful for the opportunity to serve.

Which option would you prefer?

  1. You get handed a dusty, moldy menu with faded writing by an inattentive, clueless member of the wait staff.
  2. You get a personal visit from the head chef with recommendations that meet your specific needs.

Every marketer should spend a few days at Walt Disney World and just listen. Listen to how the employees treat the customers. Listen to how staffers treat and WOW people with special needs. Listen to how accommodating the workers are when a customer poses a problem.

This is true service. What is your business doing to meet the customer at his problem with a solution at the ready?

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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