By Andrew Neitlich

Do you provide Magic Moments?

By Andrew Neitlich

Well, I’m back from the Walt Disney Cruise, freshly ill after coming into contact with 500 kids during cold and flu season.

Still, the vacation was fantastic, and the Disney folks have lessons to teach to professionals everwhere. They are fanatical about details, and about going out of their way to please guests. It was depressing to leave the ship and go into a store on the mainland, because the help in these stores was so much less helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable than the service workers on the cruise. The Disney workers act as if it is an honor to serve. Most other service workers look bored, annoyed, and like they can’t wait for another dreary day to end.

I compare this to many IT professionals, who sometimes act — well, less than delighted to work face to face with clients. In fact, the day before leaving the cruise, I had the misfortune of being on a call with an IT client of mine and one of their clients. The IT professional cut the client off when she asked reasonable questions, acted impatient throughout the call, had a pompous and arrogant demeanor, and — by the end — set the relationship back quite a bit.

One of the pillars of the Disney system, in case you haven’t read about it, are Magic Moments. Disney folks go out of their way to find interactions with customers such that they can blow them away with great service. If you mention it is your anniversary, they bring you a special cake. If your child seems to like a specific Disney character, they find a way to get your child to see that character. It’s pretty amazing.

There’s a whole system here that involves screening people, motivating people, and training people. But most readers of this blog should already be screened and motivated, since they are the owners of their own firms.

So, do you have a systematic way to provide magic moments to your clients?

  • andrewtayloruk

    It’s all about enthusiasm, I always look at a clients project as my own.

    It has a two fold effect, I’m eager to suggest improvements and match the client’s enthusiasm, however, as at the end of the day it isn’t my project I can often bring some objectivity.

    I recently talked someone out of a new website because I didn’t think it was a worthwhile project for the client. The web couldn’t bring anything to his model so I thought it was a waste of his money re-developing a perfectly good website, we talked for a couple of hours and I eventually talked him out of it. As a point of illustration said, ‘I could see the point if…’ he really like the idea and thought it was another way to take his business forward, it spurned a completely seperate project.

    This is a really good position for me to be in because he now sees the value of my services over everyone else.

    I think if you can make the customer believe in you as a person, the work is incidental.

  • Craig Bedard

    This sounds similar to the Consulting maxim found here.

    “You must give the customer The Warm Fuzzy Feeling

  • thorbergdt

    If you don’t at least try to wear the Client’s shoes, you probably arent providing any of these magic moments of service. My clients love the personal interaction and up beat attitude, It keeps them feeling wanted and taken care of.

  • Joseph

    The first client I had made me excited to just do a great service. I offered him a reasonable price and an enough time for tech support. However, there’s one thing I forgot to ask and he never told me about it until I finished the project. He’s a little bit of a computer illiterate. So at the end of the project I provided a training on how to use the website. Every 2 days he calls and ask about very simple matter. I gave him notes and manuals on how to use the site but still. It was so annoying that the last call that we had I sounded uninterested of what he’s saying. My question is “How much magic moments do you need to provide? some people take advantage of your courteousness”

  • Disney is one of my favorite brands for that. They really go out of their way to create an experience, not just a service.

    It goes much deeper than just their employees too. It goes into the whole Disney philosphy, its marketing collateral, stores, and parks. It just goes to show how much actually caring can help.

  • I’m glad your Disney expereince was so enjoyable, Andrew. Years ago when I took my children to Disney World I found the ‘hype’ around the Disney experince to far. far exceed the level of customer care … if I hadn’t bought a multi-day ticket to begin with I never would have returned … my kids disliked the expereince too… glad to see that perhaps they have improved over the years.

    None of this rant, however, diminisess your magic moments theme. There are so few IT professionals out there who even tend toward magic moments that any attempts in this direction have to help an IT service company in the direction of differentiating themselevs from the pack. The majority of service providers in the technical fields seem to spend much more time telling their clients how good they are, rather than how good the client is that people with money to spend often delay project starts becuase they just aren’t ready to pay money to subject themselves to second-class treatment.

    Joseph feb’s comment above is agood example of stumbling over success and failing to notice the opportunity. The number one cause of project failures I have seen involves the customer becoming dissatisfied with what s/he bought and just disappearing … probably to always bad-mouth the provider. The fact that this client calls all the time is priceless. It means the client has needs and he wants Joseph to fulfill those needs. How to deal with the _way_ those needs are satisfied? That’s the opportunity .. perhaps he can be sold instructional consulting, simplification of the web site, reconfiguring his computer with simple batch files to automate the things he ha sproblems with , etc. etc. .. sounds like opportunity knocking to me.

  • cob

    I have been on that exact same cruise. I was blown away. I didn’t even have kids at the time… yet they still were able to cater to my needs.

  • pdxi

    Clients like to feel warm and fuzzy. They like to have their hands held, and to be reassured that everything is going to be great.

    This makes the difference between getting the job done, and doing an excellent job.

  • pcontour

    I worked very minimally on a project. The manager of the project was practically counter productive to any work done. He lost respect of everyone involved on the project and they would not tell him anything. So he called me up one day and asked me if we could have coffee and discuss the project. We had coffee 3 or 4 times. I would just explain things in terms he understood. At the end of the project, he sent out a thank you note, I was the only person on the note. I went over to my friend Shirley and said check out this note, this fits right in with your poster on how a project works. The last step rewarding the uninvolved. That’s irony, but at the end of the day, if that guy was hiring for another project, he wouldn’t hire anyone on the entire team, just me, a guy who charged about 8 hours to a 10 month project.

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