Disney vs. Ritz-Carlton

Last week, I visited Disney World in Orlando with 12 other family members. Personally, I love the Disney experience.  I find their employees to be well trained, informative, and happy to help. I wrote about last year’s Disney trip on my NeuerSpace blog, including the Disney app, the Magic Bands, and my overall amazement regarding their customer service.

However, my mother pointed out something very interesting to me this year.  She noticed that the Disney employees are not empowered to act “outside of the box” and do not deviate from the norm.  Her exact comment was, “It’s not the way they do it at The Ritz-Carlton.” While I understand that it would be impossible to have 58,000 people (that’s the number of employees for Disney World alone, not including the hotels and other parks) thinking on their feet, it did get me thinking about the comparison.

The Ritz-Carlton is famous for their customer service, so much so that they have a Leadership Center that provides training to other companies. Their employees are empowered to enhance the guest experience and “build strong relationships and create Ritz-Carlton guests for life.”

I could be wrong, but isn’t that what we all want? 

Property management comes to mind first and foremost when I think about the contrast in styles. Tenants want their landlord to use state-of-the-art technology and equipment and for the staff to be helpful and courteous. That’s good customer service. But, what if the HVAC is down on a 90 degree day and two levels of approval are required before it can be fixed?  It doesn’t matter how nice the staff is if they can’t fix the problem. Problems happen, but it’s the ability to identify the problem, communicate with the tenants and fix the problem that defines great property management/customer service.

Proving that you never stop learning from your mother, I would like to thank her for pointing out the difference in style between Disney and The Ritz-Carlton. While both are great, there is a clear distinction between employees who follow instructions and those who are “empowered to create unique, memorable and personal experiences.”