Disney Customer Experience Summit 2016 Recap

A few weeks ago, I was very fortunate to attend Walt Disney Company’s inaugural Customer Experience Summit in Orlando, FL. The two-and-a-half-day summit focused on how Disney creates, implements, and maintains an awe-inspiring customer experience. What better way to learn more about great customer experience than from a company that has consistently been at the top of the game since the beginning?

During the summit, Disney fully immersed attendees in a way that showcased what their guests feel during their experiences at Disney locations and then expanded on how that feeling is created and maintained. After all, customer experience is, at its core, the creation of emotional connections with customers as well as the overall experience a customer has during every interaction with a company.

Attendees were able to gain a multitude of insights and takeaways during their time at the summit including the three most critical components of Disney’s customer experience which are leadership, service, and engagement.


Leaders establish, operationalize, and sustain the values and vision that make organizations thrive. The long-term success of a company is dependent upon the intentional actions of exceptional leaders who exemplify great customer experience. There is a direct correlation between leadership excellence and business results. Leadership excellence grows team member excellence, which in turn creates customer satisfaction, ultimately driving positive business results. As a leader, are you cultivating your store’s success by making exceptional customer experience foundational in your decision-making? As a team member, are you leading by example with passion and conviction to promote positive customer experience? Are you working with your leader to find new or better ways to do so?


Exceptional customer service is architected from the systems, standards, and processes that you can control. Think about your store; what system, standard, or process do you use on a daily basis? Have you been doing a process the exact same way for the last five years? Ten years? What if you did that process differently? Could it be done more efficiently? It is time to stop thinking that a duty or task is done a certain way simply because it’s “the way we have always done it.”  Start asking yourself, “Why do we do it this way? Can we do it another way? If we’ve tried doing it a different way in the past and it didn’t work, what part of the process didn’t work and why?” Walt Disney once said, “I happen to be kind of an inquisitive guy, and when I see things I don’t like, I start thinking, ‘Why do they have to be like this, and how can I improve them?’”


It is possible to create an entire team that demonstrates great customer service on a consistent basis. Even in an imperfect environment—which all companies experience—it is possible. The way in which we create these teams is through engagement. An increase in highly engaged team members will create direct and sustainable improvements in organizational performance. Where do you feel your personal engagement level is? Are you highly uncommitted, neither fully committed nor uncommitted, or highly committed? What can you do to promote higher levels of engagement? The creation of an organization of highly committed individuals will ultimately lead your store into a future of best-in-class customer experience.

These are just a few takeaways and invaluable insights learned through Disney’s immersive program. Focusing on customer experience has become one of the single most important ways for companies to achieve success – often becoming its key differentiator and competitive advantage.  How will your store up its customer experience?



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