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    • Fascinating! I once got obsessed with how Disney runs its parks so I read several books by Disney people about it. One guy who retired after something like 14 years at Marriott and 26 at Disney, running Disney's parks for the last 10 of his career, said he was struggling with part of his book when his 12-year-old granddaughter asked what he was doing. He said he was trying to explain what good customer service is. She answered simply, "it's being nice."

      He marveled at how quickly she came up with the simplest, most obvious description the service industry has. He wrote in his book that the most important thing he learned in his career is after all the process you can put in place and all the training, it doesn't really stick unless you hire nice people. They have to naturally love being of service to others. You can try to train them in method acting, but it falls apart when it matters most: when they get a horrible customer. Or one day when they have a fight with their spouse and they lose their ability to act.

    • I listened to an episode of Invisibilia a while back that covered a different side of this phenomenon.

      When McDonald's expanded into the Soviet Union in the early 90s, they had to convince their new Russian employees to smile and be friendly to customers, which isn't exactly the Russian way of doing things. But when they started pretending to be happy, it turned out the employees actually started feeling happier. And customers started coming to McDonald's because it made them feel happier too.

    • One of my childhood memories in 1991 was a visit to the first McDonald’s ever opening in Russia which was in Moscow. We lived pretty far (about two days ride on a train) so this trip was a special treat from our grandma.

      When we arrived one of the first places we visited was McDonald’s. We had to wait in line for over 4 hours just to get inside and order our food. I believe this made it to the Guinness World Record for the longest line. When we finally got in it was so exciting to order food that came all packaged into separate colorful paper containers and the servers were so friendly and smiling (very unusual for Russians).

      I still remember that we saved the containers and plastic silverware to bring home and show it off. On that multi day trip we saw many museums and famous places, but for me the McDonald’s was the highlight of the Moscow trip. The service, the food and novelty of it all made a lasting impression.

    • Chatting with Cory about this over dinner, she drew an interesting parallel... the relationship to the adage that "the customer is always right". As we all know, quite often, the customer is actually wrong. But if you have to pretend they're right, then you get into this same kind of emotional fatigue.