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Inside the Magic Kingdom – A Book Review

In the past, many companies have used Disney as the bench mark by which exceptional customer service has been measured. As the economic downturn began to leave its mark on the services provided by companies, more and more organizations began to benchmark against the role models of other organizations within and in surrounding jurisdictions rather than the Disney model.

Inside the Magic Kingdom – Seven Keys to Disney’s Success by Tom Connellan has brought the attention back to the magic of Disney’s almost fanatical attention to detail and how they provide for their customers. Told in the same story telling style of Ken Blanchard, Connellan takes us through a week in the Disney World park with the “gang of five” as they learn about how Disney offers exceptional customer service to millions of park visitors.

One of the thought provoking aspects of the book is the cast of characters. Each character portrays a combination of personality types that we encounter in the workplace. For example, Don is the eternal pessimist. He does not like the rest of the group and feels that the entire week is a waste of his time. As a result, he tries his best to destroy the morale of the group. Judy Crawford is another example. Judy is the proverbial company cheerleader – always cheerful, always “on” no matter how dismal the circumstances.

As the group spends the week meeting Disney World cast members. They have the opportunity to examine just how Disney pays attention to details and their infinite care of their guests. Readers get a view of a company that sets the standard of customer service role models.

In true Blanchard style, the characters receive a card with the “lesson learned” for the day. The book contained a number of quotes that demonstrated Disney’s attention to the customer. “If you overlook information from employees, you overlook probably the most valuable source of customer service you have.” This quote alone demonstrates just how important cast members are as front line people, in gauging the happiness of the park’s guests. Perhaps the most appropriate quote which embodies the entire concept of the book - “One with passion is better than forty who are merely interested.”

Despite the book’s predictable fiction style ending, the idea of the Inside the Magic Kingdom truly comes across. The end of the book also includes a Leader’s Tool Kit. The toolkit provides discussion topics and questions so that the reader can take the lessons learned and develop a plan for implementation within their own company.

This book is on loan from the library.

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