Trash in HallwayStained Carpet

Do you think details really matter?  Can the lack of attention to details have an affect on the  customer experience? I learned throughout my career and particularly while working for Disney, that details matter. Walt Disney himself certainly knew it could have a tremendous affect on his business. Let me share with you an example why?

While recently traveling to speak and consult with various clients, I stayed at  nice hotel in the area.  After  checking in and walking to my hotel room,  there were two particular items that caught my immediate attention.  One was a paper bag filled with trash left in a corner and the second was a huge carpet stain in the middle of the hallway.  (Look closely in the middle of the picture to see the stain in the carpet) The next morning as I was heading out, the bag was still there. My thoughts were that someone would be removing it later and hopefully work on that  ugly stain too.

After my training sessions were over,  I returned later in the day to my room. The trash bag was still there in the corner of the hallway as well as the ugly stain. Didn’t anyone notice? Surely the housekeepers on the floor would have noticed it.  What about any of the room inspectors, houseman or maintenance workers? Did they not notice it too? Where was management? Don’t they walk the floors each and every day? This  was very disappointing to me and not something I would have expected from a hotel of this caliber.

This scenario made me wonder about few things:

* Did the employees have blinders on in not noticing those two items?  * Didn’t anyone realize how many hotel guests might also notice it? * Did staff members from other departments brush it off because they felt it was not their responsibility?  * Was anyone walking through inspecting the overall appearance of the hotel? What are the standards set by leadership?

On my second day the bag was finally removed. However the ugly carpet stain remained. Obviously there was not  any sense of urgency to attempt to clean the carpet and remove the stain. Being in the hotel business for over 25 years I couldn’t help but report the stain to the front desk. They thanked me for letting them know and would be notifying the housekeeping department.

When I returned the third day the stain was still there. I could not stand it any longer so I attempted to clean it myself. I retrieved a rag from my car, soaked it in warm water and proceeded to rub out the stain. In fact, it was not that difficult to do. It certainly looked a lot better. Why did I care about the stain more than any staff member or management? Did they not care?  I think the answer is obvious.  Complacency, apathy, lack of caring from employees, no accountability,  no sense of urgency, not my problem employee mentality and the list can go on and on.
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Disney uses two terms called “On-stage” and “Show time”. These are two very important principles for everyone in the entire organization. What would a guest see while visiting a Disney property? “On-stage” at a Disney property is no different then “on-stage” in a theater on Broadway. The stage must me ready and set for each performance.  Was that hotel’s stage set and ready? How many other guests do think walked by those particular items in the hallway? What was their perception of the cleanliness of the hotel?   How long would that carpet stain remain there? Do managers walk  the property daily? Are they busy in meetings, or glued to their office checking e-mails?   Here are a few tips that every business should incorporate into their culture”

Magical Tips:

1. All Management should schedule a daily walk through first thing in the morning to make sure the business is ready. “Show time”

2. All staff must realize that it is everyone’s responsibility to keep the property looking good and have a sense of urgency to correct any concerns.

3. Schedule a weekly walk-thru with staff to identify any concerns and show them what “good” is suppose to look like on stage.

4. Reward staff members who notify management of areas that need attention or go out of their way to fix it.

The hotel that I described obviously has some challenges. Blaming it on the staff or “you just can’t find good people anymore”. doesn’t cut it if you want to be better.  You can’t improve the culture by just reacting and fixing problems. You have to change the everyday mindset and the culture of the working environment.

Attention to details can matter the most and there was no one better to live by that philosophy than Walt Disney himself. He would spend many hours making sure every detail was met. He would even walk on his knees down Main Street to observe from what a child would see. Not easy to do, but it was a matter of choice.   I share Walt’s passion for the pursuit of excellence and help many businesses do the same by showing them why every detail counts when it involves being “on-stage”. I always have my clients say to themselves; “What would Walt say if he managed my business?”  Would he accept stained carpets, poor furniture, dirty restrooms, poorly painted walls, finger prints on windows or the lack of a sense of urgency by the staff or managers to change it.  Probably not and you and your staff shouldn’t either.

Start today by making your business ready for “show time”. It will separate you from your competition, create  a culture of excellence and make your customer experience Magical.  And remember, to ask yourself; “What would Walt Disney say if he ran my business?” It is my guess that he is probably watching over you.

 Always Wishing You MAGICAL Success!