“You don’t build it for yourself. You know what the people want and you build it for them.”Walt Disney’s powerful words serve as the basis for what is known as the Disney customer experience.

Creating happiness for decades, Disney is the epitome of customer service at its finest. In The Disney Institute’s Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service, author Theodore Kinni reveals first time visitors to Disney theme parks return at a rate of 70 percent. This loyalty is a testament to the company’s dedication to the customer and when you implement this winning approach you too will have customers coming back for more just like Disney.

So, how does Disney do it? How has the company been able to build such a devoted following? And how can you use Disney’s successful strategy to improve your customers’ experience?

· Exceeding expectations

Disney has created a brand designed not only to meet customer expectations, but exceed them. When you deal with your patrons ask yourself “Am I doing the bare minimum or am I actually going that extra mile to create a truly unforgettable positive customer experience?” Anticipate what your customer requires and then go one, two or even three steps further. That’s when a good experience becomes a phenomenal experience. When reviewing your company’s customer service policy, it’s imperative to implement this philosophy. Don’t just satisfy the customer’s desires, exceed their expectations by anticipating.

· Actively-involved employees

Disney park employees are taught from day one to be actively involved in the customer experience. Train your employees in multiple areas of your business so they can answer all questions regarding your operation. Additionally being an active participant requires more than just sitting behind a desk waiting for the right opportunity to assist a customer. When implementing a Disney-inspired strategy, encourage your employees to truly become part of the team by actively finding solutions to problems before customers even need assistance. The key again, anticipate.

· Guests not customers

Perhaps the most important aspect of Disney’s philosophy is treating people like guests, not customers. Park visitors are consistently referred to as “Guests” – and they are regarded as such. Make your patrons feel as if they are a guest at your home – not your place of business. Forgo cold business greetings and the all-too-often uninterested professional tone and instead opt for an experience that would make even your mom proud. Remember your customers are guests, not just a means to make a buck.

Disney has perfected the art of customer service by exceeding expectations, training actively-involved employees and treating their patrons like welcomed guests. Follow this strategy and you too can engage the magic of Disney and keep your customers loyal for years to come.