Wednesday, May 18, 2016

IPI Keynote Speaker 2016

Dennis Snow was the keynote speaker at this morning's Welcome General Session at the IPI Expo in Nashville. He is an ex-Disney executive who got his first job at Walt Disney World in 1979 driving the submarines at the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride. Fast forward a few years and he is a top exec at the happiest company on Earth.

I thought his speech was very entertaining and informative. He focused on customer service and its importance in any business. He started off by asking the room full of hundreds of people to shout out their answers to this: "What stands out to you about your trip to Disney World? What does Disney World do well?" First answer? "It's very clean." Next? "Very organized." "They call you by your first name." After a few minutes he said, "Notice that no one said 'the rides'?! Even though that is kind of the point of Disney World." All these little things that the employees do for you while you are visiting the Magic Kingdom add up to a magical experience that somehow even trumps the reason why you went in the first place. But maybe they are the reasons you keep coming back.

A Few Quotes
"Intolerable service exists because intolerable service is tolerated." (He said this is not his quote.)
"The customer experience = value (to the customer.)"
"The longer we do what we do, the more we assume that customers know what we know. They do not." (So they will need help from time to time and should not be treated like idiots just because we know the answers to their (sometimes stupid) questions.)
Have an "Experience mentality" at your business instead of a "Task mentality."
"Never let a coaching moment go."

Smoking Cinderellas
Do you have a smoking Cinderella at your place of business? I hope not. Mr. Snow cited as an example a female employee in full Cinderella costume taking a break next to the castle in Disney World. A little girl runs up to her with her autograph book all ready to go and tugs on the Cinderella's dress, who turns around, cigarette in one hand, coffee in the other, and says, "I'm on a break, kid!" Experience = ruined by one employee in one instant.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


In Nashville, TN this week for the IPI Convention (International Parking Institute). Took off from Philly at 10:05 A.M. and landed in Nashville at 11 A.M. I was in my hotel eating a burger by 11:45.  Not too bad.

Met with a vendor and attended two educational sessions already. Heading out to an event tonight, and then tomorrow morning is the key note speaker (who hasn't been revealed).

I'm waiting in my hotel room to Facetime the twins so I can help them with some math prep for a test tomorrow. Angie says they need some extra guidance to make sure they "get it." We shall see. They should be calling soon...