Disney ideas for youth ministry: customer service

It was the end of a long day at the Magic Kingdom.

My wife had gone to buy some mousketeer hats while my daughter and I rode a ride one last time.  She bought two hats and had them embroidered with our names.  She went to pay the man and noticed she hadn’t been charged for the embroidery.

She asked the man about it.  His response:  “Just a little Disney magic.”  He didn’t chgoofyarge her the embroidery fee.

I don’t know if it’s Disney policy (though it would not surprise me) to give random gifts or discounts to people in the name of “Disney Magic,” but it did reinforce our positive feelings about the experience.  It’s the little things Disney does in their customer service that makes people want to come back.

Disney, by far, is not the only company that links customer service with returned business.  (Chic-fil-a is a master at it.)  However, Disney takes special pride in meeting customer expectations.  They do little things to make sure your visit is a pleasant experience.  A little customer service goes a long way.

That’s something we can apply in ministry.  We may not call them consumers, but our students and parents are our parishioners.  They choose to be part of our ministry, and let’s be honest; they have lots of other choices – both in and out of the Christian spectrum.  A little customer service, on our part, can go a long way.

How can we improve our customer service?  Here are just a few ways.

Be polite in your communication.  If you’re like me, resisting the urge for sarcasm is hard, especially when you’ve answered the same question three times.  However, demeaning a student or adult with a sarcastic answer won’t leave them feeling wanted.  Instead, make all of your communication polite, positive and up-beat.  No one at Disney frowns.

Be informed.  Everyone at Disney knew where everything was.  The ticket takers, train operators, employees that managed the lines and even the janitors could direct you to any ride or attraction in the park.  It reinforces goodwill when you know the answers about the mission trip you’re taking or that you promptly get back to parents when you have to look it up.  You don’t have to be an expert, but make sure you get necessary information to people who need it in a timely manner.

Be personal.  If you wore a badge with your name on it, Disney employees would greet you by name.  Obviously, you should know your students names, but there are other ways to be personal.  Write and mail students notes, send them birthday cards, send a personal note that they were missed.  Personal touches go a long way in our social media society.

Be spontaneous.  Throw a little unexpected Disney magic.  Buy a student lunch or bring parents over for dinner.  Take a student to a movie you know they want to see.  Buy them a tank of gas.  Those little things will be remembered.

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Wayne Yeager is the pastor at Glasford Baptist Church in the small town of Glasford, Il. As a 12-year veteran of ministry, his experience comes from small, rural churches and congregations. Wayne is married to Sara and they have two children. Wayne attends Liberty Seminary, studying for a Masters of Divinity in Christian Counseling. You can follow Wayne's blog at http://wyeager.blogspot.com.

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