I have to confess that I'm a huge Disney fan. Having four kids and soon to be five Disney has been an extended part of our family in person and at home for many years. I find the story and rise of Disney fascinating.
Then I recently came across a podcast called Entreleadership and found an interview with a very influential executive named Lee Cockrell who worked at Disney. He was interviewed on his experience at Disney and how they've been able to maintain such a high producing culture and consistent customer experience around the world with 100s of thousands of employees and visitors from over a hundred nations.
I furiously took down a number of notes but I want to focus on three specific insights that, although meant for entire organisations, can be very applicable to the way key account managers need to think about service today.
When you think about account management and sales professionals as a whole the word attention to detail doesn't come up often. This particular mindset of being able to apply excellence to all you do, even in those areas that we don't like is a critical piece. I don't profess to have nailed this in all areas of my life. But there is a clear standard set that if we choose to pursue will change the results in every interaction, communication and relationship we have. It is the disciplines no one sees that brings the results everyone wants.
Everybody wants to know they matter
If you've ever been to Disney Hotel in the summer it is a place full of energy, noise and excitement. I'm not just talking about the kids. In the midst of this are 100s of very different families, cultures, needs and expectations. Everyone wants to be heard. I remember one evening at Disney with my three kids at the time walking through the main reception to the restaurant. I heard mine and the kids names being called. It was two of the receptionist. I thought "do i know them?" I'm not sure if they had some sort of recognition system but I was impressed. They then went on to mention that the temperature outside would be really hot and that they thought of me because of my kids and gave me free bottles of sun lotion. Wow! and they did this for many other families individualised for their needs. Nobody ever gets tired of being recognised. What if you began to anticipate things for your clients not so you can sell them more but so you can serve them better and show you care.
Culture is an experience shared with your customers
There isn't a person on the planet that has not experienced the impact of culture in their life (now culture is a loaded word that I wont unpack today). For sake of a definition I'm going to talk about business culture. My definition is a set of values, principles and traditions that influence the way we behave, interact with others and make decisions. For many this will happen organically over time and is implied but for many it isn't intentional. Culture will set itself on the the behaviour of the overriding majority but spread through the organisation through its leadership. We can often forget the impact this may have on our customers. You can put on a face for so long but eventually the mask gets revealed and they see the real business underneath. As key account managers you have a unique position to create a culture with your customer and become a leader to spread that to other departments. Read my post on setting expectations which is one of the steps I teach in my framework for customer growth. Setting culture begins with expectation.
Whether we hold a leadership or management position or not. The pursuit of growth in these areas enables you to change the results in your favor and to your clients benefit. This wont happen overnight and neither did Disney. Just imagine your business becoming a place so attractive, so inviting, so welcoming that no one ever wants to leave.
Founder of the Key Account Hack System - New Key Account thinking that transforms customer relationships and creates predictable sales growth.
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