Cast Members should be like Canadians.
Yes, that is an odd statement, but I want you to think about that statement for a little bit. When you think of Canadians, a few stereotypes have to come to mind:
*Canadians are friendly
*Canadians are non-confrontational
*Canadians are good at what they do best—play hockey
*Canadians live amongst moose, beavers, and wild animals
*Canadians end a conversation with “eh”
Now take a second and replace “Canadians” with “Cast Members” and replace a couple of the words:
*Cast Members are friendly
*Cast Members are non-confrontational
*Cast Members are good at what they do best—make magic
*Cast Members live amongst mice, ducks, and other Furry Friends
*Cast Members end every sentence with “Have a Magical Day”
That sounds pretty similar, doesn’t it? At least, that’s what we, as Cast Members, should be known for. The inspiration for this column came from both Travis’ column last week on how guests should behave in a park and also from a thread from the forums where many of you, as guests, were finding less than stellar service at a Disney retail location in both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. I won’t point a finger at anyone in particular—Cast Members never point a finger, always two—but I would like to share with you the five Key Magical Behaviours that is expected from Cast Members at The Disney Store. Well, officially they’re called the “Key Magical Behaviors” but this is my column and I’m going to be as Canadian as I want to be because the hockey season starts in two days and I’m excited alright?!?! Okay. That wasn’t very friendly at all.
I don’t know if the Parks and retail locations at the Parks have different training, but I believe these points should extend to all Disney locations, retail and non-retail. Without further ado, here they are:
Greet Every Guest
This is a no-brainer. When you shop at a Disney Store, you expect exceptional guest service. How can a Cast deliver this exceptional guest service if the guest isn’t greeted?! Every time I shop somewhere else, if I’m not greeted within the first 2 minutes I put them at a level below the experience of a Disney Store. Maybe I’m being a little harsh here, but if I’m shopping I want some attention because I don’t know where everything is in a store.
This doesn’t just mean you get one greeting either, I mean this is the Disney Store, not Wal-Mart. Each Cast Member should interact with every guest at least once. The guest might not need assistance upon entering the store but might be a little overwhelmed by all of the Pixie Dust Magic in the store. We have to be here to help all of you fly!
Smile and Make Eye Contact
This one ties in to the first one. If you see a stranger on the street and happen to make eye contact, the common reaction is to smile. Why wouldn’t a Cast Member exercise this at all times? Eye contact and saying “Howdy Partner!” or “Hello Princess!” with a big grin would cheer anyone up. It might even make the guest’s day.
Another big thing that a smile and eye contact accomplishes is simply making a guest know that you are there. Last week, I explained the lingo of Disney Stores and how shoppers are a “guest” and not a “customer”. I’m not sure if this is company-wide or something my store made up, but when we radio that there’s a “customer” this means the person might have sticky-fingers and we need to keep an eye on him or her. Of course, we never engage any sort of direct confrontation, but hanging close by with smiles and constant eye-contact sends Roz’s message loud and clear. I’m watching you, Wazowski. Always watching. Always…
Engage with Every Child on Their Level
Also in last week’s column, I showed you a picture of Mickey waving on our ceiling. This is part of engaging children at their level. The key is to see the world from a child’s eyes. A 6 year old girl coming into the store is going to view it completely differently than the parent or Cast Member and it is the Cast Member’s duty to relate. NO NOT THAT KIND OF DUTY…but Wreck-It-Ralph is a perfect example of this point. Ralph had to see the world from Vanellope’s perspective before he could understand her. Cast Member’s need to take a child’s perspective’s too.
Most of the guests I interact with are parents with children…and it’s not just children that should be related to! The Cast Member should relate to everyone in the party. It’s been a long time since I was a child (age-wise, anyways) and I’m not a parent but I still need to relate to both. I usually try to tie the two parties together. For example, if I’m selling a Buzz/Woody/Zurg Blaster, I usually tell the child “Remember to always shoot with people, not at people. Shoot at objects that are still, like pop cans, not moving ones like dogs or cats.” Kids find it funny, parents appreciate the thought, and voila…mission accomplished!
And speaking of accomplishing missions…that’s what every Cast Member should strive to do! As Vinylmation collectors, many of you will probably relate to this one as well. A store is sold out of a product. For me, “No we don’t have it” is not an acceptable answer. Do you really think Buzz helped Woody fly by answering with “no you can’t”? Of course not! Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been sold out of items many times. What happens after the Cast Member find out the item is sold out is the important part. The Cast Member can do a number of things—call a different store, direct the guest to DisneyStore.com, find a similar product that could be a replacement, etc. Cast Members should be going to infinity and beyond for guests, as many of these guests are ones who will keep coming back.
Bring Stories to Life
Finally, the main goal of a Cast Member is the make sure the guest is entertained. The set-up of the store has a Box Office, a Stage, and a Cast. All we need is a star and that is you. Every time you walk into a Disney Store, you should feel like you are part of a Disney movie. It’s not a shopping experience, it’s an entertainment experience. It’s the Disney experience. The products are just props that you might want to take home, but even if you don’t buy anything the Cast should still be making this your visit to the store the most Magical part of your day.
Almost everybody who walks into a Disney Store will have magical memories attached to a Disney character or movie. It’s the Cast’s job to find these, bring them out, and talk about their own favourite movies and characters. Tying in Disney facts and stories to a guest’s own experiences is part of our job. I won’t lie, this is the hardest part for many Cast Members. Between filling the stage with product, making sure everyone can find everything their looking for, and having them rung through the tills efficiently, it’s tough for Cast Members to find a natural opening to slip in some trivia about a movie. This is where I’ll turn to you, as guests, to help the Cast Members. Give them a little something to talk about and see if they’re able to bring the story to life!
Hopefully, this will give you some perspective on your Disney Store experience and feel free to give your local store some feedback on how they are doing with each of these. If you’re a Cast Member reading this, I hope this was a nice little refresher for you. And if you’re a guest planning your next trip to a Disney Store, feel free to put the Cast Members to the test and see how many of these are hit. Above all though…have fun and have a magical day, eh.