Disney’s Back to the Basics

Disney’s Back to the Basics

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are renowned for guest service, which has become a key component of the overall brand.  While still employed by Disney, the Integrated Insight team carried the responsibility for identifying and proving the business case for customer service improvement.  While Disney had conducted Guest Satisfaction and Employee Engagement tracking studies for years, extensive qualitative and quantitative research to better understand finite guest perceptions, what they appreciated most, and what did not meet their expectations, was conducted.  Guest research was supplemented with research among front line cast members and leaders to uncover barriers to delivering excellent service.  To further the business case for customer service, the team analyzed longitudinal research on guests stated intent versus actual return.  Over the course of ten years, numerous studies had been conducted with consistent results indicating what factors drove return visitation and what contributed to a guest’s lack of interest in visiting again.

Insights from this research helped inform strategies and initiatives to achieve higher satisfaction and intent to recommend. The team then estimated the investment required to correct and overcome these obstacles and the expected return on investment.  To test the approach prior to companywide rollout, the team established a comprehensive test/control study in both resorts and theme parks.  Over a three month period, measured results test versus control and test properties pre versus post implementation showed double digit percent improvement in the highest satisfaction ratings and return intent.  This scientific approach enabled a refinement of investment to spend where the impact was greatest, and resulted in approval of funding for companywide implementation.  The results was millions of dollars of re-investment in service enhancements, training and leadership development as the company engaged in what became known as the “Back to the Basics” initiative.


Baseline and Tracking Research, Customer Experience & Employee Engagement, Operational Efficiency and Process Improvement

Attractions, Resorts