CorporateCoach eNewsletter

Issue No. 28, 29nd September 2003


  1. Editorial: Wsords and service
  2. Coaching notes: Disney's service theme

1.     Editorial: Words and service Richard Winfield

Richard Winfield

I am surprised at some of the slogans that companies have adopted in the UK recently.

One of the major banks has been advertising that it is time to change your bank. Having dealt with them for many years I had been delighted to change to one of their competitors – but was surprised that they should spend so much money on encouraging others to follow me.

Another bank has the slogan "because life's complicated enough". After they made me drag my 91 year old housebound father into their branch (with no parking access) to prove that he was still who he had been throughout his 30 years as a customer, I wondered "If life's complicated enough, why make it more complicated?"

A sandwich shop advertises "Less bread." Not very encouraging to visit a shop that advertises that it cuts down on a major ingredient in its product.

Perhaps when they thought up these slogans they had a different perception from mine. But if they had tested them by formally attempting to view them from other people's positions they might have detected the ambiguity and avoided the unintended consequences.

Another of our sandwich shops, called Pret a Manger, has adopted "Passionate about Pret, People and Food." It sums up what they are all about, and they use it as the basis for their recruitment, management and motivation. That's more like it!

Our coaching note this week describes how the Disney Corporation achieves a consistent level of customer service through many tens of thousands of staff. They work hard at it – and it works. They chose to start with words.

Dick Nunis, Chairman, Walt Disney Attractions says: "If you design, build, operate and maintain with quality, people will take pride in what they do."

This summer I moved from rural Wales to a large English suburban area. In a small market town like Lampeter it is easy to become known and recognised if you are a member of a small population visiting a few shops over many years. I have been most impressed by two businesses in Solihull, where I am now living. In each case I have brought them only very minor business – and yet I have been treated like a member of the family. Always welcomed, always recognised. They are the Royal Bank of Scotland and "A Plan" Insurance. Further, the staff are always clean and smart.

Last week I moved into an office block in central Birmingham – a small part of a very large area on eight floors. And yet I have been treated by the staff as if I am the only significant tenant and their new friend. The most powerful word for me is "Richard", and all the staff use it liberally, not only helpful but interested in how I am getting on – even before I moved in they took the trouble to know about and ask about my holiday, that takes real attention to detail. Congratulations to Stonemartin plc.

I take my hat off to the managers of these businesses, which stand out from the herd. I wonder how they achieved a culture of customer service where others have failed? Did they have an explicit service theme? I noticed, for example, that our move into the new offices was highly systematised so that Brefi Group was fully incorporated into Stonemartin's information systems, furniture and IT was correctly installed and staff repeatedly checked with me for satisfaction.



We have a client in Perth, Australia, who is designing an executive development package for their senior executives. One of the learning modes that she wants to include is one-on-one coaching sessions. She is looking for competent coaches/mentors with experience of the tourism industry.

If you would like to apply, or can recommend a local coach, please contact Brefi Group at

2.     Coaching notes: Disney's service theme

When I trained with Disney, they claimed that they employed 38,000 employees, acting as hosts to their 'guests'. How did they ensure that each and every one would provide an authentic Disney experience to their guests?

Disney had a set of guidelines for ?Disney? service:

  1. Make eye contact and smile
  2. Greet and welcome every guest
  3. Seek out guest contact
  4. Provide immediate service recovery
  5. Display appropriate body language at all times
  6. Preserve the "magical" guest experience
  7. Thank each and every guest

However, there was much more to success than this. Many organisations provide guidelines, but few achieve the quality and consistency that Disney does.

Disney works hard on its culture. It recruits into it, trains for it and manages by it. Disney's guidelines for creating a culture are:

  • Keep it simple
  • Make it global
  • Make it measurable
  • Provide training and coaching
  • Solicit feedback and ideas from the team
  • Recognise/reward performance

The Disney culture depends on four stages:

  • Service Theme
  • Service standards
  • Delivery standards
  • Integration

Let us consider how you can develop a service theme for your organisation.

Service theme

Two principles must govern the service theme:

  • The service theme must be adjusted to reflect changes in the product and corporate image of the company
  • The company must be able to deliver upon the theme

Create your service theme

Keeping your product and core values in mind, what is the desired image that you would like your employees to project about your organisation? Write some words and phrases that describe this image:


Now define your product, delivery method and recipients of your product:

What is your product or service?
We create . . .


How do you deliver the product or service?
by providing . . .


To whom do you deliver your product or service?
for . . . .


Read out what you have just written. You have just created the first draft of your service theme.

In Brefi Group's case: "We are an integrated change management organisation. We help improve corporate performance by providing an integrated package of change consultancy, facilitation, executive coaching and training for individuals and teams in organisations."

Do you see how simple and powerful the process is?



Following the article in CorporateCoach No 25 on the Balanced Business Scorecard we have had a request from Devprasad Banerjee asking about its usage in a corporate context, how to apply it, and if it differs from one organisation to another.

Devprasad is Manager, People Development & Training, at Kedia India Pvt Ltd. If you have any experience using the scorecard in a corporate context and would like to comment, we would be delighted to hear from you at Contributions will be published with attribution.

We aim to make the Brefi Group web site the premier UK developmental site for teams and individuals in organisations, so do please send us your suggestions and requests for further development. And let us know what you think of this newsletter, and comment on the content.

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We hope you enjoyed this issue of CorporateCoach. If you would like to learn more about how we can work together, then please contact me, Richard Winfield