The Usefulness of a Pirate’s Weapons and the Secret Weapons of Guest Experience

You usually won’t find a pirate without a weapon – most likely, several. Any self-respecting pirate will have a cutlass or sword, probably a dagger, and a flintlock pistol or two. They seem to have regular need of them…

When it comes to Guest Experiences, there are also “secret weapons” that you need to have at hand – they’re called Standards and Systems.

To the eyes of your Guest, a great experience should look like it was a cinch to pull off. To the extent that your efforts are even noticed, great hospitality should appear to be the result of a group of thoughtful team members spontaneously doing their jobs quickly, efficiently, and cheerfully.

However, to deliver an experience with any level of consistency, your organization is going to require a set of standards, behaviors, preparations, and execution points – and these aren’t going to happen by accident or without effort. To be great at hospitality means to excel at building and maintaining standards and systems that allow your organization to create a repeatable result for its Guests across a wide variety of situations and with an ever-changing number of team members.

The Heart of Hospitality, Micah Solomon

> Does your organization have a set of standards that guide and direct your Guest Experience?

There is an organization that has been using standards for over 60 years, with little change. They’re just a few words, yet the direct the actions of tens of thousands of team members across the globe, who serve millions of Guests annually – all while being seen as arguably the best in Guest Experiences.

You know that organization as the Walt Disney companies, and their standards are simple, but powerful. 

Known by various terms but most often called the Four Keys, they were literally Walt Disney’s vision for Guest Experiences. Taking the vision of Walt Disney and translating it into reality was accomplished by Van France – first at Disneyland when it opened in 1955, then at the Magic Kingdom in 1971, and at every other theme park, cruise ship, and Disney organization since then. You can read more about them here.

The Four Keys continue to be the primary standard for Disney’s Guest Experiences.

Over the last couple of years, in dozens of conversations I have had with Cast Members at both Disney World in Florida and Disneyland Park in California, in literally every conversation I had, the 4 Keys were mentioned – as a group, as individual stories, and how they are used as training tools.

That’s powerful.

These Four Keys are simple service standards, and they can be powerful tools in any organization – but especially in your church.

There is power in establishing a framework of values from which everyone in your organization operates. Within that framework, you can empower team members in a way that gives them a sense of ownership and purpose. You create a consistent image across the entire organization.

Disney’s standards have stood the test of time for over 60 years – shouldn’t you consider creating standards for your organization that will stand the test of time as well?

> Does your organization had a set of systems that deliver your Standards to your Guests?

At Disney, there are three “delivery systems” that are used to bring their standards – the Four Keys – to life. They are setting, process, and cast.

Setting: The setting is simply the place in which you meet your Guests. Not limited to just physical spaces, your setting extends from the digital doorway presented to a Guest all the way to the spaces you provide.

Process: A process is an action or set of actions your organization executes consistently to deliver your Guest Experience.

Cast: The most important part of your system is the people serving Guest on the front lines, and those serving them. You may have the most amazing setting and laser-sharp processes, but the team delivering face-to-face interactions are the most important of the three.

Exceeding Guests’ expectations is accomplished by paying attention to every detail through its systems.

So there you have it: your “secret weapon” in Guest Experiences are the standards and systems, combined and aligned to create and deliver – consistently – a powerful Guest Experience.


Previous post: The Story of a Pirate and His Ship – and the Bigger Story Behind It

This post is the ninth in a series of twelve, making the powerful connection between Guest Experiences and all things Pirates. It may seem a little strange, but I guarantee you won’t see a pirate flag, hear the word “ahoy,” or encounter any like number of references to “pirates” without connecting them to Guest Experiences!

inspired by Walt Disney and his amazing ability to bring a story to life on the screen and in person

brought to life by the Pirate Navigator

Now booking “voyages” to churches like yours! Contact me for more information.

1 thought on “The Usefulness of a Pirate’s Weapons and the Secret Weapons of Guest Experience

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *