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This business coaching episode is about powerful customer service training systems provided by a manager of Walt Disney World Resort.

Results-Focused Training, Tools, and Workshops from Expert Business Coaches.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Rules of Customer Service: 1. Be nice.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 3. You win customers one at a time; You lose them a thousand at a time.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 4. Great service follows the law of gravity.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 2. Customer Service is not a department.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 5. Don't get bored with the basics.

-My name is Clay Clark, business coaching trainer, and I'm the CEO of thrive15.com. And today, I'm excited, I am honored-- it's a great privilege to be joined by Lee Cockerell. Who's Lee Cockerell? You might not know his name, but let me tell you a place you do know. This guy used to be the head of the Walt Disney World Resorts and their customer service training. It's unbelievable. This guy managed a staff of over 40,000 employees at his apex of his career.

And he's going to teach you specifically about customer service and how to development customer service training. Can you imagine what it would be like to manage a company where there's 40,000 employees, and you're trying to wow millions and millions of customers year after year, day after day? Could you imagine what that's like? Well, now you don't have to imagine. Because I'm telling you, this guy is going to teach you how to specifically create magic in your business through his customer service fundamentals. It's going to be awesome. But you're going to need to take a lot of notes. Because this guy is-- it's almost like we're interviewing Yoda here today, so hang in there.

Remember, at thrive15.com, we all believe that knowledge without application is meaningless. So as you're watching today's business coaching episode, make sure to ask yourself, what do you need to do to apply these principles in your own life and business? Otherwise, today's episode may just prove to be more meaningless than getting "Freebird" at any concert other than Leonard Skynyrd.

-So when I was writing this book, I turned to my granddaughter Margot. She was 12 years old. I said, Margot, I'm writing a book called "The Customer Rules." I said, I need some help. What do you think is the most important rule in customer service? And here you go. We ought to talk to children more. Little Margot looked up at me without thinking one second, and she said, well, Pappy, the first rule is be nice.

And I tell you what-- when she said that, I've thought a lot about over the years all the things we teach people and all this trying to get them to give better service, and all the things we say to them in interviews-- but be nice. Business coaching truth: And I think that's probably the number one thing everyone is looking for today when they go out, that they get treated respectfully.

And I think the word "be" in there is probably a part of the importance of that phrase, be nice. It's a pretty simple phrase. And be-- it's not about really teaching people to be nice. We're going to talk about that later in one of the rules-- trying to hire people who are nice, people who want to be there for the customer, people who want to be nice to the customer, people who want to give extra service, people who want to go all the way. So think about that. Be nice.

Business coaching lesson: Next rule-- first one in the book-- customer service is not a department. I don't know if you ever have a problem in life, and you call up on a phone, or you go to a big department store or another place, and you've got a problem, and they send you to the customer service department. They should rename it the customer aggravation department, because things usually don't go well there, especially when somebody's job is to just give service.

And really about this rule, it's everybody in the organization's responsibility. And you've really got to set the pace for that we actually give service to everybody, no matter if it's a person working in landscaping out in the yard. The culture of your organization has got to be that everybody understands that's our number one thing, is giving customer service. And so we talk about that and how to do that.

Second business coaching lesson, you win customers one at a time, and you lose them a thousand at a time. In the old days, what did we used to say? You win customers one at a time, you lose them one at a time. When you don't do a good job, you lose them. Today, with social media, web, putting something out there-- in fact, that chapter right in here talks about a large airline that I finally took their name out because I thought they might hire me someday, so I didn't want to put it in there.

They're pretty aggravating. And they lose them thousands at a time. Actually, they mishandled some troops coming back from Afghanistan, and charged them for their bags. And the soldiers made a video and put it up the minute they landed, and that airline got 200,000 complaints that day on social media from their customers. So don't underestimate the power of really annoying somebody and losing customers that it took you years to build up because one of your employees didn't do the right thing.

The next one is great service follows the law of gravity. What does that mean? Let me tell you what. Great service follows the law of gravity. It starts at the top. If you're the owner of that store, you're going to set the pace. If you want great service, that's exactly what you're going to get. And it starts at the top.

And you've got to make sure that everything you say and everything you do is sending that message, that we take care of our customers. Giving the right authority at the front line level, letting your employees and the people who work for you see you treating the customers really well, taking care of them, and having the right attitude, and never speaking about the customers negatively when they're not there where your other employees hear that going on.

Or don't let other employees talk about the customer-- you know, those people, or that guy, he's such a pain. I wish he wouldn't come in here anymore. And he always returns everything. Don't let that happen in your business. It starts at the top, and we know that. Business coaching truth: Leadership matters. And it's a big deal, and so many people forget that.

And at the other side, even if you're not the owner of the store, the top starts where you are. So even if the boss is not behaving, you can behave yourself, and do a good job, and set the pace. It does start at the top. It starts at the top in families with parents. It starts at the top with owners in the business.

Next one was don't get bored with the basics. What are the basics in life? Why are the basics so important? Let me tell you what. Your mother probably taught you all the basics. These are the things that make you successful in life-- saying thank you, please, excuse me, I'm sorry, having the store clean, friendliness, cleanliness. Even Walt Disney said before he died-- he gave us the last piece of advice before he died-- he said, if you folks will just keep it clean and friendly, everything will work out just fine here.

He didn't say I want everybody to have an iPad, and iPhone, and I want you to be texting when you should be paying attention to the customers. Don't get bored with the basics. Don't get bored with the basics when you're raising your kids, because the basics are going to be what makes them successful.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Rules of Customer Service: 6. "What would Mom do?"
  • Rules of Customer Service: 8. Look sharp.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 10. Hire the best Cast (employees).
  • Rules of Customer Service: 7. Be an ecologist.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 9. Always act like a professional.



-Business coaching for the next rule, what would mom do? Let me tell you. I put this one in there because I always ask myself through my career. And so far, there's nothing negative on me if you Google me. So far.


And I'm trying to keep it that way, because once it gets on there, you're dead. So what would mom do? I always ask, would you be proud of-- would your mother be proud of how you speak to people? How you pay attention to people? How you address your customers? Your integrity, your honesty, your truthfulness? How you care about your people?

When you're about to make any decision, would you be proud that your mother knew about it? You've probably heard this before, but it's a big one. Because how important are mothers? Professional football players, did you ever have them say on TV, hi, Dad? Never. It's hi, mom. Moms are the best leaders in the world because they don't care if you're happy.


Mothers care if you're successful. So they'll kick your little rear end, and then tell you they love you. And then kick it again, because they want you to be successful and they have a vision. Mothers have a great vision, that you leave home someday--


--and don't live in the basement. So think about what would mom do every day, and you'll probably make better decisions. Don't disappoint your mom.

Be an ecologist. Business coaching for the next rule, be an ecologist. What does that mean? Now I thought about that every day. People used ask me at Disney World, Lee, what do you do around here? You've got all these experts running your business for you. What do you do? And I said, you know, I'm the chief ecologist. I'm the chief environmentalist. I spend my time, and I make sure I think about where I spend my time so I can create a culture and an environment and a clean ecology that focuses on a place where 65,000 cast members wake up in the morning and want to come to work, versus have to come. A place where people matter, and they know they matter.

You think it's important to know you matter in life? Let me tell you what. If you want your people to know they matter, tell them. And if you were here last year, I told you. I used to tell my wife I loved her annually. That wasn't working too well. So I started telling her daily. And she told me on our 45th anniversary she's going to stay.


So if your wife hasn't said that to you lately, you might want to ask that question. Are you going to stay? And if you're not creating the right environment, the right culture, the right-- be an ecologist. Make sure it's clean and crisp and clear, and you come home, you don't start a hurricane in your house. You might be the problem.

Business coaching for the next rule, look sharp. Let me tell you, in this day and age, you've got to make sure you've got professional guidelines on appearance standards. You've got to-- don't be putting weirdos in your stores.


Quit hiring weirdos.


Let me tell you. Even some weirdos are not weird. But they look weird. And if you look weird, you are weird.


[INAUDIBLE] like Disney. No visible tattoos, no visible piercings, no purple hair. It's not good to scare your customers.


And I worry about people that do certain things about their judgment, and what else they're going to do. Look sharp. It matters. Let me tell you, it matters. A lot of HR departments won't let you say that, but I don't work for Disney anymore, so I'm telling you. I don't hire them. Now you can't say that when you work at Disney, because we're open-minded.



But I can guarantee you, the person hiring you is not open-minded. Don't underestimate that. They'll give you a different reason why they didn't hire you.

Business coaching for the next rule, always act as a professional. Let me tell you, that's important. We're going to talk about the great leader strategies at lunchtime today. At least act like a professional. It's like happiness. I tell people, you don't have to be happy to work at Disney. You've just got to act happy for eight hours. Happiness is a personal problem.

My job's not to make you happy. It's to make sure to give you a professional environment to work in, treat you right, get you the training, development, all the things you need. Act like a professional. And teach your people what professionalism looks like. Professionalism is paying attention to the customer, not talking to each other when they walk in that store. Stop what you're doing and go right to the door. Engage with them. Being professional, being careful what you say, being careful what you do.

Being a professional. You know what it looks like. But sometimes we don't enforce this rule. We don't enforce professionalism. We don't even explain to our employees what professionalism is. And it needs to be there, because it's part of your reputation.

And let me tell you what. Your reputation's everything. In fact, that's word of mouth. And professionalism and word of mouth go hand in hand, and that'll do just as good as those flyers you just heard. Word of mouth. A lot of people will come with a flyer they get in the mail, and the others are going to come because people tell them about it. I mean, it's a big deal.

Business coaching for the next rule. Hire the best employees. Cast members, we call them at Disney. Hire the best. There's a whole chapter in here, even a website you can go and take a little course on your interviewing skills. Make sure you're hiring the best. Hire people that have the right skill level that you need, of course. But you can train that usually in your stores.

Business coaching for two big things, hire people with a can-do attitude, not I can't-do attitude. And those people exist. Some of them are in your business right now. They shouldn't be there. You're never going to fix them. They're like that. It's too late. And then passion. Hiring people who want to take care of customers.

And take that little course. You'll see that you've been asking the wrong questions. You've been doing the wrong evaluation. Five, six, seven, eight questions will tell you how potential employees overcome obstacles. And people who can overcome obstacles are the best performers in life.

People that get to work on time versus the people who don't get to work on time come on the same interstate. Same interstate. So make sure that you get the people who figure out how to come on the same interstate and be to work on time, not coming in with an excuse why they're late. Skill, can-do attitude, passion. And you've got to figure out how to do that better. Most people don't know how to interview. They make a lot of mistakes.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Rules of Customer Service: 11. Be your own Shakespeare.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 12: Become an expert at creating experts.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 13: Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
  • Rules of Customer Service: 14: Expect more to get more.



-Business coaching for the next rule, be your own Shakespeare. Make sure you've written the story of how your store operates. Write a story. We have a story at Disney about when people go on internet, what we say when we answer the phone, exactly what we say. What we say when we hang up the phone. What we say when you get out of your car. There's a whole script written about how people put on the show.

And Disney's no different than you are. Every day in your hardware stores around the world, around the country, a big red curtain opens. And are you ready to put on the show? Have you hired the right people? Have you trained them right? Do they know the right script? Do you rehearse? Do you have the right people in the right positions? Do you have the right people backstage? Onstage?

Think about it as a show. Execute that show so you have a hit run, just like on Broadway. That show's going to run for 30, 40, 50 years. And don't underestimate the power of writing a story about what you want your employees to do, when you want them to do it, how you want them to do it, and then train them to do that, and then make sure they do that.

It's like on Broadway. If you can't sing and dance anymore, you're not in the show. Make sure your people can sing and dance, they can do the job. They do what you taught them to do, and they do it.

Business coaching for the next rule, become an expert at creating experts. Let me tell you, experts. And today, in this day and age, you've got to have experts. There's a lot of things I cannot do, but I know how to find an expert. I got IT problems-- I got a guy. I treat him so well. Anything he wants. I pay him more than he asks because when my computer goes down, I almost get ill. He's available 24/7 for me because I pay him well. I take care of him.

Business coaching tip: Get experts around you. Get the right people. Cultivate those experts. Have them in your business, the expert that can help your customer. Because in today's day and age, everything's too complex. People need experts. It could be an outside expert for your business, an inside, it could be a website you send your customers to that's really great to help them get through something.

Yesterday I was having a problem with my iPhone. And man, thank God I had that 800 number. And the guy must have thought I was the most stupid guy in the world, and he didn't act-- he didn't show it. I'm sure he thought, this guy knows nothing. But the expert, he fixed my phone. My best friend. And I'm back in business.

You need experts. Hopefully you've got them. Expertise today is why people come back to your store too. They come back because somebody can help them, because most people don't have a clue what they're doing, by the way. I'm convinced most people don't have a clue what they're doing in life. They need an expert to help them.

Business coaching for the next one, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Don't think that just training your people's enough. Let me tell you what. One thing we know at Disney, you train them and then you rehearse it. You make them show you the learning took place. You teach them what you want them to say, then you put them through a simulation. You need to set your service so far apart from your competitors that they will not walk back in one of those big box stores. Because the difference slaps them in the face when they walk into your store, because you've rehearsed it.

We rehearse at Disney every year for hurricanes. We rehearsed for 9/11. We rehearsed when it-- I guarantee you, when 9/11 happened, that was the calmest day we had. We handled that thing like that. We opened the command center in 30 minutes. We closed it down, got everybody safely back to their hotels. We had all the cast members, we had characters at the hotels taking care of the children. Chop, chop, chop, chop. We rehearsed that thing so that day when it happens-- we didn't think it'd be 9/11, but we knew it would be some crisis, someday, somewhere.

Be ready. It's like a fire drill. Get ready so everybody knows where the fire extinguisher is. Rehearse. Don't have a meeting when they announce the tornado's coming in 20 seconds to try to figure out what room you're going to. You probably want to figure that out tonight long before the tornado shows up. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

Business coaching for the next rule, expect more to get more. Let me tell you, I can tell you right now. Everybody in this room can make more money, have more customers, more repeat customers, more people coming back to your business if you raise your expectations. Raise your expectations for better people, for hiring better people, for more knowledge from people, for better attitude. Raise your expectations.

And the people in this room are the ones that have got to set the expectation. Tell people what it is with such clarity that there's no misunderstandings. It's like your mother. Did any of you have a mother who was clear? Remember when your mother said, am I clear? Do you understand what's going to happen to you if you come home late? Do you know what 11 o'clock means? Do you have a watch?

Be clear. Expect more to get more. You will get more. Most people will step up if you'll just tell them what you want. Expectations. Higher expectations. Right away. More cleanliness, more friendliness. Cleaner parking lot. Better organized storeroom. Better hospitality. Better friendliness. Business coaching tip: Raise your expectations. You'll get more.

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