Guest Astonishment versus Customer Satisfaction

Shakespeare said; “A rose by any other name is still a rose and smells as sweetly.” So what’s the difference between Customer Satisfaction and Guest Astonishment. A customer is someone who runs in to a Convenience Store to buy a gallon of milk, or pay for their gas, or buy a local newspaper. A Guest is invited and therefore we treat them differently.

Every business has two sets of Guests, Internal Guests or Team Members and External Guests, the Clients or buyers of their product or service. Walt Disney said; “Our Cast Members (Internal Guests) will only treat the Guest as well as they are treated and never any better.” You can take that to the bank. If you demoralize your Team Members, they will not treat the Guest as an invited VIP.

In today’s competitive marketplace, we must treat everyone as an invited Guest for several reasons. First of all, if you don’t, some other Company will. Executives sometimes ask; “What if I train my Team and they leave?” My response is; “What if you don’t and they stay?” Next, it is a mindset, we treat Guests differently from Customers. Customers are sometimes regarded as an inconvenience, where as Guests are people we invite to our Company, or Organization and we realize that they really are VIPs!

Astonishment is defined as “a feeling of great surprise and wonder: the state of being amazed.” Satisfaction is defined as “fulfillment of a need or want.” There is quite a difference between “Astonishment” and “Satisfaction.” Customer Service is when a clerk says thank you for making a purchase. Guest Astonishment is what we have come to expect from Disney and Apple. If you have never been in an Apple Store, visit one and you will better understand the concept. Your experience will be consistent and outstanding, no one will try to sell you anything and you will come away feeling better than when you went in. It is sometimes compared to visiting a Disney Property.

To really succeed in 2019 as a successful business, we must consistently provide “Guest Astonishment,” which generates positive word of mouth, which in turn translates into success. The challenge is, what are you doing to generate consistent, positive, Internal Guest Astonishment?

Dave Gorden, Blog, January 1, 2019