I remember back in the early 90’s and I was a consultant doing leadership training for Disney managers, when, then CEO, Michael Eisner announced the “Take 5” program. He commented that it was very costly to keep building new theme park rides every year to keep guests engaged and coming back, so he was asking each cast member for help. Being in the entertainment business and using movie set language of the number of takes for a shoot, he empowered each cast member to Take 5 minutes out of their shift to do something that would WOW a guest. Can you imagine the effect of 50,000 cast members all doing at least one thing in their day to make a guest say “Wow”. He then asked for them share their WOW stories with all the parks and areas so it would give ideas to other cast members of what they could do.

One of the best stories was of a housekeeper who after cleaning the hotel room of her guests, noticed several plush animals the family had purchased strewn on the floor. She picked them up and placed them around the dinette table in the room and gave each a hand of playing cards she found on the dresser. The next day, after cleaning the room, she placed the plush animals under the covers of the freshly made up bed and turned on the television to the Disney channel. The family wrote a note to Mr. Eisner after their visit, that it was as much fun coming back to the hotel room to see what the housekeeper had done as it was going into the park for the day. What did it cost? Nothing, just a little creativity on behalf of the housekeeper and the empowerment to “Take 5”.

I got Wowed this week by my local family physician and his office staff. My 23 year old daughter who lives and works in Ft. Lauderdale contracted a virus. Sunday evening she called and said the symptoms were getting worse and could I please come down. So, I left Orlando at 2 in the morning and arrived to her place at 6 a.m. She did look bad, but I thought I could nurse her back to health by giving her lots of fluids. By 8 a.m. she still didn’t seem better so I called back to Orlando to our family physician and explained to the nurse the situation. Without hesitation, she said “get your daughter to the hospital, she could have severe dehydration”. Thank goodness, I did. After an IV, her appearance improved dramatically and she was on the path to recovery.

The best was yet to come. Two days later, the nurse called me back and said they wanted to know how my daughter was doing. Recognizing they weren’t even going to get an office visit out of this since my daughter was in another town, I personally felt they truly cared – we were not just another transaction. What did it cost? A couple of minutes of a phone call, but they gained a loyal customer who will share this story with everyone she knows. While I have many choices for family physicians, Dr. Baxley and his nurse Jennifer created a WOW that will keep me from going anywhere else.

And isn’t that what you want your customers to say?


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