Keep Backstage sights and behaviors back stage.

As you begin 2019, it may be a good time to reevaluate the message your business is sending to customers. When I was at Disney, “backstage” meant the behind-the-scenes areas where guests could never go or see. It was where we as cast members could relax, eat, drink, and take our breaks. Backstage was where we picked up our costumes, got dressed, read company memos on do’s and don’ts, and even complained sometimes about how hot it was out in the Park or how tired we were keeping up with all the guests. It was always clean in the backstage areas, but it was more utilitarian in looks.

“Onstage” was where the magic happened. It was where the show took place each and every day. It was where we cast members worked hard to make guests happy and exceed their expectations. There was a big mirror as one exited the Backstage into the Onstage that reminded each cast member to check their costume, name tag, and put a smile on their face. It was continuously reinforced on how important it was to make guests feel special. Guests were excited about their vacation and they wanted to believe that we as cast members were just as excited as they were. My first task in taking my position Onstage was to look around and be sure that my area was “show ready”. Was the trash picked up, were the lights all working, was any paint chipped, were boxes laying around? Anything that might take away from the magic was prohibited.

This Onstage/Backstage concept applied to behaviors as well. When you were onstage, the show was on and everyone was watching. Guests don’t care that you aren’t feeling well, that your car broke down on the way to work, or that you don’t like your schedule. Personal issues stayed backstage.

So, as you begin 2019, talk about what does “show ready” mean to your work group? Identify back stage behaviors that should never be seen onstage and get a commitment from everyone to ensure they will never compromise the customer experience with these behaviors. Reinforce the importance of paying attention to the details in the physical environment and enlist everyone’s help in maintaining the “magic” for your customers.

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