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Louis Gravance on The 7 Secrets to Producing WOW Service

Ryan Cook
Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023

If you have ever been lucky enough to enjoy a trip to Disneyland, you know that walking through those turnstiles and into the park is truly a special feeling. Within seconds, the sights and sounds of the park’s Main Street replace the hustle and bustle of the ticket office as kids run up to greet their favorite fairytale character, Pixar hero, or anthropomorphic mouse. As you explore different portions of the park the rides, music, scenery, and team members all work in tandem to create a powerful spell that delights guests of all ages. Even the most jaded cynic might catch themselves getting caught up in the fantasy, if only for a second. 

But, how can a tourist attraction turn into magic? Why, despite the traffic, crowds, and frankly, expense, are millions of people from around the world so eager to spend time in the “Happiest Place on Earth?” In short, what is it that makes Disney work? 

No other park seems to attract the same level of devotion and brand loyalty from patrons of all ages. Clearly, the multi-billion dollar, multi-continent, multi-media company is doing something right, but what is that exactly? And more importantly, what can the rest of us learn from it? 

Enter Louie Gravance, former Disney Institute Instructor and expert in creating fulfilling and productive workplace cultures. Louie knows the “Disney Recipe” better than just about anyone for one simple reason: he helped write it. 

Gravance got his start with Disney as one of the first singing cast members outside of the Haunted Mansion. Within six months, he was asked to lead workshops training his peers on how to engage and delight parkgoers with his signature flair. Fast forward two decades and Gravance had become an integral member of the Disney Institute in Orlando where he designed a curriculum for Disney park employees and cast members. Now as a speaker and consultant, he brings the secrets of the Disney model to the masses.

According to Gravance, the most important lesson we can learn from Disney boils down to something quite simple: an outstanding culture of service. In his keynote speech, “The 7 Secrets to Producing WOW Service,” Gravance lays out a path to unmatchable customer service for any company in any industry. None of the products or services you choose to sell would ultimately matter if the core customer experience is not as welcoming, wondrous, and, dare we say it, enchanting, as Disney’s. Even though most guests would have a hard time putting their finger on what makes the magic real, Gravance explains it’s the culture that is shared and promulgated by their team members. In his speech, he tailors his seven secrets to speak directly to your industry and provide applicable and actionable takeaways that will immediately transform your organization. 

Need an example? Let’s put our minds back in the park. You see Mickey Mouse with a line of kids who can’t wait to meet him. Everything from his body language to his demeanor is spot on. To those kids (and maybe their parents) this is the ACTUAL Mickey Mouse, who they’ve seen on television and in the movies for nearly a century. Of course, the entire scene only works because the cast member in the suit is playing their role, and all other team members who happen to be nearby are playing theirs as well. They commit to creating an experience for the guests, and it works. The illusion is so powerful, and performed so well, that we forget that at the end of the day, it is exactly that, an illusion. 

Thanks to instructors like Gravance, Disney team members are masters of their craft, who train to make the entire fantasy feel effortless. In reality, the process is extremely intentional and well thought out, down to the smallest interactions. In the Disney model, what the customer perceives as spontaneity is actually a well-oiled machine running on pure, premium-grade company culture. Parks are meticulously planned, monitored, and operated by a veritable army of actors, park attendants, and entire staff all committed to the same basic mission of providing the highest possible service to their guests.

Now, now, I can already picture some doubtful readers thinking to themselves, “This is all fine and good for Mickey Mouse, but what does a theme park have to do with [insert X business model here]?” While Gravance’s signature presentation, “7 Secrets for WOW Service” was inspired by his time at Disney, the strategies themselves are practical, credible, and applicable in literally any field. Having delivered his message to a range of audiences including construction firms, credit unions, universities, and accounting agencies, Gravance’s keynotes have proven to create success within any industry, not to mention the rave reviews. A dynamic, engaging, and absolutely hilarious speaker, his signature presentation is one of a kind. With stories that are simultaneously relatable and inspiring, Gravance has the unique ability to make audiences believe they can build an impactful culture of service to create their own brand of magic (fairy dust not included).


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