Flip the Switch

132: Influencing the Guest Experience from the Frontlines w/ Vanessa Ward

In this episode, David Millay sits down with Vanessa Ward, Vice President of Event Service for the Phoenix Suns. Before joining the Suns, Vanessa spent time at Disney, launching the Guest Experience Center, and the Chicago Cubs, overseeing the Guest and Associate Experience.  Understanding that the employee experience directly impacts the guest experience, Vanessa shares tactics on communicating significant changes from event to event, making events unique for the staff and how to develop niche service programs.


3:17    Takeaways and Key Learnings from Disney

6:09    The Service Recovery Toolkit

10:42  Building a New Service Recovery Toolkit 

13:25  Disney’s Guest Experience Center and Proactively Resolving Issues

20:17  Customer Satisfaction Surveys 

25:50  Newsletters and Themes to Drive the Seasonal Employee Experience

39:17  “Know Before You Go” Communications

43:12   Building a Niche Service Operation

49:15   Training Throughout the Season

52:21   Taking Risks


Other podcasts referenced in this episode: 

Episode 35: Personalizing the Guest Experience w/ Brian Betts (Disney’s Guest Experience Center) 

Connect with Vanessa on LinkedIn or email

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Flip the Switch

118: The Parallels Between Rabid Fandoms and Religions w/ Jodi Eichler-Levine

Taking a non-traditional exploration of fandom, today’s episode features Jodi Eichler-Levine, who studies the parallels between classic religions and fan cultures.  After learning of Jodi’s research from her a Twitter-trending analysis on “Disney adults” or “Disney-files”, David and Jodi take a deeper dive into the principles that Disney has utilized to create evangelists of their brand and the strategies and tactics brands can adapt to their organization to inspire their own fanatics.  


Show Notes

3:52    The Foundation of Jodi’s Research

6:00   The 3 Parallels

7:28    Story

12:11  Core Memories with Disney

14:41  Transitioning Into the Story Through Theme Parks

16:00  Ritual

19:43  Creating an Environment for Individual Rituals

22:41  The Emotions of Being a Fan

25:56  Merchandise and Souvenirs as an Amulet

30:20  Community and Collective Effervescence

33:07  Creating a Environment for Community 

34:33  The Magic in runDisney Races

46:52  The Diversity of Disney Fans

49:39  Journeying to Marceline, Missouri, Walt Disney’s hometown 


For more information on the topics covered in this episode: 

Follow Jodi on Twitter and check out her website

Once Upon a Time – the Twitter thread that started it all 

“The Gospel According to Disney” by Mark Pinsky

Disney Pin trading

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