March 23, 2023

Unlocking the Magic: How to Tap into the Secret Superpower for a Happier Life with Louie Gravance

Unlocking the Magic: How to Tap into the Secret Superpower for a Happier Life with Louie Gravance

Louie Gravance is often referred to as “the guy that can make the Disney service concepts work outside of Disney.” Working for the Walt Disney Company for nearly 30 years, Louie enjoyed a distinguished career with Disney theme parks, designing...

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Louie Gravance is often referred to as “the guy that can make the Disney service concepts work outside of Disney.” Working for the Walt Disney Company for nearly 30 years, Louie enjoyed a distinguished career with Disney theme parks, designing everything from live-entertainment experiences to training programs through the Disney Institute in Orlando Florida.

In this encore episode, he shares critical insights and stories on the power of great customer service that is both relevant and applicable in today’s new normal. Many of which he also shares throughout his debut book “Service is a Superpower.”

Business & Workplace Consultant, Louie Gravance has won both the Disney Partners in Excellence Award and the Spirit of Disney Award. Currently, he provides unique training programs through his company, Louie Gravance Creative Content. He was also a child actor, appearing in over 35 national commercials, plays, sitcoms, and movies.


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[00:00:00] If you want to know how to be a happier person, why not start your studies at the happiest place on earth? Or at least talk to someone who spent a couple of decades working there. Louie Grovont is the author of service is a superpower lessons learned in a magic kingdom. When we first met Louie, the world was learning to serve many people at once. COVID had just begun.

We all started working from home alongside our kids who were taking classes online. So we had to learn to manage the needs of everyone around us. While meeting our own needs in ways we'd never experienced. Though the world is largely gone back to normal. The lessons we learned and discussed with Louis We are as relevant and important today as ever. Plus, I just spent two days in Disneyland. So this seems like as good a time as any to share this Encore episode with you. So you can learn why service may in fact be your superpower as well.


This was a no-brainer interview for us, Zach and I, I think Zach even more. We're just huge fans of Disney. My relationship with Disney is such a good example of my entire life. I didn't go to Disneyland until I was 25. I went there as part of my honeymoon because I've never enjoyed rides, and I always thought, why am I gonna spend thousands of dollars to go somewhere where I'm essentially gonna walk around and go, oh, look at all the people having.

And the first time I went again on my honeymoon was with my wife. Went on a few rides, some of them terrified me far more than they should have . Um, and you know, and I'm embarrassed at this point because I've since gone back with you and with a, a lot of help from, you overcome a lot of those fears and gone on some for me, big rides.

Um, but it's one of those things that, that I came to appreciate even though I, I just dismissed it [00:02:00] out of hand for the first quarter of my life and just went, that's not for. . Yeah. But once I said yes, I discovered this is magic. This, this is a place where if I could live here, I would, I love going to Disneyland.

I love going to Disney World. No, I'm, I'm a big fan of Disney as well, I think. Um, so on top of the fact that I really, really love thrill rides, um, so the bigger, the rollercoaster I'm in, um, my dad actually who passed away. 15 years ago, he took my, my sister and I to Disney World, um, almost every year.

Mm-hmm. So I just remember being super happy as a kid. and with him, and that was, you know, the combination of the two were just amazing for me. So now to this day, like I will take my daughter any day of the week, but whenever I'm in Orlando, if I'm there for business mm-hmm. , I go to Disney World by myself.

like I love it that much. . Has anyone ever looked at you [00:03:00] weird like, come, come on old man, where's your. . No. Everyone just assumes that my kid is somewhere. Right? They're off on some other kitty ride while, while dad's off doing the, the big roller coasters. Mm-hmm. . That's funny. Mm-hmm. . So to talk to a guy who was a part of the inner circle that worked there for almost 30 years, who helped develop.

a lot of the programs that make Disney what it was. There's just so many lessons in this book that apply to your personal relationships, your professional relationships, your, your work in general, no matter what that looks like for you right now, you know, we all have to work most of us anyway, and there's a big difference between doing your job and doing it exceptionally from a, a customer service standpoint.

And it doesn't matter what kind of job you have, you're dealing. People in a way that you can implement customer service, whether it's, you know, coworkers, bosses, um, you know, vendors. Not necessarily the end customer, but you're gonna have interactions [00:04:00] that if you have really good customer service in the long run, you're, you're just gonna have a better time at your job, you're gonna be happier.

The thing that's so interesting to me about this is that, whether it's work or home or whatever, like maybe it's the isolation talking here. , I feel like when I went to work, I, I played a character that I don't have to play anymore because I don't interact in the same way. I'm not physically in the same room with my colleagues who are essentially my customers, right?

Like I have to tell them what to do. There are expectations that I have and there are things that they need to do to, to get it done, and I have to manage my interaction with them to get what I want. So I, in some ways, I have to play a character. The person who's there is not the same person I am at home.

So trying to transition to working from home, but like still being a dad at the same time, still being a husband. At the same time. I'm now [00:05:00] trying to please all kinds of customers, many online, some at home, and I have to do it as sort of the most authentic version of myself as possible because I don't, I don't have a commute to hide behind.

When I'm, when I'm at work, I'm still at home, so I still have to just be me. I don't have to go and be this professional guy and put on the, the nicer clothes. Like I've been wearing the same gym shorts for six months, man. Like, there's no, there's no character to play anymore. And so it's, that's been kind of confusing to me.

Uh, and so I think this conversation that we have with, uh, with Louie on this episode is so timely because so many people are trying to figure out how to. All of these different kinds of customers all at the same time. Does that make any sense? ? No, it makes a lot of sense. Now. How do you provide excellent customer service across the board when all of your worlds just collided?

Yeah. One of the lessons that you'll hear when we get into this interview is, uh, is almost like this [00:06:00] Buddhist approach that, uh, that Louie takes to customer service and, and. that focus on now, that focus on what is directly in front of my face. What can I deal with right now? And we live in a time that it's more jarring than ever to do that because I can literally be in the middle of a really high pressure job thing and then my kid walks into the room and goes, look at this ring.

Isn't it pretty? And like all of a sudden, that's the thing in front of my face. She's the customer that I have to serve right now. And I have to do a strong mental shift to go from meet. Crucial deadline to not make my daughter cry and get back to that deadline on time. But all you can do is literally be in that exact second, in that moment and address what you need to address there.

Are you saying that your five year old does not understand prioritization? Evidently not , , although her, her skills with the iPad, [00:07:00] uh, as a kindergartner are very impressive. Oh boy. . My watching my daughter with her, her phone has been a little bit scary. Yeah. And how quickly they've adapted to 'em. Yeah. But I hear you.

I try really hard to keep my work life and my personal life separated at home. So I have a dedicated room just for working, and my daughter comes in occasionally and she gets on camera. Mm-hmm. people at work have seen her. and you know, but I've seen everyone else's kids and Right. It's, it's no different.

So it is interesting because the, the, you know, whatever character I am playing for work at that moment breaks Yeah. For just a second and throws me off my game occasionally. A and I think we're learning a lot about those characters that we play. It's, it's just weird that I haven't had to really be that guy.

And, and occasionally I do, right? We will have a, a call with the boss where we gotta check in [00:08:00] and, and plan something or whatever, and all of a sudden I realize like, oh, I'm, I'm probably being a little too casual. Like I'm a pretty casual guy anyway. So, I mean, it's, it's not a real thick mask that I put on when I go to work, but it's enough of one.

Where I realized like, oh, I, that was probably a little bit too much of a smart ass remark to make to my boss. Mm-hmm. over the phone, who I haven't seen in seven months. Right. Well, there's another, uh, Disney guy, Lee Cockrell, who, uh, in one of his books, I don't remember which one off the top of my head, but he says, you should be the same person you are with your boss as you are with your peers, as you are with the people that you manage.

If you have to change and be a different person around your boss, something's wrong. I think for me, the difference is largely who I am with my family versus who I am with my colleagues. Because agreed with family, you, you take them for granted. There's nothing you can, you can pretend all day long that that's not a thing, but that's a thing.

They're gonna be there when you get home. No, I think the, the part that I play at work is, is [00:09:00] really just controlling my natural. Ability to drop F bombs and yeah, tell jokes, it's, it's just a, you know, you have to be a little bit more professional there, and I'm. Not when I'm off the clock. Right. So, right. I, I have to play something, someone different a little bit.

Yeah. But you gotta be show ready, right? I mean, that's the thing. That's what we're gonna hear from Louie Gracy. He's the author of service as a superpower. We had a chance to talk to him a couple of weeks ago, and we were able to talk about how the magic of Disney customer service really relates to your life now, in whatever version of normal this is,

I'm. In the modern world that we've been living in now, the last six months, so many different customers to keep happy. We're keeping our kids online and doing tech support for our kids, and then we're doing our day jobs, and then if we have a side hustle, we're trying to do that. How do you keep it all straight?

How do [00:10:00] you, what do you look for in each customer, in this case, each person you're trying to keep? What do you do to make sure that everyone's needs are being met without just completely draining yourself? The first thing you do is you get your personal service theme down when somebody starts at a Walt Disney theme park, and I know cuz I was that dude who you met on your fir for years.

I was that guy you met on your first day. I was at Bazooka Pixie Dust that it was my job to convince you, to en engage your heart. And we had four words that we needed you to. Safety, courtesy show and efficiency in that order. We, we, we, we isolated and identified those four words and I like in the book, I have a little workbook within it where I encourage people to think, You've been working.

We've been self-employed a lot longer than we thought. Even if we've been working for a company, we have personal brands and we need to navigate our personal brands the [00:11:00] same way that a big company does. And I thought to myself all the times that a big company, I've worked with a big bank or financial institution or hospital, and we've worked out this, this sort of formula, and I thought, Shouldn't people have this?

Like, is it really any different if you, if you're starting a small business or if you're even independent and shouldn't you be able to work out your same service theme? So, I isolate and identify a way that you pick your forwards, what's your safety, courtesy show and efficiency. And then from that launching paddock, figure out what the most common emotional impact your job, product or service provides.

Like a Disney, it's happiness. Uh, you know, at at Bank of America, it's security. That that's the emotional, that's the final emotional impact. I would look at that, I would look at the four words you've selected that are gonna support that, and then I'd get your head together in a, in a couple of ways. One, you, you can't think of yourself as somebody that needs a job.

Nobo, [00:12:00] no small business person is sitting around going, you know what? I had just, I'd love to hire more people, but what they are saying is, oh my, I've got a problem that needs to be solve. . So you need to think about that right away. What problem are you solving for somebody? Mm-hmm. . And the another, there's so much here.

You've really opened up a can of work . The whole thing about, you know what, A lot of us are working from home now and it's so funny that everybody's like, well, we're just gonna work from home. Um, there is an art to working from home. and that I think we've been real casual about. And one of the things, and I had to try three times I'd be began reabsorbed back into corporate America because I'd be rudderless I, you know what?

We talk at Disney about being show ready. and it's really important when you get up and you work from home that you're show ready. And that means that if you're gonna work professionally from home, you've dressed professionally from home. And that is a drag. Mm-hmm. . But you know what, [00:13:00] as you just said, you've got kids around when, when, when you dress professionally from home, it doesn't just send a message to you, it sends a message to the kids, to the wife, husband, spouse, that we're not in perpetual weekend.

We are not in, we are not, you know, it's being, it's what we call being show ready. And I think right now, as we think of ourselves as either looking for new gigs or finding new ways to engage our talents, uh, we wanna be show ready all the time. I know that sounds corny. I, I, I know that sounds really, really corny, but we need, we need to get up and be show ready if not just for us, but to let everybody know we're not in perpetual weekend.

Uh, as I was reading your book last night, I was, I went through that part as I was just finishing up work in gym shorts and a t-shirt . Yeah. Um, that part of it really hit me last night that, you know, um, and, and I had a, a, a work meeting today that I actually had to dress up for at home. Uh, so, you know, your, your book came [00:14:00] at a really good time for me to, uh, step it up a notch for my work meeting today.

People are having to reinvent themselves now. Like, you know, a lot of people I know are what they have been doing for years and years and years isn't applicable anymore and we have to reinvent ourselves and do something different. You know? How can, how can the strategies in your book be used by those people who have to reinvent themselves?

Well, the first thing I would say about this, reinventing yourself. That, that, that if you, I, if, if you've really figure out and come to grips and land with what the emotional impact is of what you are selling, that hasn't changed. You know, you really wanna play to your values and not your fears because say for example, I'm in the speaking business and people are really swooping down.

On speakers saying that if you don't invest thousands and thousands of dollars in just the right home studio equipment, you are not gonna be [00:15:00] relevant. And what I want people to know is that your service is always going to be relevant. That's not gonna change. It might not be practical for a little while, but it's the emotional impact of what you sell is still, um, gonna always be relevant.

And two real quick things. I would, I would really. realize that service is an investment and not something that you give away. that doesn't come back to you. And this is something I really hit hard in the book. That's the whole theme, is that every time you delight a customer, a colleague, every time you exceed somebody's expectations, it is a self investment and excellence will.

Always seek and find other excellence. As I point out in the book, I was a child actor until I was too hairy to be one and, and then worked in a restaurant, which usually you work in a restaurant and then you get on tv. But my life plan was to be on TV and then lose everything and [00:16:00] realize what a punk I was, what a, just a self-entitled punk I was.

And so I find myself working in a restaurant and I have no. , I have no waiting skills, so I thought, oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I better act like I know what I'm doing. What am I gonna do? I know. I'll act like I worked at Disneyland. I will act mm-hmm. , and then everyone will, I'll be so gracious that people will not notice how bad my actual waiting skills are, and it worked because the intention was there.

Then that's the other thing, is that the first skill of the service superhero is intention and your intention. Is gonna be as relevant today as it was yesterday, as it was pre covid, as it was post covid. That's the thing we have to realize is that, um, our, our service is always gonna be relevant and I would, if you feel lost, think of the people who you've delighted in the past, in the jobs you've had in the past.

Think of those people. Think of those incidents and [00:17:00] I would find a way to reconnect with that energy, those people. , they might at least steer you in the right direction. They, they know you for other excellence. Remember I said excellence? We'll seek and find other excellence. That's how I got plucked from working at a restaurant to then work at Disneyland.

So, um, which started my Disney career and got me back into show business. So, um, there's a lot there. Yeah. I'm curious, you, you mentioned a couple things that, that set off my, my, uh, and I mean this in a positive way in my woowoo. Um, right. The idea of imagining yourself as a Disney performer in, in that waiter job, right?

How much, how much, and maybe this is, maybe it's the same answer you just gave us, but how much do you believe in, in manifesting your own destiny and, and believing? Like, if I just believe that I'm going to do this, it's going to happen either through my hard work or destiny or whatever. Okay. Well, here's the thing, and I, no one else has asked me that question, but my, my business is a [00:18:00] strange.

Covert metaphysical mission. So, you know, I used to teach something called a Course in Miracles. Mm-hmm. , and I know people make fun of it, you know, via, you know, other spokespeople of it. But, um, I wanted to bring meta metaphysics and metaphysical principles. To industry. Mm-hmm. . And that's why the first program I ever wrote for Bank of America was called, uh, the Bank of America Spirit.

And so, yes, I want people to invest to, to know that there is great power in service and that it will always come back to you, whether you can see it in, in, in, in our present timeframe or not. There's a lot of things happening at the same time. So, yeah. Um, I thought how do I, how do I bring the Disney. And the course of miracles thing.

How do I marry this together? How do I marry those messages together? Hence services of superpower, lessons learned in a magic [00:19:00] kingdom. So you were talking about, uh, excellence, finding excellence, and I'm just curious with millions of people sort of waiting for that next job, waiting to get hired, waiting for some sense of whatever the next normal is gonna be to happen.

How do you make your excellence stand out when you're on the beach waiting for, for someone to respond to your resume or waiting for the job market, really to even open back up to create those opportunities? First of all, the whole waiting for something to happen, I would, I would start r right there from that consciousness because even any step forward is a step forward and, and, and just the act of waiting for something to happen is almost a declaration that it hasn.

Mm-hmm. . So . Yeah. It's very important. You know, sort of like, uh, I think there's a song in one of the NEMO films about just keep swimming. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , just keep swimming it. Even if it's, even if it's getting your files together. Even if it's doing sit-ups, it. Any [00:20:00] forward motion at all will lead to another forward motion, and we'll get you out of that, uh, that mindset of I'm waiting for something good to happen.

And until then I'm in a state of suspended animation. You know, there was, we used to have a thing at Disney, uh, um, called, you know, they were, they're big with acronyms there, and it was called, , W I n win. Mm-hmm. win. And what it meant is what's important now, and I always tell people when you're over, and I've been in this situation where I was completely overwhelmed.

Mm-hmm. , what I say is, Do whatever is physically right in front of you, literally right in front of you. What is, what is closest to you physically? Yeah, do that. Whatever needs to be done that is within the closest proximity to your body. Start there. I'm just, I'm smiling because, uh, I, I've, on this show we talk a a lot about our feelings and, and things that we've dealt with.

And, uh, for me, I, I've battled depression my entire life and it's just funny that this is a, a Disney [00:21:00] like full circle situation. Uh, frozen two when Anna is in the cave and she starts singing about doing the next right thing. Mm-hmm. , since I saw that movie, there's so many times when I'm just, I'm down and there's just so much darkness and I just, I, that phrase pops into my head, just do the next right thing.

You know, as someone else who has, who lives with, uh, clinical depression. And I try to explain to people what, what it feels like. I say that it feels like you are walking through water and your skin hurts. Like you have the flu. Yeah. That, that, that, that, that's what it's like. And so, and to your point, and what you have to do is what you don't want to do, which is to keep.

Moving Yeah. Forward. It's so hard, hard and, and faster. Faster. , it's, uh, you make, you make a comment in the book saying, you know, you need to think, think into a new way of acting or just act into a, a new way of thinking. And that, that, uh, that whole, [00:22:00] uh, conversation just reminded me of that line. But I was hoping you could.

Talk just a little bit more about what you meant by that. Well, as I can tell that just as, as you and Jeremy, as, uh, you and Jeremy demonstrates sort of how, uh, different right brain and left brain thinking, just quite obviously people can come at change differently. For some people, they have the ability, Think themselves into a new way of acting.

Uh, for people like myself, I have to act my way into a new way of thinking. I have to act as if I have to move forward, as if I know people, uh, that have a, a, a serene core. That can think themselves into a new way of thinking. And if that is your strength, um, I try to mention ways in the book, things to focus on that will help you recentered if, if you were that kind of person, um, that works through your challenges that way, you know, I try to offer [00:23:00] some, um, Proven, uh, exercises for working through it that way.

If you were like me and you have to act your way into a new way of thinking, I, I try to, uh, provide, uh, examples there. Um, I don't, which are you, can you, can you think your way into a new way of acting? Or do you think you're somebody that, that acts themselves into a new way of thinking? I think it depends on what it is for all of the things that I've done over the last 20 years, if it's somewhat related to that.

Mm-hmm. , if it's something that requires the, you know, a similar mindset or a similar thinking pattern. Mm-hmm. , I can think my way into that. If it's something that is, um, you know, just to be fully blunt and transparent like I'm. I've never really interviewed people. Um, so this is me acting into a different way of thinking.

Uh, when we started doing these interviews, I. Couldn't prepare myself. I couldn't think my way into a conversation, so I just had to jump [00:24:00] in and act like I knew what I was doing. When in the beginning it was very apparent I didn't, and as we've gone on, it's gotten better, but it, for me, it depends very much on the situation.

You know what? Because I think that we, as it says, and of course of miracles, we learn what we. For example, um, I appear very carefree on stage. I appear very, very, very, very comfortable on stage with my message. Very few people know how often I throw up. Right? And I've been in show business still since I was a small boy.

Wow. And, and I've learned to not even fight it anymore. If it's gonna be one of those and I can feel it, I can fight it or I can just, I can let it go. And once I. Pushed out on stage and begin the actual process of the demonstration of my message. I feel totally at ease and it's the most comfortable I am on the entire business trip, but leading up to it is sheer hell.

every single time [00:25:00] because I, I too, I can hear a voice sometimes. I can hear my dad's voice. I remember when I started getting successful at this, bless my father. He's no longer with us. Uh, and I was just sort of explaining, you know, what I talked about, you know, what I did. And, um, he found out how much, uh, speakers get paid.

Hmm. And, uh, cuz he asked me, of course. Mm-hmm. . But he just asked me how much I got for something and I told him and he says to. What in God's name could you possibly talk about for an hour that somebody would pay you that kinda money? . And so sometimes , sometimes I hear that like, like you know, the hour before I, and I, I think like what?

Like am I, like the Wizard of Oz am might like some sort of fraud kind of thing here. Yeah. So I actually have to hear. Re, even though I've done it hundred yay. Thousands of times. That's amazing. So sometimes I will tell so many, I, I can tell that a vice president that's gonna [00:26:00] go on after me. Is very, very, very, very nervous.

And they've seen my demo tape and they're like, they're real nervous about the whole thing. And I, and, and some people get just, and I know that they, especially if you haven't done it before, and I will share with them. , you know, um, just about 90 minutes ago I was completely heaving in my hotel shop. , I just want you to know that, and they will go, thank you for telling me that.

No, really honest to God, thank you for telling me that. That's awesome. So I don't always offer that, but there are times when I just go, you know, um, you weren't. Yeah, absolutely. We're all, we're all, we're all faking it till we making it here a little bit, you know? Yeah. That, that's, it's so true For me too.

Even doing this show, Zach was, was very much the one that thought us into doing this, and I kept going, well, who are we we're, we don't have a thing on the wall that says we learned all this stuff in psychology class. We're, we're a couple of guys that have experimented with some different things and they've worked or failed.

Sure. I guess we could talk about [00:27:00] that. Yeah. And it wasn't until we turned on the mics and, and I just, I just had to do it to feel what it was. And now it's interesting because so often I always try and, you know, you always hear the question of who's your audience when you're trying to figure out how to market something or whatever.

And I'm always like, like geology. That's what Disney calls geology. There you go. And, uh, I don't call it that because it's not my copyrighted phrase, , but . But so often I'm literally talking to myself because I know. that internally, I know what works for me and I need to sort of say it out loud to hear it in my own ears and go, ah, yeah, I, that, that's good advice.

I should follow that advice. And so that, that really steers a lot of, uh, our interactions on this show, what we used to say at Disney, that our restaurants tell stories. The mm-hmm. , the attractions tell stories. , the garbage cans helped to tell a story. Everything helps to tell a story. Everything's sort of a moving narrative that we would engage the employees, that we called cast members to join.

And so what [00:28:00] I try to get people to think of is that you are a living narrative, just like a company is. Mm-hmm. , just the way a company sees itself, you know, as the hero of this narrative or, or as a, as a, as a, um, a participant in this narrative. I encourage people. To, to, uh, think of themselves. There's a great book now, not written by me, called The Story Brand.

And what it basically says is, right now, and this is a good way to think, no matter what service industry you're, you're in, you're basically following one script. And this is the script. Your customer is Luke Skywalker. and you are Yoda. Bam. Done. Yeah. So no matter, I mean, this is his, this is his contention.

Yeah. That no, no matter what you're providing, no matter what, what, what, what you're serving up or, or making, your customer has a need. They aren't gonna be able to fill that need without your guidance. Mm-hmm. , you [00:29:00] know, and then whether they have a happy ending or an unhappy ending is largely up to them.

But in the structure of the story, you are the guide. Your service is, is part of guidance. Your product is, is helping somebody do something. So Reg his contention. There, Luke Skywalker, and you are Yoda. Period. That's awesome. It seems simplistic, but I mean, there is, it, it it, it's a curious thing to ponder.

Uh, well, you know, again, we're a huge Star Wars fan so that, you know, you're, you're pushing all the right buttons. You've, you've got us pegged for sure. . I now am going to walk around calling myself Yoda for at least a couple of months just based on that. But, but we all are basically, Fac, you know, we are, we are the connection between what a customer wants, you know, we, we are that conduit one way or another.

Mm-hmm. , so I, I, I, I, I understand the analogy. Mm-hmm. definitely from the book. What are, give us a couple of takeaways that [00:30:00] the person who's out there hearing this interview looking for, just sort of that next big thing, looking to either get that promotion, get that, just get through the day without pulling their hair out.

What, what are some, some sort of key takeaways that folks can take from, from this conversation? All that is given is ultimately given to ourselves. All that is given is ultimately given to ourselves and I think of, think of Anani animated movie. , an animated, like, there's like a one drawing, one cell, one drawing, one frame of an animated movie.

And think about how many hundreds of people and thousands and thousands of dollars go into making that one frame. And you look at that one frame and you go, oh yeah, well that's very pretty, but it doesn't tell a story. Mm-hmm. , you have to see 24 of those frames go past your eye A. To see movement, to see narrative, to see the heart, to find the emotion in it.

The same is true with our service moments. When we just look at one piece of our job, one piece of our task of our job, [00:31:00] that's likely looking at just one frame, we gotta step back. and take a look at, at, at our service moments 24 a second. You know what I mean? Mm-hmm. , we need to step back and get a perspective of them so that we too could see that one step at a time.

We couldn't really see the movement we were making, but you step back and just as, as, as drawings in an animated film, one leads to the next, to the next, to the next, and perspective shows movement and, and, and, uh, declares life, so to speak. Th this might be. Shooting too far, but I try, I've, I've watched a ton of documentaries about Walt Disney, about the development of the, of the various parks.

It always seemed like, you know, if, if he had an unlimited lifespan, the goal was to spread Disney across the globe. That, that life, that just, that utopia, that there's, there's no, there's nothing to worry about. Everything is safe. Everyone is there to, to take care of each other. There's just a real sense of unity.

um, that, that I saw in, in those [00:32:00] documentaries. I don't, I mean, just from the inside, I'm curious. Is, is that something? So, okay, there was a Jeremy, there was a pivotal moment, and that was the World's Fair. Mm-hmm. , the 19 64, 65 World's Fair, where Walt Disney thought that maybe his entertainment, you know, that the parks and that kind of thing would be thought of as hokey.

Mm-hmm. . But once he got involved with the World's Fair and saw, Other cultures reacted to the product and he saw that you could get other corporations to pay for your rides. Mm-hmm. , . , that's the trick. You know, he, he, uh, this sort of dream was married and he about, um, Yeah, I, I don't know that he thought of spreading Disney in sort of a cult-like thing, but the way of bringing excellence in entertainment, the finest in entertainment, and that Disney quality and standard.

Uh, and remember, he was a, he felt very strongly about our country, so he saw, uh, Disnification [00:33:00] and Americanization is almost one and the same. Mm. So that had a huge impact on his had he lived much lo that's why, that's how Epcot was. Was because of that experience? Yeah. And uh, yes, I definitely, you know, he wrote letters about, uh, about how the internet was going to work the year that he died.

He had, he had already been spoken to by people about how you were gonna be able to simultaneously speak to the world and how people were gonna be interacting. So yes, he was quite a visionary. That's amazing. Uh, one last question. , is there any Disney secret, something you saw from the inside that would be mind blowing to somebody who, who's a big Disney fan?

I think people would really be surprised if they actually saw the underground underneath the Magic Kingdom, and they do let people see just a piece of it. Mm-hmm. , you know, on certain business programs, but. Once you get [00:34:00] really down into the, the, the, these, these sort of massive halls underground underneath the Magic Kingdom, and you are dodging service vehicles on one side and, and, and character performers drinking slushies.

You know, there's, there's Cinderella with just like, you know, her sort of bloom. Right. You know, walking down there with, with, with Starbucks, the, the, the sheer surreal, there's two thi the sheer surreal moment of that. And the other thing is, if you ever have the opportunity to be in the parks when all the lights are on and nobody else is there.

Mm-hmm. it is, it is it, that's a very hard thing to explain to somebody what, what that's like to take in with, with just. When Zach and I went, um, when Star Wars opened, the Star Wars land opened in California, we went and we were one of the first people that went and it was one of those things where in the morning they're ushering us through the park to the, to get in the queue.

[00:35:00] Yeah. And it was eerie how it was just empty, but like beautiful at the same It was, it is, it's so hard to describe that feeling of, it's a, it, it is eerie. It is. And you know what, I, I went to, uh, the Grand Floridian, grand Floridian the other day to tape a message for, uh, a group I'm gonna speak to. And only people working.

Were visible and the music was playing and not a soul could be seen in the entire grand lobby of the grand floor. And it was so much like the Shining . So it was, it was sort of like Disney's the Shining. It was, it's truly remarkable. That's amazing. Uh, your enthusiasm is infectious. Uh, your message is amazing.

Thank you so much for spending so much time with us. Uh, I hope we get a chance to do it. Yeah, you guys are great and thanks for what you're doing.

It's so funny that he said, you know, seeing the park [00:36:00] empty. Uh, when we went to see Galaxy's Edge, we had a reservation to go in at eight o'clock in the morning. Yeah. Uh, or something like that. And what that meant is we had to get in line at, I think we got in line at seven. That sounds right. Yeah, before the park opened.

So we got to the gate and they walked. We were able to walk all the way through Main Street and over to the, the spot where Galaxy's Edge was, but there was nobody in the park. It was just empty. It was really eerie, but it was super beautiful. It was, I've got a little bit of video that I shot on that trip.

I'll post that on, uh, on this episode, on the webpage, just so people can kind of get a glimpse of what it looks like when it's empty first thing in the morning. It's, it is bizarre. Um, and then it's just kind of fun to be there as it fills up and, and you get to sort of see the, the park come to life in the morning.

It's really cool. Uh, again, that was Louis Graz. The book is, service is a superpower. Uh, terrific book. It, it is, uh, if you are a Disney fan at all, his stories about just what he did there and, and being a part of the culture. Really fun. And then the second half of the [00:37:00] book is really more of a, of a, a workbook to sort of work through how to implement a lot of what he talks about, uh, in the book and in all the, the various speaking engagements that he participates in around the country.

So I really love this book and I've, I've read it a couple of times now since we, we talked to him. I just really love customer service. I don't know why, like everything I do, I, I, it, it makes me happy to make other people happy and gives me a lot of joy there. But, uh, I, I was fortunate enough to be able to do some Disney training for, for leadership and customer service about seven years ago, and it was, it, it literally changed my professional life.

Like I went back to work. Managed things that I would've never thought about managing, like having a, a group of people at work when they got like a, a ticket to go do something, I would make them call people. And usually they would send an email and be like, [00:38:00] Hey, we can, we'll take care of it this time. I made them pick up the phone because it was a touchpoint with the customer and it made the customer feel special.

Right, right. And the, once they started doing that, the just picking up the phone and telling them something like, Hey, we can fix it right now. Or, Hey, we got your problem and we're a little busy. Is this an emergency? Otherwise we can take care of it. You know, down the road. The scores that we had on when.

You know, a case was closed or something like that. There was a, the ability to leave some feedback, but the scores went up dramatically just because of that, managing that touchpoint that you wouldn't have done. And most companies don't do that, but like little things like that just made things so much better at work.

It was an amazing experience to just think about all these little things where you can manage that touchpoint with the customer and make customer service the frontline. Of what you're doing. Even though like what I was doing didn't have a ton of customer service involved, [00:39:00] I was able to roll it in. So this book just puts that into even better perspective and, and actually, uh, you know, extended into your personal life.

Cuz it's all about service everywhere. Well, that's an important point to make too, about just our relationships that we're managing. If, if. . I literally, before we started recording this episode, I was on the phone with a friend of mine that I haven't talked to in months, and other friends alerted me that, that he might be, uh, struggling.

And so I reached out and he needed somebody to talk to, and we talked for like 45 minutes. And to the point where I was like, we need to continue this conversation, but I need to do this other thing. But I could hear the gratitude in his voice where he was just like, God, just to have a human being to share this with just alleviated.

I mean, when, when he first answered the phone, I thought, He's not good. This is, this is a hard time he's going through, and by the end of it, I just heard a little more, just some of that stress had lifted. I just, you could hear it. And so think about that as you're [00:40:00] stuck in your house for the seventh day in a row or whatever it's been since you left to go to the grocery store and just think everybody else is struggling like this too.

And if you can, right? If you can call, if you can't, at least a text like so. Like you said, manage those touchpoints because your relationships are also customer service. And I think that a lot of these principles apply to personal relationships, maybe more so than, than business relationships. Yeah, but think about that.

You called, had you sent a text, you wouldn't have got, you wouldn't have gotten anywhere near the response that you've got, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally. It's texts are good, but um, I, and I tell people this all the time. I've seen people go back and forth in email and a lot of context is lost in email.

Just pick up the phone and call someone. Mm-hmm. , I've seen, you know, three day long email conversations get resolved in five minutes. Yep. Pick up the phone because, and, and this is important too. I feel [00:41:00] like this is something that we're, we're quickly losing the skill of, of doing, especially because we're all so disconnected, but like shutting up and listen.

Is so crucial because we all do this, we all do this thing where we, we have these points we want to make. There's these things we wanna say, and no matter what is happening in the conversation, we've got this list of, I've gotta hit all these points. But most of the time, most of 'em don't matter because you, if, especially if you're trying to appease a customer or, or whatever the situation is, you need to hear what they're feeling.

You need to hear what they're going through and respond to what. Actually going through instead of what you think they're going through and what you think are the right words to fix the problem. , and that's, that's a skill that we're losing because we're relying so much on email and text and, and, and all of that, right.

People need to be doing active listening. Don't, don't be planning what you're gonna say before the person's done talking. Yeah. And I was gonna say, don't be planning what you're gonna say before the person's [00:42:00] done talking. Oh, . Wait, I'm sorry. Where ? You, you just said that. I, I should, what'd you say? I should have been listening.

What? What if ? I wasn't paying attention. I'm sorry. What'd you say?

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Jeremy and Zach are not doctors. They do not play them on the internet, and even if they did play them on the internet, They would be really bad at it. Please consult your physician prior to implementing any changes that you heard on this podcast. The listener assumes that Jeremy and Zack do not know what they are talking about and that you will do your own research on the topics talked about on this podcast.

Louie GravanceProfile Photo

Louie Gravance

Former Disney Institute Professor, Humorous Keynote Speaker, Customer Experience Guru.

For over a decade Louis Gravance designed and oversaw training for the Walt Disney Company, maintaining its reputation as “the happiest place on earth.” Today he channels his expertise and energy to help other organizations become happier and more productive.

A born showman, Mr. Gravance teaches leaders and employees to bring a certain pizazz to their work – a spirit that will forge emotional connections between company representatives and customers, turning transactions into memorable experiences. He brings 20 years of Los Angeles show business and 12 years as a Disney Traditions “Professor” to his interactive culture-altering training programs. He’s provided turning points for nationally known names like Bank of America, Toys ‘R Us, and BMW of Canada.