Sunday, January 30, 2022
Pepperdine Pixie Dust
One of my favorite things about my job is having the opportunity to go to AALS and ABA dean meetings. I love to rub elbows (albeit virtually the past two years) with great people and learn things that I can take back to use at Pepperdine. At this year's AALS Deans Forum on Transitions: Crisis Management to Transformational Leadership, Jon Cook, Global CEO of VMLY&R, gave a wonderful keynote address on Brand the Experience | Experience the Brand.
Jon talked about how Disney delivers the best customer service in the world: by encouraging employees to sprinkle pixie dust in their interactions with guests – to do something out of the ordinary that guests would not expect or experience any other place. He illustrated the point with how employees at the Magic Kingdom respond to a common question: What time is the 3 o'clock parade?
Most of us would be tempted to roll our eyes and answer snarkily: "Duh, 3 o'clock." At Disney, employees are encouraged to sprinkle pixie dust and exceed the guest's expectations by saying things like:
"That is a good question"
"I get asked that question all the time"
"Although the parade starts at 3:00, I recommend you get there at 2:30 because it is usually very crowded"
"Let's take a walk and I will show you my favorite spot to watch the parade"
On the way to the favorite spot: "the nearest bathroom is here"
Before leaving the customer: "there is a chance of rain this afternoon, so here is an umbrella just in case"
At our staff meeting last week, I shared this story and told the staff that this is their secret sauce: they sprinkle Pepperdine pixie dust. I recounted examples I had seen or heard of in just the past week of departments and individual staff going above and beyond the call of duty in their dealings with various members of our community. I gave each of them a bottle of Pepperdine pixie dust to put on their work stations to encourage them to look for ways to sprinkle Pepperdine pixie dust each day and to remind them of how much I appreciate all they do to make our law school the special place it is.