Lessons from Colombia (and even before!)


As some of you know, I recently had the very good fortune of traveling to Medellin, Colombia to do a presentation for the Colombian Association of Amusement Parks.  It probably goes without saying that I learned a thing or two while there… like about how gracious and polite the people are, how beautiful the country is, and what a lifesaver Google Translate is. All of these are true, but that’s not what I want to talk about here.  Instead, I would like to share something that I learned while I was getting ready for my trip. (For a few pictures from the trip, click here).

Medellin, Colombia

My presentation was titled “Beyond the Smile, Building a Winning Customer Service Culture.”  For reference, I did some research on Zappos.com, as they have built a reputation for great customer service, and it all starts with their culture.  I wanted to see if there were things that they were doing that we could adopt in the theme park business – and there were.  I started with the Zappos Family Core Values, which are listed below.

  1. Deliver WOW Through Service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More With Less
  9. Be Passionate and Determined
  10. Be Humble

Here’s what I found to be tremendously interesting about these values, especially when they are lined up against some of the things we typically associate with customer service.  I would say that 7, maybe 8 of the values fall under one heading – teamwork.  Maybe some have more of an indirect impact on teamwork, but even that is important.

I found this fascinating because I think sometimes the relationship we have with others is often overlooked in the pursuit of customer service.  Sure we think about how the employee relates to the guest, but how about how the employees relate to each other? But of course it makes sense… everything, and I do mean everything, works better when people openly communicate, respect each other, feel like they can be themselves, and have the confidence that they can tackle any hurdle that is put in front of them. Together.

Once I realized this, I made sure this was a key point in my presentation.  I often say that there is no magic pill, no secret sauce, no “one thing” that will improve customer service or your ability to lead others. This may be as close as we get.

Focus on better teamwork, and other successes (including better customer service) will follow.

Thanks for reading!

Sobre el autor: Matt Heller escribió esto en el Traductor de Google para ver si se trataría de traducir de nuevo. ¿Lo hiciste?

3 thoughts on “Lessons from Colombia (and even before!)

  1. Crazy! I just got back from Colombia myself and am in the middle of a series of blog posts about it. I was in Bogota and Dorada (Palanquero AB) doing Air Force rescue training.

    I also have a blog about leadership. We should talk!

    • Hi Curtis – Crazy indeed! While I was in Medellin, everyone kept asking if I had been to Bogota… I guess I should have gone! Looking forward to chatting more!

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