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Customer Service Case Study: Walt Disney

The Walt Disney Company is one of the most well known examples of a company succeeding in large measure by applying the principles of customer advocacy and service recovery—principles that have become an integral part of Disney's operations.

Infographic on proactive customer service stating that 70 percent of customers who decide to leave your business don't complain. 95 percent of customers share bad experiences and 87 percent good experiences.


Prior to starting his own company, Integrated Loyalty Systems, Jake Poore spent close to 20 years in customer service working on service recovery for the Walt Disney Company in Orlando and Paris entertaining 25-35 million people a year.

According to Jake,

...everyone makes mistakes, that's human. But how do you solicit those mistakes and rectify them so that the story is now possibly better than if there were no mistake at all?

The Role of Apologies in Customer Service

Jake's philosophy takes corporate apologies to a whole new level. He welcomes and even embraces the opportunity to apologize by actively seeking out reasons for doing so.

As such, he's able to improve operations, his business, and grow his customer base.

He goes on to explain that,

...uneventful does not create loyalty, and does not drive return visits or intent to refer new business.

Perhaps the worst outcome of all is a situation where mistakes aren't noticed and customers who experience poor service simply walk away without complaining and with no intention to return.

Benefits of Seeking Out Reasons to Apologize

Jake points out that almost 70% of unhappy customers who decide to leave your business don't write letters of complaint. Finding and/or soliciting customer complaints by being proactive is the key—according to Poore, it's an art.

Finding customers who have complaints (legitimate or exaggerated) provides the best opportunity to fix the problem, retain loyalty and maintain satisfaction.

Positive stories about bad experiences are just as important, and occasionally far more important, than positive stories about good experiences—the latter are expected while the former are impressive, more memorable and more likely to get repeated.

Think about your reaction upon hearing of a company that truly over-delivered on righting a wrong.

Is it the mistake that you recall which left you with a negative impression of the business? Or, do you view the company favorably and remember how impressed you were by how they handled things? For us, it would always be the latter.

Jake explains,

If your customer goes home is not only too late, but they will tell many people THEIR STORY. But if you can catch them and correct the error, now they're possibly telling YOUR STORY!

Having them tell your story, as opposed to theirs, is critical. And, a well crafted business apology will go a long way in making sure that YOUR STORY is well received thereby empowering your business.

Jake Poore was so successful at customer service while at Disney he went on to start his own company Integrated Loyalty Systems, a consulting firm specializing in service development, process improvement, leadership training and service excellence, and now focused on the healthcare industry.

Customer Service & The Customer Experience

In 2020 customer experience took over both product and price as being the key brand differentiator. With this important shift in thinking, a proactive approach to customer service while seeking reasons to apologize is not only advisable but necessary.

For more on the topic, take a look at another real-world case study on customer service during a crisis and learn how they ensured a satisfying customer experience after a series of unforeseeable coincidences and poor timing caused a calamity for this prominent US company.

Or, learn about customer advocacy and why a proactive approach to customer concerns is important to any business and the customer experience.

All done? Then learn how to craft an effective business apology letter.

Source of Jake Poore Quotes -

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