News Feature | August 4, 2014

RSPA RetailNOW 2014: Keynote Highlights

Bernadette Wilson

By Bernadette Wilson

Dennis Snow RNOW2014

In his keynote at Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) RetailNOW 2014 on Monday, Dennis Snow listed keys to delivering great customer service.

Snow is the president of Snow and Associates, he worked with the Walt Disney World Company for 20 years, and he now consults with organizations around the world. He is the author of the books Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide To Ultimate Customer Service and Lessons From the Mouse: A Guide To Applying Disney World’s Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life.

Although providing retail IT solutions is a very different business than entertainment at Disneyworld, Snow pointed out principles of customer service apply to almost any business. Like retail IT solutions providers, Disneyworld wants its customers to continue to choose to return.  “No matter who your customers are, they have a lot of choices out there,” Snow comments.

He presented these three things that will enhance the customer experience and keep your customers coming back:  

  1. Look through the “lens of the customer”

    Snow said, “The longer we do what we do, we think our customers know what we know –and they don’t.” He said to remember, for most people, when it comes to IT solutions, people are out of their comfort zones. He suggested “service mapping,” which is similar to process mapping, but it takes the customer’s perspective into consideration. Snow says as you consider how your team could provide better service, to map out the steps and to make sure you look through the “lens of the customer.” For example, a step in a process might be “research the answer to the problem.” Stated through the customer’s lens, this step is “wait while the company researches the answer to the problem.”  When the steps are mapped out, Snow challenged RetailNOW attendees to ask two questions for each step:

    1. What would mediocre service look like for this step?

    2. What would excellent service look like for this step?

  2. Everything speaks

    Snow points out everything either enhances or detracts from your brand, “and brand is a fragile thing.”  He added, “You and I know what we intend makes no difference. It’s what your customer perceives.” He suggested making two lists:

    1. Everything speaks distractors –things that detract from the image you want to have

    2. Everything speaks commitments – things your employees do to enhance the company’s image

      Snow advised companies to focus on the top ten changes and commitments they want to make.

  3. Create customer “wows”

    Snow said, “Magic is in those little moments of wow.” He said to consider the number of points of contact a customer has with your business. “If you put enough little things together it creates something big.” He shared that the Gallup organization found customers expect accuracy and availability – it’s what you need to stay in business. Gallup found that partnership and advice are what earn customer loyalty.

RetailNOW 2014, hosted by the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA), was conducted Aug. 3-6 at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, FL. For more information on the event, go to