Dennis Snow Profile

  • Drawing from 20 years at Disney, Snow has taught hundreds of audiences how to apply Disney principles to their own industry and gain a competitive edge based on customer experience.

  • Snow understands the challenge of getting employee buy-in, so he provides tested tools for building an organization-wide culture that puts the customer experience first.

  • His last five years at Disney, Snow launched the fastest growing venture of the Disney Institute, which consulted with some of the world's largest companies on increasing customer loyalty and saw repeat business of nearly 100%.
  • Customer experience expert, Dennis Snow shows organizations across all industries how to stand out from their competition by delivering world class service. For 20 years, he has channeled his past career experience with Disney into helping clients like Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cornell University, Novartis, American Express, First Citizens Bank, and others gain a competitive advantage via customer service, employee engagement, and excellence in leadership.

    Snow’s career at Disney spanned 20 years. From portraying Captain Nemo to operating It’s a Small World, he created memorable experiences for thousands of theme park visitors on a daily basis before going on to hold several management positions and teach new cast members and leadership team members company values and culture via Disney University. His last five years with the company, he launched a division of Disney Institute that consulted with some of the world’s largest companies on how they could transfer Disney principles and approaches to their own corporate cultures.

    For nearly two decades now, he has served as president of Snow and
    Associates, a consulting firm that carries on the work he started at the Disney Institute. In addition to being an A-list speaker known for his practical seminars and their tangible results, he is the author of 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.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      Dennis Snow’s customer service abilities were honed over 20 years with the Walt Disney World Company. There, he developed his passion for service excellence and the experience he brings to the worldwide speaking and consulting he does today.

      He began his Disney career in 1979 as a front-line attractions operator. As he advanced through the company, Dennis managed various operating areas throughout the park, learning and applying the skills it takes to run a world-class, service-driven organization.

      Dennis launched a division of the Disney Institute responsible for consulting with some of the world’s largest companies including ExxonMobil, AT&T, and Coca Cola. During this time, he presented to audiences in diverse locations around the world, such as South Africa, Australia, Mexico, England and Argentina. This division quickly became the fastest growing venture of the Disney Institute and experienced repeat business of nearly 100%.

      He also spent several years with the Disney University, teaching corporate philosophy and business practices to cast members and the leadership team. While there, he coordinated the Disney Traditions program which is universally recognized as a benchmark in corporate training. In his last year with Walt Disney World®, Dennis’ leadership performance was ranked in the top 3% of the company’s leadership team.

      Today, Dennis is a full-time speaker, trainer and consultant who helps organizations achieve goals related to customer service, employee development and leadership. Some of his clients include Huntington Bank, BMW Financial Services, Florida State University and Johns Hopkins Hospital. His articles appear in a number of industry publications and he is a featured guest “expert” on customer service, on several business news-talk radio shows. He is the author of the book, Lessons from the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World’s Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life.

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    Dennis Snow's Speech Descriptions

    Diehard customer loyalty is not earned by what you sell, but rather how you sell it. Dennis Snow outlines fundamental keys for creating extraordinary customer service experiences while equipping you with the tools you need to apply his insights to any organization or industry. Though Snow uses multiple examples from his own time at Disney, he diligently connects his experiences and principles to your organization, as he presents universal guidelines for building a customer-service oriented culture on every level of operation.

    Creating A World-Class Service Organization
    World-class customer service is not simply a matter of smiling employees who say "please" and "thank you." Everything your customer sees, hears or touches impacts their experience. "Everything speaks." This program highlights how delivering world-class service requires careful orchestration of the entire customer experience.

    Attendees will discover:

      • The key points of contact that make or break the customer experience
      • How to elevate the customer experience from ordinary to extraordinary
      • Customer service processes that make service excellence "business as usual"

    Leading Excellence
    Employees watch to see how committed we are as leaders and take their cue directly from us. As customer expectations are at an all-time high and business competition is fierce — exemplary leadership today is critical. This presentation helps today’s leaders step into their multi-faceted role as visionary, facilitator and idea champion.

    Attendees will discover:

      • The benefits of leadership that creates a culture of accountability among employees
      • How to build organizational commitment to a vision
      • Specific “walk the talk” leadership behaviors that reinforce organizational values

    Performance Excellence — The Employee Factor
    The number one reason that customers become disenchanted with an organization is because of employees’ attitudes of indifference. This program is designed to change that. In order to motivate excellence, organizations must "engage the heart" of employees. When this happens, customers can see it, hear it and feel it in every interaction with an organization.

    Attendees will discover:

      • Ways to identify employee behaviors that align with the organization's mission
      • Employee selection, training and communication processes that reflect the organization's values
      • Internal processes that support and engrain customer service-oriented behaviors

    Dennis Snow on Speaking

    Products are commodities. You can get anything anywhere. The differentiator is always going to be the experience.

    SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn or take away from your presentations?

    SNOW: The main thing I want them to learn is that in today’s competitive environment that every industry is operating in, it’s not about the product itself or about the thing that you’re providing; rather it’s about the experience, because products are commodities. You can get anything anywhere. The differentiator is always going to be the experience. In my presentation, I talk about the key elements of a great experience, and also provide them with tools that they can use to take those principles back and apply them in their own organization, regardless of the industry.

    SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an engagement, and how do you prepare for your speaking engagements?

    SNOW: I always have at least one phone call with clients that I work with, though I actually like to have more than that. For example, I just worked with an organization and they have some local operations here in the Orlando area where I live, so I went down and visited those locations and spent some time getting to understand how the operation works, and meeting with the manager and so forth. At a minimum, I have conversations with the client organization, but if it’s possible I get in and dive into the actual operation.

    I also ask for reading materials like employee information that I would receive if I were a new hire, so that I get to understand the culture. Now the principles that I talk about are the principles that I talk about, but I try to make sure that I connect those things to what they do in their industry.

    I never try to present myself as an expert in their industry, because in most cases I’m not. However, I can understand their industry, and I find that when I have a clear understanding of how things work, I’m able to make those connections from the Disney principles to what they do.

    The success is really based on how well your people interact with those customers and how they treat those customers throughout the experience from start to finish.

    SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?

    SNOW: I’ve worked with just about every industry you can think of, but the sweet spot for me is kind of like what Disney World is. There’s a place that the customer is coming to and they’re interacting with people in the organization. That can be a hospital, retail, food and beverage, a sports arena, or automobile dealership – any place where people are coming and having an interaction in the organization’s environment. In those situations the success is really based on how well your people interact with those customers and how they treat those customers throughout the experience from start to finish. In that type of environment, there are so many connections that I can make with my Disney experience.

    Many times people will say, “Oh, it’s fun to work at Disney World. It’s fun to work there. It’s different in a store.” In response to that, I’ve been held personally accountable for the rain when Space Mountain is closed. There are challenges when you’re working in an environment that people are coming to with high expectations, and many things can go wrong. That type of business is really the sweet spot that I work with.

    SPEAKING.COM: Which of your keynote speaking topics are your favorites and why?

    SNOW: Everything I do is built on customer service. While I do talk about leadership and employee engagement, it’s all surrounding that customer service topic. That’s really my favorite topic, because that’s my background and that’s what my passion is. While I have different things that I talk about – customer service principles, leadership principles, innovation principles – they’re linked back to how do we create that great customer experience.

    I just fell in love with getting up in front of people, sharing some of the things that I know or have learned, helping them make those connections to their operations…

    SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements in the first place?

    SNOW: When I was with the Disney Institute, I realized I love training, I love speaking, and I love helping organizations get better at what they do. (I think maybe in a previous life I was a teacher.) That’s really what got me going; I just fell in love with getting up in front of people, sharing some of the things that I know or have learned, helping them make those connections to their operations, and probably, most importantly, providing them with the tools so that they can apply those things in their organizations.

    SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the specific successes you’ve helped clients achieve?

    SNOW: Many clients reach out to me afterwards and say, “Hey, we applied this tool, we applied this principle, here’s what’s happening, our people are so engaged with this.” You can feel the excitement.

    Probably one of the most satisfying things is a bank that I’ve worked with in the past is consistently rated the number one or number two regional bank in the country, and they attribute it heavily to their service culture that they’ve created there. From a business standpoint, that’s very satisfying.

    I’ve also gotten letters that I just love from employees saying, “You really helped me look at my job in a different way. I’ve been here for 20 years, and this is the first time, or it’s the first time in a long time that I’ve really felt engaged in what I do, and that it makes a difference.” It’s a combination of clients’ financial results and their anecdotal results that make me feel very fortunate in doing what I do. Exclusive Interview with Dennis Snow
    Building a Culture of World-Class Service, with Customer Service Speaker Dennis Snow
    In this interview, Dennis Snow discusses:
  • What makes an extraordinary customer service experience.
  • Closing the gap between your ideal corporate culture and your actual culture.
  • The key to effective employee training.
    Read the Full Interview
  • "I saw a real need for that - for somebody to come in and help people apply the principles that they had learned at the Disney Institute and transfer them into other organizations and other industries."
    - Dennis Snow

    What People are Saying about Seeing Dennis Speak

    Rating Entries

    “Dennis was literally one of the best speakers we’ve ever experienced… phenomenal! A++! Incredible!”
        Julianne Potter, American Express

    “I consider your presentation the high water mark of 20 years of professional training and conferencing.”
        Timothy Quinnan, Ph.D, Assoc. V. P. for Student Affairs, Florida State University

    “I have seen literally hundreds of speakers over my career and I have to say that your talk was the best I have ever seen. We have been holding the conferences now for eight years, and if my memory serves me right you were the first standing ovation a speaker has ever received!”
        Chris S. Reynolds, Investment Planning Counsel

    “I don’t think there was anyone in the room who wouldn’t have been absolutely thrilled if your presentation had stretched long into the night… people are talking about the issues you presented, and hopefully, we are inspired to build on the momentum you started in a way that will make our customers wonder what happened in our company!!!”
        Lois Carlson, Cummins Bridgeway LLC

    “You were the highlight of our conference and helped us set a great tone. I’m confident that we will be able to use the tools you shared with us and that they can have a vital impact on our ability to build customer loyalty.”
        Rob Freeman, Childtime/Tutor, Time Learning Centers

    “Never before had I attended a seminar where the speaker took the time to visit with the employees and get a feel for our jobs before the program… I truly enjoyed the presentation and I feel it has made a difference in the way I perform my job.”
        Heather Wileaver, Carle Clinic Association, Program Attendee

    “You’ve done it for Texaco and Shell Oil again! Their committee was blown away by your customized seminar. The breakout sessions allowed us to plot some very achievable next steps back home.”
        Lamar Berry, International Marketing Systems

    “To use the metaphor of the season, you hit a long ball, my friend. Your remarks were finely-honed, professional and studied but relaxed, and humorous. A moment of magic.”
        Cornell University

    “Your presentation was the hit of the conference, and you certainly gave the participants a lot of useful ideas together with a very moving message. It was a pleasure to work with you.”
        Karl Albrecht, Author of Service America

    “Thank you so very much for making our conference such an incredible success. Clearly from our survey results, you were the highlight of the entire event. Your presentation, enthusiasm and talent inspired our managers to take back a great amount of energy to create a new level of excitement in our call centers.”
        Wells Fargo Bank

    “You did an excellent job sharing customer-focusing concepts in an entertaining format… thank you for helping us make this year’s conference the best yet.”
        A.J. Olivera, Sr. Vice President Power Systems, Florida Power & Light

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    Books by Dennis Snow:

    Unleashing Excellence

    Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service
    Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service has been used by organizations around the world for designing and implementing customer service strategies. The new and expanded edition of Unleashing Excellence includes the latest tools, best practices, and invaluable lessons learned from companies who have actually applied the authors’ comprehensive system for building a first-rate customer service culture from the ground up!

    Filled with vital information, Unleashing Excellence literally walks you through every aspect of the nine leadership actions required to compete in a global marketplace where products and services are becoming increasingly commoditized and the Internet provides dissatisfied customers with a powerful forum.

    Just some of what you’ll learn from reading Unleashing Excellence …how to establish a Service Improvement Team, including selection criteria, member responsibilities, and meeting agendas; develop the Service Philosophy and Standards that become the non-negotiable service expectations every employee will be expected to follow; construct a communication strategy for getting your employees on board, and keeping them informed, involved and engaged in your service initiative; a clear strategy for delivering effective service training to every person at every level of your organization; select the right candidate for the right role, including the best recruitment methods and interviewing techniques; measure those factors that truly matter to customers, then incorporate the results for continuous improvement; recognize and reward superior service to keep employees motivated; identify and solve service obstacles that can emotionally disengage employees; and revise your accountability tools to include the elements of your service initiative.

    The tools and methods provided in Unleashing Excellence are user-friendly, flexible and, best of all, practical.

    Lessons from the Mouse

    Lessons From the Mouse
    Lessons From the Mouse is written by someone who actually worked on Disney World’s rides, controlled the crowds at parades, and stood in the rain for hours telling guests Space Mountain was closed. At one point, Dennis Snow even had to reprimand Goofy for poor attendance. It is from this first-hand point-of-view that Snow peels away the veneer to show the day-to-day operation. Lessons includes things he learned from his early days as a front-line cast member to the business imperatives he lived as a member of the management team.

    The Disney organization is not presented as perfect or infallible in this book. In fact, Snow humorously shares some of the company’s missteps. However, readers will see that the things Disney does well, it does very well. The proof is that Disney World is usually ranked the single most popular vacation destination on earth.

    Lessons From the Mouse is constructed as a series of lessons because therein lies the secret to discovering Disney’s magic – understanding and applying these ideas every day in a disciplined way. The title of each chapter is a snapshot of the lesson within. The beginning of each chapter explains how a particular lesson was taught and reinforced when Snow worked at Disney World — and why it’s important. The lessons are then applied to various “real world” work situations. Each chapter ends with questions and ideas for implementing the lesson.

    Readers can apply the principles in this book in several ways. Lessons From the Mouse can be used to raise the bar of individual performance, it can work as a guide for a series of staff meetings, or each chapter could be a training module for the entire organization. Many readers will just want to open the book periodically for a quick dose of inspiration. However you decide to use Lessons From the Mouse, the important thing is to put the lessons to work.

    Over the past eight years Dennis Snow has helped organizations from all over the world apply the principles in this book — the principles he learned over his 20 years at Disney. The results for these companies have been positive: improved customer satisfaction; reduced employee turnover; and increased profitability. These lessons have proved to be applicable to any industry, any organization, and any job.

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