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Are You Planning to Celebrate Your Clients in 2020? – Part 1

Category: Best Practices
celebrate your clients

In the past year I’ve had the incredible fortune to speak in front of thousands of financial professionals, and I’ve typically asked the crowds a very telling question:

“How many of you are tracking some type of client favorite?”

The amount of hands raised (or lack thereof) always surprised me. By my estimation, of all the rooms of people I put that question to, only about 10-15% of hands went up. For the vast majority, their CRMs contain no favorite sports teams, no favorite restaurants, no favorite beverages. Nothing.

These seemingly little, inconsequential details though offer inroads for significantly strengthening your client relationships. People want to celebrate the things they love, the things that are important to them. They want to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other key milestones by participating in favorite activities, going to favorite locations, and consuming favorite foods and drinks.  That financial advisors are letting these opportunities to strengthen their relationships slip away is a problem. But, we can look to how those in other industries are successfully taking advantage of these types of opportunities for possible correctives (and inspiration).

Take, for example, the corporate monolith that is Disney. Now, regardless of your thoughts on intellectual property ownership, workplace compensation, or Baby Yoda, one cannot deny that Disney celebrates their clients better than almost any company on the planet. I myself spent an entire year in my younger days working as a College Program Intern at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction. There, I got to give unique tours to truckloads of guests, as well as run the many land positions to assist guests in parking strollers, entering and exiting vehicles, and guiding them through the queue. I got first-hand training on how to celebrate guests in ways that made their individual experiences so memorable that they wanted to keep coming back.


At Disney, they pride themselves on celebration. They do so in three easily adaptable ways: by escalating celebration, by allowing for unique magical moments, and by enabling their staff to make that magic for anyone.

Escalation isn’t normally used as a positive term, but that’s the best way to describe what Disney does when celebrating their guests. Anyone celebrating a birthday can go to Guest Services and get a big pin signifying that it’s their birthday. It’s not just birthdays, either. Anniversaries, first visits, graduations; heck, even generic celebrations are given pins to signify that each individual guest has something to celebrate. On top of the pin, each guest gets theirs customized with their name, allowing everyone to greet them personally and celebrate with them. In addition, each individual Cast Member (that’s Disney slang for staff member) is trained to not only acknowledge those pins, but also to provide a special level of magic depending on their position.

At the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction, we had a position in the queue with a telephone box next to it for us to call the ride managers or the gates ahead to inform them of line progress. However, if we saw a child walk up with a specific pin, we could dial a code on that phone and hand it off to that child, giving them a special celebration message from Mickey, Minnie, Donald, or Goofy. We were allowed to present our own special form of magic, unique to our attraction.

Lastly, every single Cast Member, from the College Program interns to seasoned veteran employees to upper management, were given the ability to celebrate and reward guests at a moment’s notice. If we saw a special pin, we could make a big show of our celebration, roping in others to wish a guest a happy birthday. If we saw a guest drop their churro, we could take them over to the churro cart to get them another, free of charge. We were enabled by culture and training to look after every need of the guest and celebrate them whenever we could.

So, how can you celebrate your clients like Disney does? Click the button below to read Part 2 of this post now!

Rick Williamson

Posted by: Rick Williamson, Lead Trainer at Redtail Technology
About: Rick Williamson, better known as Ricky Redtail, has been with Redtail for 8+ years, where his role of Lead Trainer allows him to oversee all training resources, presentations, and content. With a background peppered with stints in film production, public speaking, and working at Walt Disney World, Rick has been able to make a significant impact at both Redtail and in the FinTech industry. His experience in numerous Marketing, Media, Training, and Presentation projects make him an exciting emerging voice in FinTech and Practice Management.