By R. Christopher Haines, President and CEO

This week’s blog comes to you from The Most Magical Place on Earth – Walt Disney World. My family is spending time at a place we really enjoy. We alternate between visiting here and Disneyland, are Disney D23 Fan Club members, and have even visited the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline, Missouri. My 12-year-old son just completed his book report for school on who else? Walt Disney. To say we’re a Disney family is probably a bit of an understatement.

It would be safe to say Marias is a Disney kind of company as well. For one thing, many of our team members are Disney fans like me. A number of them visit the parks, sail with the cruises, or just enjoy a good Disney movie or fairy tale. Disney subjects are very popular topics of conversation around the office. I’m also a Business Excellence graduate from the Disney Institute and model much of what we do on Walt’s thoughts on business operation that have continued to evolve under later Disney leadership.

At the core of it all is Walt’s approach to customer service and customer satisfaction. Happy customers drive it all for Marias. Revenue, profit, marketing, and public perception of your brand all hinge on how you serve, respect, and deliver for your customers. And Walt knew this better than anyone. Treat your customers well and create an experience for them at a level so high they continue as your customers for many years to come.

The greatest thing you can attain from your customers is the intent to refer. If you run a pizza place, make the pizza and the service so good that your customers tell everyone they know about your place. If you sell widgets, create the highest quality widgets and deliver when your customers need them, and your customers will tell everyone they come across who needs widgets where they should buy them.

By the same token, take care of those who take care of you. As many of you know, running a business is a difficult thing. If people do right by you, refer them to others. If you really like that pizza place or the company that sells you those widgets, your referral may go a long way to making sure they are there when you need them. We all worry about companies we like growing to the point at which they forget us. But unless you spend enough money to keep them in operation all by yourself, additional customers will go a long way toward stabilizing their organizations.

As Winnie the Pooh’s pal Eeyore once said: A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.