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Casting ‘Riverside Magic’: exceptional service shapes our city’s future

Emphasizing the role of exceptional customer service in economic development, Riverside recently hosted a training academy teaching our employees to infuse everyday interactions with ‘Riverside Magic’.

Mayor Lock Dawson hosts a panel discussion with Andrew Woodard, Michelle Rubin, Rich Erickson, and Nick Adcock, President and CEO of Riverside Chambers of Commerce.

As Mayor, I am proud of Riverside’s success, as it is a testament to our unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional customer service. Each of our 2600 employees serves as a brand ambassador for the City of Riverside, embodying our values and vision. Why does this matter? Economic development drives regional growth, and every employee plays a pivotal role in fostering an environment conducive to expansion, investment, and achievement.

The minute someone comes to the City of Riverside they decide if it is worth their investment and effort to stay here. Business owners, property investors, and residents all have choices on how to invest their time and money, and it is on all of us to encourage them to choose Riverside. As I often say, when you choose Riverside, Riverside chooses you!

Recently, 600 city employees and I participated in the City of Riverside’s Customer Service Excellence Academy hosted by our Community and Economic Development Department. We had the privilege to learn from Dennis Snow, a former Disney executive and customer service expert. Snow shared invaluable insights from his tenure at Disney, demonstrating how ‘Disney Magic’ can extend far beyond the castle. After all, Disney is not renowned as the happiest place on earth solely because of the attractions but because of the lasting emotional impact it leaves on visitors. Snow demonstrated how each of us can infuse Riverside with its own brand of magic.

We can collaboratively pinpoint and address obstacles by looking at current processes from the customer’s perspective. Experiencing procedures through the customer’s eyes allows us to effectively remedy the hurdles keeping average customer service from being world-class. The development and refinement of the One Stop Shop truly exemplify this approach. While traditional local government processes may be convenient for employees, they often pose challenges for businesses and residents. The adoption of a customer-centric approach to our operations proved to be transformative.

Every aspect of our city speaks, from the cleanliness of our streets to the organization of our offices. These details leave a lasting impression on the customer and subconsciously clue to the culture and brand of Riverside. The notion that “everything speaks” underscores the importance of initiatives like Beautify Riverside. Community clean-ups and the incorporation of public art not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of our city to tourists but also instill a sense of pride among residents. Snow’s message resonated with us, prompting reflection on how we can each leave lasting impressions of Riverside magic.

Snow left us with the notion that the pinnacle of excellent service is small, memorable gestures, turning brief interactions into moments of wow. Creating these moments is not about spending more money or time but shifting your mindset and seeking opportunities to elevate a customer’s experience.

Following Snow’s insightful message, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel with Nick Adcock, President and CEO of Riverside Chambers of Commerce. We spoke with City Hall frequent fliers and local business experts Rich Erickson, Michelle Rubin, and Andrew Woodard. Together, we called attention to the direct link between customer service and the city’s economic success. Highlighting the significance of relationship-building and cultivating customer loyalty in attracting new businesses, creating job growth, and maintaining economic success. While there are 100 ways to get to ‘no,’ our panelist shared that what makes Riverside different is our problem-solving, creative thinking, and ability to work together to get to ‘yes.’

I want to end with my sincerest gratitude to City of Riverside staff for striving to be better each day and recognizing that each of you makes a significant difference in the prosperity of our beloved city.