The Magic of Disney – Customer Experience

Posted: 2014-09-11

Disney Trivia

  • Disney employees are called Cast Members.
  • Disney customers are called Guests.
  • When working with guests, Cast Members are “On Stage”.
  • Work done “behind the scenes” is called “Back Stage”.

Walt Disney designed everything to be a production. It should be a magical experience for everyone visiting. The focus is not on “tricking people”; the emphasis is on delivering the best experience possible for your guests (clients). Every business can learn a lesson from the Disney example. How do they do it?

Mickey Mouse Classic

  1. Pay Attention to Details – As big as Disney is, it is the little things that demonstrate its commitment to the customer experience.  When I took the Disney cruise, I noticed they painted the boat EVERY time it docked. No Cast Member is allowed to have visible tattoos while on stage.  Mickey ears are on every piece of merchandise sold in any Disney store.  It’s these small details that make the success of the larger brand.
  2. Be an Expert – We spoke to and got autographs from every Disney Princess at all of the theme parks. When you speak to them, you notice they know everything about their character, the movie they were in and the supporting characters. They spend hours watching “their movie” so there is no chance you stump them on a question. We should know our products, services, industry and clients that well. The more knowledgeable we are, the better resource we can be to our customers.
  3. Be Happy – I am sure Cast Members have bad days, but I could never tell. All of the cast members displayed a smile and a willingness to help. Everyone from the CEO to the hotel clerk pick up trash…willingly. That positive and helpful attitude spreads. I’ve even picked up trash because I see everyone else doing it. When I arrived at the Magic Kingdom, it was 93 degrees with 63% humidity. Even while wearing layers of clothes, the Cast Members kept smiling. That was commitment.

Disney is best in class with delivering a magical experience to it’s guests. This result can only be achieved if your entire organization is committed to a superior customer experience. Employees must love what they do and work in their passion. This passion will be evident in interactions with customers. Happy customers can be ambassadors for your brand. Brand ambassadors are free marketing for your company.

Scientifically Speaking, of course.

The Magic of Disney – Innovation

Posted: 2014-08-21

True Innovation

When I think innovation, I think of Apple’s iPhone, Google’s X Lab and the Square credit card reader. I never thought about Disney – until my recent vacation. This marketing behemoth is on the cutting edge of technology, and most people don’t even notice. Their technology prowess make it even easier to separate me from my money. Thanks Mickey!
“I only hope we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started with a mouse.” – Walt Disney

Mickey to Mickey

The last 12 months have been ripe with discussions about Apple developing an iWatch. Concept photos and features are top search topics on the internet. Spoiler alert: there will NOT be a holographic image projected about the screen.

The Samsung Gear, the Pebble and the Moto 360 are available for consumers, but the “fashion factor” is noticeably low. Unless you are a technology columnist or blogger, you are probably not going to purchase them. Surprise! Disney has beat them all!

Two weeks before the trip, we received our Mickey bands in the mail. To say the packaging was Apple-like would be an understatement. Each person had chosen their own color for their band. They arrived with our names laser etched on the back. The bast part? These bands were the keys to the kingdom – literally!

Mickey to Mickey
  • Room Key - Hilton has a new app (iPhone and Android) that let’s guests check in up to one day before they arrive. The Mickey bands are used to gain access to your room and the various theme parks (i.e. – Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Universal Studios and Animal Kingdom). When you check in at your resort, you are instructed to just “go Mickey to Mickey.” Simply tap the Mickey on your band to the Mickey on your door and gain access. Even my kids quickly understood the convenience of going “Mickey to Mickey.”
  • Purchase - When you want to buy merchandise, you simply go “Mickey to Mickey.” You can buy items in stores and have it shipped back to your room. When you are in the parks on a 94 degree day with no shade and you want to purchase ice cream, drinks or dinner, Disney employees (i.e. – cast members) have a device with a Mickey face on it. Simply tap your band to it and your meal is paid for. All purchases are connected to your credit card. The convenience is that you don’t have reach in your purse or wallet.
  • Stylish - Concepts of an iWatch have pictures of a curved glass band, rotating apps or a large traditional watch face. Therein lies the problem: existing tech watches are thick and clunky. The Mickey band is simple. It does a few things very well. It comes in a half-dozen color choices, but you can accessorize it with plastic jewels. I can even imagine a time when it would be customizable with multiple colors or company logos.

As innovative as the band is, it is clearly in the early stages. I can envision next steps as:

  • Health – Count your steps, distance walked and calories consumed per day. Mickey helps your heath.
  • Purchases – License the ability to purchase other company items using the band. View a monthly report.
  • Suggestions – When you return to the parks, the bands could recommend restaurants, new attractions, resorts and characters to meet. 

Watch out Apple and Samsung; Mickey is coming.

Scientifically Speaking, of course.
Next Week: The Magic of Disney – Customer Experience

The Right Attitude for Business Success?

Posted: 2014-08-07

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Every boss I ever had has told me the same thing, “Eric, your best quality is your attitude.” That used to annoy me! I wanted to be known as the smartest, the best educated or the most driven. As an entrepreneur, I can see that having the right attitude is one of the most valuable skills a person can possess. Athletes, politicians and world leaders have the right attitude for success. What does that look like for business and entrepreneurship? Is it important? Definitely!

Michael Jordan said, “My attitude is if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.” Athletes understand the importance of the right attitude on the court, field or ice rink.

Jordan dunk

This recipe for success directly translates to the boardroom and office space. We have all been told success is:

  • Based on who you know, not what you know.
  • 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration.
  • Location, location, location (let’s make this one thing).

In business and in life, your attitude affects your success in four ways:

  • RELATIONSHIPS: People like to be around positive people. If you are encouraging, supportive and hopeful, people will want to work with you. I worked with a man who was clearly smarter and more experienced than I. However, no one wanted him on a team or project. I was given key projects and responsibilities because people wanted to work with me. I created a fun and dynamic work environment. As a business owner, my company has tripled revenue in the last three years and built a successful training business because people like being around our trainers, not just because we are the smartest people in the room (frequently, we are not).
  • VISION: Most athletes will tell you, before they run a race, take a shot or start a game, they envision success. They picture themselves winning the race or making the basket. Before you meet with a prospective client, envision a successful and positive discussion. Before you speak, envision the audience enjoying your presentation. As you begin each day, envision accomplishing your goals. Believing you’ll win is the start of success.
  • FAILURE: Everyone fails sometimes. Every time a major client tells me no, it eats away at my belief in myself. My attitude (and my Faith) get me through. The first time someone told me no, I told my wife I was going to quit this business and “get a real job.” She said, “If you are going to get depressed every time someone tells you no, you might as well quit now.” That was harsh but true. Edison tried over 10,000 times to invent the light bulb before he got it right. Failure is a reality, but you should never quit trying.
  • HUSTLE:  I spoke to a business owner once who said he never hung his awards or mounted his trophies because it made him feel as if he had “made it.” He always wants to feel hungry for the next sale. Entrepreneur Peter Voogd is quoted as saying, “Think like a billionaire; hustle like you’re broke.” Your attitude should keep you always moving onward and upward. Work hard when things are going slow AND when they are going well.

Having a successful attitude will not cost you money, time or other resources. However, it is the first step to success. Everyone is going to get down sometimes. The key to success is how you recover from it and persevere.

Scientifically Speaking, of course.