The Disney Experience

The Magic Kingdom - Photo by Chris Zullo I recently shared a family vacation at Disney. If any business understands the customer experience, it has to be the iconic mouse and his pals. Disney realizes that we have options. The reason people travel to Disney from all over the world  Disneyland or World is for the experience. If it was only about the rides, then no one make the yearly pilgrimage that many make as there are plenty of amusement parks that are much closer to home and likely cheaper, yet people save much of their holiday funds to visit that magical castle. Disney understands that my experience is paramount to building and maintaining a relationship that makes me say, “That was AMAZING and I want to do that again!” and hope that I will share my raving review with friends and family. During my visit the following quote from Paul Greenberg‘s book, CRM at the Speed of Light, Fourth Edition rang true repeatedly:

Your purpose for this granular look at the customer’s specific experience is to find out what you need to provide them with that is actually important to them. It allows you to understand what it will take to reinforce the positive, reduce or eliminate the negative, and meet or exceed customer expectations. You can’t ask for more than that.

If your not happy, they want to know so they can fix it and learn from it. I saw a great example of this one night heading into a live action show and just outside the amphitheater in Hollywood Studios there was an obviously upset father with a stroller who started walking away, but the park staff who was speaking with him (note “with” not “to”) immediately went into super customer (secret) service mode by radioing to the nearest checkpoint to “stop that stroller”. No joke. They want everyone to have the best time possible. Earlier that same night, a toy my son picked out the night before broke. We found a vendor that had the same item and were able to exchange without issue. Disney is an experience and the company knows it. That is why people come from all over the world even when there are closer options. There are Disney parks in Europe and Asia, but people from these continents still travel to North America to experience the original parks. Experiences, good or bad, influence our decisions to repeat or avoid specific activities.

Few businesses put in the effort that Disney does to ensure you swing towards the positive end of end of this spectrum. For example, when I think about going to a sporting event or even getting on a plane, I dread the security line. Disney easily has the most efficient entry process I have ever seen. They are properly staffed and keep the flow moving with a thorough, yet quick security check. Once you clear security and the ticket gate, there are ambassadors posted nearby that are there to help answer any questions you have and to address any issues with your experience. They have the authority to handle it on the spot. Multiple times were asked how was our stay going and not because there was an issue. There is generally positive vibe here. Again, this comes down to the experience. I should not be gushing over my entry into an amusement park, but here I am because of the conditioning of countless poor experiences that have lowered my expectations to such a level that I am impressed just by getting through the door in a reasonable amount of time. There are many more examples I could site, but suffice it to say don’t take my word for it. Go experience it yourself firsthand.

Four days, three nights, practically no sleep with a 2 year-old in tow and I’d do it again because my experience was awesome!