The customer experience at a Disney theme park is nothing short of amazing. You can pick up a lot of great takeaways for your small business that will help you keep your customers happy.
"Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends." - Walt Disney
Prior to having kids 7 years ago, I hadn't set foot in a Disney theme park in over 25 years. Since then I've been 5 times and the experience never ceases to amaze me. I am always impressed at how well oiled the Disney machine really is.
Whether you love it or you hate it, there are some key principles any small business owner can take away from the Disney experience and apply into their own business.
On my most recent trip, I noticed a number of great things they do. I hope you can apply some of these in your business to help keep your customers happy.
Create an amazing customer experience
Disneyland's tagline is "The Happiest Place on Earth". It's not uncommon to see adults that are more giddy and excited than their kids.
Disney has done an excellent job of not only creating an enjoyable, fun customer experience that keeps people coming back, but it's consistent every time.
For example, Disney theme parks ALWAYS amazingly clean. There is never a trash can more than about 30 steps away, they are never overflowing with trash, and the grounds are immaculate. On one trip I joked with my wife that I thought main street Disney was cleaner than the carpet in our hotel room...sadly I think it was true.
How to apply this to your business: Think about all the little details you can implement in your business to create an experience that creates raving fans. What are the common complaints customers have about your industry? Take those complaints and address them in your customer experience. Do the little things that separate you from your competition.
Survey your customers
Every time I have been to a Disney theme park I've been approached to answer a few questions. I usually say yes because I want to see what types of questions I get asked.
Disney is on it when it comes to soliciting customer feedback. Rather than ask a laundry list of questions, they are always very focused on a specific aspect of your experience. They keep them short and to the point...no one wants to spend a bunch of time answering questions when they are on vacation.
I can only imagine how valuable the data is that they collect. One thing is for certain, they gather critical information about how they are doing on a regular basis so they can make adjustments where they need it. This keeps Disney on top of any issues and ensures their customers have the best experience possible.
How to apply this to your business: Have a system in place to consistently survey your clients. I don't think it really matters what tools you use to do this, as long as you actually do it.
Indoctrinate your employees
Much has been written about the detailed procedures around hiring and training at Disney theme park. HERE is a great article about People Management Lessons from Disney that goes into some of the specifics.
Disney has a very detailed outline of the types of people they hire and how they will be trained. It's the only way they can ensure visitors to their parks have a consistent experience every time.
Don't forget, employee satisfaction has an impact on the happiness of your customers. It's hard for your employees to be kind and helpful with customers when they're not happy themselves.
How to apply this to your business: What type of experience do you want your customers to have? Writing it down and crafting your hiring and training procedures around it, will help you nail down how to screen potential employees and how to properly train every new employee. It's critical every new hire understands and adopts your culture.
Empower your employees to solve problems
Nobody is perfect, including Disney. How a company handles and addresses problems determines whether those customers will keep coming back.
Disney empowers their employees to solve customer complaints quickly which helps diffuse the situation. In a lot of cases, this can actually give the customer more confidence in your business. Here's an experience my neighbor had with Disneyland.
My neighbor was at Disneyland several years ago with his family. The day they were there some of the main attractions were shut down, which was a disappointment to his kids. By the end of the day, my neighbor was tired and saddled with a pounding headache. He went into one of the gift shops to buy some aspirin and the clerk asked him how it was going. He proceeded to tell her about his day. The clerk was sincerely apologetic that his experience did not meet his expectations and promptly gave him 4 free park tickets for another day in the park.
Needless to say, he was blown away. The free tickets didn't do anything to fix his experience that day, but it did give him confidence that Disney cared about how his family felt and their happiness was important.
How to apply this to your business: By solving a customer's problem you have the ability to not only blow them away but create a raving fan.Give your employees the tools and latitude they need to address customer complaints quickly.
Treat your customers like royalty
Customers are the life line for any business, yet some of them don't really seem to care about their customers. Disney has a magical way of making customers feel important.
Employees greet you with a smile and genuinely seem to care about how you are doing and whether you are having a great time. Kids are surprised and greeted by characters throughout the park. It's awesome to see their eyes light up with joy when a favorite character comes to say hello.
How to apply this to your business: There's not much else to say about this one...don't forget the people who keep you in business. Make them feel special and they'll keep coming back.
I hope you can use at least one of these tips to improve your business. Creating happier customers will go a long way to improving your customer retention, which will have a massive impact on the success of your business.
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Header Image Courtesy of Pixabay