Thursday, April 3, 2008

From the House of the Mouse: Customer Experience Excellence

It's been a while since we posted on customer service excellence, and we're happy to report that this week we were able to sit in on an American Marketing Association webcast featuring Disney and Maritz Research. The webcast was entitled, "Delivering the Ultimate Experience: The Power of Connecting With Customers Through Your Front-line Employees." During the presentation, Maritz talked about how they partnered with Disney to support them in creating the ultimate customer experience at their theme parks.

Through this process, Disney created a value equation that benefits both customers and shareholders:

Leadership Excellence + Cast (their employees) Excellence + Guest Satisfaction = Financial Results and Repeat Business

To most effectively improve customer satisfaction, they first sought to really understand their customers by creating customer profiles, looking at both the demographic and psychographic attributes of their customer base. Once this was accomplished, they sought to identify their customers true needs and wants. They looked at this through an emotional response as well, to really get to the root of what their valued guests needed and wanted to experience every time they visited a Disney theme park.

They didn't stop with the customers . . . they knew that they needed to create a successful customer-centric culture from within their company. They emphasized a care philosophy that encouraged employees to treat each other as well as they treated the guests. Then, they educated all employees on the difference between their individual tasks and their overall purpose.

To explain this difference, they gave the example of a Main Street street-cleaner at the Anaheim theme park. His task was to ensure that Main Street was kept pristine throughout the day and this was a task that this employee definitely took to heart. However, his task never out-shined his purpose . . . which was the same purpose as every other Disney Cast Member: to create happiness. Therefore, this individual could be seen doing things like stopping his work to assist people who were taking pictures, and offering to snap the photo himself so that there wouldn't be a missing family member when they returned home and were looking at their vacation photos. And that's just one example. There were many other real Cast Member stories shared during the webcast where employees went above and beyond to ensure an excellent Guest experence.

The idea that everyone's purpose at Disney is to create happiness is the reason that Disneyland is truly the Happiest Place on Earth. By concentrating on both their customers and their employees, they have created an environment where people love to go with their families to happily spend their hard-earned dollars. And, most go back time and again. Remember that Disney value equation? Obviously, it's working!

For more on the importance of creating customer excellence and how the customer experience itself is one of the major tenets in the actual definition of marketing , take a look at this question and answer from earlier today.

And, next time you need a break in the action, go to the happiest place on earth for a positive attitude adjustment. Rest assured that your friends at Disney will ensure that your experience is excellent!

We love the Mouse!


Ted Grigg said...

Thanks for a great example of creating customer satisfaction. Disney does the basics right.

It's nice to see companies succeed when it comes to customer satisfaction. So few do this well.


Nancy Arter said...

Hey Ted,
Thanks for your comment. Yes, I agree. I spend some time in Disney's building in Burbank for some non-profit meetings once every 2 months or so. It is truly a great experience to go to a main building where the worker bees are. They are the happiest people -- and have the healthiest culture -- that I have ever seen in any large corporation.

Yep, they've got it down -- internally and externally.

Have a great weekend!