When it comes to creating an amazing customer experience, all companies can learn from the Happiest Place on Earth. With its magical and personalized approach to customer experience, Disney and its theme parks have created a passionately loyal fan base, welcoming 157 million visitors in 2018 with an amazing 70% return rate of first-time guests.
Disney is regularly recognized for its magical approach to customer experience. Here are five lessons every company can learn from Mickey Mouse himself.
Create Immersive Experiences
Entering a Disney theme park is like entering another world. Many of the immersive elements come from the thoughtful details around the parks, down to putting Mickey Mouse logos on the manhole covers. From looks to sounds and service, every aspect of Disney is meticulously planned out. Disney World uses more than 15,000 speakers and complex algorithms to play ambient music at a constant volume throughout the park. Disney Imagineers even invented the Smellitzer machine to pump scents through hidden vents, leaving the resorts smelling delicious. Main Street often smells like fresh popcorn, while some rides and attractions have scents that add to their ambiance. Brands don’t have to be in hospitality to think through the details of their customer interactions and how they can create intentional and immersive interactions.
Take Out The Trash
Disney’s approach to customer experience can best be displayed in a simple item: the trash can. The Happiest Place on Earth shouldn’t be the dirtiest place on earth. In most resorts, trash cans are simple and non-descript. But at Disney parks, they are colorful and plentiful. Trash cans are placed within 30 feet of each other based on research that people will only walk 30 feet to throw something away—an idea that dates back to Walt Disney and one of the reasons the parks are so clean. Disney also recently added sensors to some of its trash cans and bathrooms to monitor their use and alert custodians when they need to be cleaned. An underground network of pipes connects many of the trashcans to empty them around every 20 minutes. It’s a simple concept, but the dedication to trash highlights a larger principle: care about every detail and remove things that will hurt the experience. Seeing trash might not change how a customer views Disney, but a clean park and the attention to detail can make all the difference.
Involve Every Employee
No matter if they are dressed as a character or selling souvenirs, each of the more than 130,000 employees of Disney resorts is focused on customers. On their first day of training, new employees learn that their primary goal, no matter their position, is to create happiness. Employees receive regular training so they have the tools to best serve customers and are given the creativity to solve problems in the most magical ways possible. It’s not unusual to hear about an employee going out of their way to provide a memorable experience for a guest. Employees aren’t allowed to say “I don’t know” and instead must work to find a solution to avoid frustrating guests. A strong customer experience starts with leadership and is delivered when every employee knows their role and impact.
Take Personalization To The Next Level
For most people, going to a Disney theme park is a special occasion. Disney treats every guest, no matter if it’s their first visit or their hundredth, like a VIP. Much of that comes from understanding guests and personalizing the experience to meet their needs. Employees pay attention and ask guests about their visit and are encouraged to create one-of-a-kind interactions. Disney collects huge amounts of data to understand guests both as a whole and as individuals. Disney even applied for a patent to collect customer data by scanning guests’ shoes, which could provide information like the most common paths between rides, where guests spend the most time and other logistical information to create a more personalized experience where guests already are. A personalized experience comes from valuing each customer and taking the time to make their visit amazing.
Leverage Unobtrusive Technology
Disney realizes that most of its customers are accessing data on the go, so it leverages technology through apps and mobile experiences, including free Wi-Fi through all of the parks and hotels. The My Disney Experience app includes real-time information about ride wait times, park events and hours and even features services like mobile food ordering. Anywhere technology can add to the guest experience, it is. Guests wear smart MagicBands that contain their tickets, Fast Passes and payment information in a simple swipe-able wristband. Many restaurants use RFID technology to easily locate guests and bring the meal right to their table. The key to Disney’s successful use of technology is that it seamlessly integrates into the overall experience. It isn’t cumbersome for guests to download an app or wear a wristband because it adds to the convenience and magic of the trip.
Guests of all ages can appreciate Disney’s magical approach to customer experience. Disney provides lessons for brands in all industries on creating unique, detailed experiences that will stick with customers for a lifetime.
This article was originally published on Forbes.com.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist and the author of two books including her new book The Customer Of The Future. Learn more by signing up for her weekly newsletter here.