I’m in LA for a conference. So naturally, I went to Disneyland over the weekend.
I was waiting for the parade to start and I was standing next to a couple in their mid-50’s, Bill and Ellen. (It’s amazing what you learn when you evesdrop a little!) It was Bill’s birthday and he was wearing a button (provided by Disney) that announced the fact.
I had positioned myself along the parade route in one of the spots where the floats stop and do little mini shows. Once the parade started, I witnessed an amazing thing.
If you’ve ever been to a Disney parade, you know that the cast members go out of their way to interact with the street crowd, especially the kids. They wave, point, smile, etc. It’s a rare person in the parade crowd that does not feel acknowledged.
The first float in the parade was carrying the Peter Pan crowd. Peter was "driving" and he noticed Bill’s button – waved and mouthed…"happy birthday." I thought…wow, impressive.
By the time the parade was done, Bill had been wished a happy birthday by at least 10 parade entertainers. Whether they were a dancer in the Lion King, Peter Pan himself, Belle, or one of the dwarves…Bill had to feel as though the parade was in reality a birthday celebration for him.
Do you suppose that happened by accident? Hardly. Those cast members were trained to look for those buttons and make the wearer feel special. That’s one of the details that brings the Disney brand to life.
How about your brand? What are your employees trained to look for? It doesn’t have to be a physical sign, like a button. Maybe it’s a customer who seems frustrated. Or a change in an ordering pattern. Or perhaps they express a concern repeatedly.
The point is….what have you trained them to watch for? And how have you trained them to react to that?
The simplest lessons are the best: our staffs need to pay a bit more attention to our guests. A little generosity and compassion goes a long way.
So how do you make sure that gets done? Like Disney — I think we have to train to that result.
I wholeheartedly agree! You should.
Great build on Steve Farber’s WUP (wake-up pad) concept and the power of observation (he even recommends evesdropping in his book “Radical Edge”).
By paying attention, you learned something new (about Disney, no less!) and discovered a bright shiny example of brand management.
I’ve found that my trips to Disney (land or World) are always good food for thought and blog fodder.
I’m not sure if it’s that I am completely present when I’m there or if they are just so brilliant at branding that it can’t help but hit me in the head!
I agree–if you can visit Disney with your “observation” glasses on, you can pick up many excellent service tips. I may be a bit dorky, because I have read several books about the company, including their own book about good customer service. They are definitely on to something. I am continually amazed at their ability to keep so many people happy, moving and forking over massive amounts of money!
You are so right. A trip to a Disney park is a graduate degree in customer service, branding and marketing.
A couple years ago, I created an free e-book based on my observations at Disney. If you’re interested, you can download it for free here: http://www.mclellanmarketing.com/free-stuff.html