Hey, hey, hey!
I am back from my AMAZING Walt Disney World vacation celebrating my 5-year wedding anniversary and my daughters’ 6th birthday. Although this is not my first time to the Walt Disney rodeo (I pretty much go every year), this is the first time I paid close attention to their business practices. Let me tell yall something, Disney does everything perfect!! It is truly an experience. Small businesses or large businesses should really study Disney’s business model.
For your reading pleasure, here’s a link to Be Our Guest for your reading pleasure. Thank me later.
Before I share why EVERY business should study Disney’s business model, let me rave a little more about my trip.
Honestly, I had anxiety about this trip to Disney, because instead of 1 child, my child, it would be a total of 3 children (2 celebrating their 6th birthdays). I had never traveled to Disney with more than 1 child and I thought that it would be so overwhelming. Well, to my surprise this trip actually was one of the best experiences I have had at Disney, outside of my trip there with my hubby. All three girls were totally amazed and pleased with the entire Disney experience! (Score one for the MAE!)
Tip 1: Incorporate technology that will benefit your customers over a long period of time.
The magic of magic bands! I, honestly, thought magic bands were a dumb idea and frivolous purchase, but my husband insisted that we purchased them before our trip. For once in my life, I am glad I listened to my husband! (Note: This will probably be the first and last time I say that.) Magic bands allow you to connect your tickets to a cute bracelet. This means that you can access the park by scanning your bracelet. If you are staying on a Disney resort you can connect your credit card to the bands, which not only allows you to buy food and souvenirs in the parks but also shop at participating retailers in the surround area. (Zara accepted magic bands yall! Talk about M-A-G-I-C-A-L!) It also keeps all your pictures and videos on this small band and you are able to access everything from a cool app on your phone. When you login in to the app you will find all your pictures AND you can schedule fast passes. If you never been to Disney a fast pass is a feature (which will tie in with Tip 2) that allows you to avoid long lines and schedule to experience attractions at a certain time. The app allows you to plan for the entire family or individual. Literally you can link all your magic bands to one app. I FREAKING LOVE THE DISNEY TECHNOLOGY.
My point, find or create technology that your customers will WANT to use.
Tip 2: Offer a FREEBIE that is valuable because it’s invaluable to your customers!
YES, Disney offers a valuable FREEBIE! I know, I know. You don’t believe me, but I promise it’s true! Disney understands the importance of “value added” and that’s why they are able to charge a pretty penny for their tickets. Let me re-introduce you to Fast Pass, the FREE ride planning feature available to EVERY Disney ticket holder! Fast Pass allows you set ride times for at least 3 attractions per ticket holder per day! This helps you avoid long lines and gives you the ability to get the most out of your park visit. Go to the app, book your rides and your done!
Why is this something you should incorporate in your business? One, the app allows Disney to capture your contact information and store data regarding your visit in order to effectively market to you. Something so simple and valuable to you is just as valuable to them. If you offer a valuable freebie it gives your customer a preview of the quality product or service, you offer. My free Fast Passes told me a couple of things about Disney – they listen and respond to customer needs, they are consistently looking for ways to elevate their already magical experience, and my time and money is valuable to them. What are you signaling to your customers? Sometimes free is invaluable to your reputation!
Tip 3: Provide every customer with the same personalized experience.
How do you have the same personalized experience you may ask? The best way I can explain it is using my family as an example. Although we experienced the parks as a group, we all had personalized experiences based on these amazing FREE (there goes that word again) buttons we wore. The girls wore birthday buttons, my hubby and I wore anniversary buttons and others wore “1st visit” buttons. As we walked throughout the park Disney cast members (employees) acknowledged whatever we were celebrating. EVERY cast member is TRAINED to look out for these buttons and say “Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, Happy 1st Visit, etc.) as patrons walk through the park. Every customer no matter the age, race or gender received the same personalized experience. Get it?
In your business you need to ensure that each customer receives the same level of personalized care and attention! It literally makes the difference in customer retention. No matter how many times a customer patronized your business, your objective is to exceed their expectations each time.
Tip 4: Offer a premium and MAKE it worth the money spent.
Of course, parking at the Disney parks cost. We decided to go with the VIP parking which was closer to the gate because why not! It’s Disney! The first time we decided to park in VIP we drove up to get further instructions from a cast member and to our surprise they offered us FREE cold bottled water. Now, this may have been factored into our cost of the parking, but no matter how many times we went back they continued to offered FREE water. If you have ever been to Disney in June you understand why water excited us (It’s truly the little things). Needless to say, we paid for VIP parking everyday. We looked forward to our ice-cold bottled water each day before going into the park. What we paid for was not walking a mile to get to the park. What we most appreciated was an 8 ounce bottle of cold water – value added.
If your customers find your premium package valuable, they will continue to invest in it. It all boils down to the experience and building a relationship with your customers. Once again, Disney saw a need, and although it wasn’t necessary (because you can take your own water into the park) they provided an added bonus answer!
Tip 5: Fine-tune your overall customer experience- Think from the beginning to the beginning!
Disney has NAILED the customer experience from beginning to end. From calling the Disney customer service line to our last day at the par, I received exceptional customer service. At the end of the day, I fuss about the cost of the parks, but I find myself back in Orlando each year. Why? We pay for what makes us feel good!
In your business think about the overall experience your customers receive. Honestly, a lot of customers perceive the relationship with the brand to be more valuable than the product or service itself. Again, here’s the link to the Disney customer service book, “Be Our Guest” for your reading please.
Develop checkpoints for your customers as they interact with your brand. It will help you guide and course correct, if necessary, your customer’s experience with your business. If you can get the checkpoints right, you get the experience right! As you grow your business, you determine ways to improve your customer experience based around these checkpoints!
When in doubt, ask yourself What Would Disney Do (WWDD).