If you have ever had the pleasure of visiting one of the most magical places in the world, you will surely be able to see the care and commitment Disney shows when treating its visitors. No matter the age, the experience of being in one of its several parks is thought in detail to be a fantastic and unforgettable moment!
When it comes to customer experience, there is no one who can do it better. A proof of this is the amount of visitors per year: in 2019 alone, almost 156 million people were able to experience Disney’s unparalleled service and magic, with an astounding 70% as the return rate of new visitors.
But what is the secret? I wonder how Disney is so successful in pleasing its customers? Come with us to find these answers!
1. investing in the team and reinforcing the culture
Every Disney cast member has a great purpose that is already passed on the first day of training: to create happiness. Regardless of the role you play, everyone plays a key role in achieving this goal. They learn to do their utmost to make the consumer happy and satisfied. That is the culture to follow, and it is well ingrained in the Disney way of being.
Even the name itself gives this idea: it means cast member, and they are called so because they are considered parts of a show, each with their own function, all characters in a narrative. The title was chosen by Walt Disney, who wanted to encourage ideology, showing he was concerned about customer experience long before it received the attention it does today — a man way ahead of his time, isn’t he?
Training takes place regularly, ensuring that the team is always prepared to serve the customers in the best possible way. But we know that sometimes theory is not enough, so it is in practice that Disney shows the results of so much dedication. It is common to see employees going beyond their usual tasks to meet the needs that visitors may have, and this is the behavior that is expected of them. They even have some autonomy to make decisions (following the rules, of course!), which makes it easier to solve day-to-day problems — for example, if someone buys a drink and then drops it, the employee can offer a new one without charging anything.
Giving your team a well outlined mission statement and means to accomplish that mission is essential to allow everyone to feel like an active part of the company. By making clear the values, the history, and the motivation behind the rules, there is a much better understanding of how to act in situations. See how important it is to create an employee-company and employee-consumer connection? This is how he feels he is making a real difference and can see the results of his work!
1.1 Answers on the tip of your tongue
How do you deliver a job well done? Knowing like no one else how this service works. At Disney, all employees are trained to have all the answers: the times of the attractions, where the nearest bathroom is, which restaurant has Italian food. Whatever the question is, it is the obligation of every team member to know how to answer it or have a quick way to find the answer.
1.2 Attention to customer problems
No problem should be minimized! It is important to listen to the consumer, and always be available to resolve the situation, whatever it may be, as soon as possible. If you work at Disney you know that the responsibility is shared (you can’t just throw it away on your coworker!). Everyone should strive together so that the customer can be free of inconvenience.
2. Individualizing the experience
Treating the visitor as if he were unique is a Disney specialty. To do this, it is fundamental to understand your customers and their needs. For example, many of the times, people who go to one of the parks are celebrating some special occasion: birthday, wedding, engagement, first visit — there are buttons for almost every celebration, and you can get them at the park entrance for free!
There are countless options of attractions, shows, and restaurants, for the most varied types of people. It is almost impossible not to find something that will please you at Disney!
It is in this way, by valuing its audience individually and anticipating their wishes, that Disney manages to make each visit unique, magical, and special.
3. Building an immersive experience
The impression one has when entering a Disney park is that it is a world completely different from ours (an ideal world, a world I have never seen?). This immersion is only achieved with meticulous attention to every detail. In the architecture, the sound, and even the smell, everything is carefully thought out to create the image that they want their visitors to see, so that they feel they are in another reality.
The environment of each area of the park is well-divided so that you feel 100% inside. For example, if you are in Tomorrowland, you will notice a futuristic look, while in Frontierland, the footprint is Old West. This extends to the attractions, which also have their own themes and concepts. In every park, every little part has its own particularities!
Another interesting thing Disney does is play with angles and perception. Cinderella’s castle at Magic Kingdom, for example, has bricks that are bigger at the bottom and get smaller, so that the castle looks bigger. The stores on Main Street are angled to give the illusion that it is longer.
The concern with leaving everything perfect is so great that there is even a machine that throws a little smell all over the park! They nicknamed it Smellitzer. It leaves the environment with a specific odor, according to the theme of that area.
Disney also makes a point of keeping the parks very clean. You find a garbage can every 10 meters — this was based on a survey that said people only walk 10 meters to throw away garbage. Sensors have been placed in some dumpsters, so that employees know when they need to clean them. It even has a tunnel for passing garbage without being seen.
Speaking of tunnels, there is a legend that one day Walt Disney (yes, the man himself!) saw a cowboy walking through Tomorrowland and it bothered him. That is when he had the idea to create tunnels for the characters to go from one place to another without being seen. That way, there is no confusion, and characters from different worlds do not cross paths, just as the same character is not seen in the same place — imagine a child seeing one Ariel and another soon after. That would be weird, right?
They have found ways to hide the buildings in the park: whether with colors that blend in with the sky or the landscape, printed screens, or games that invite the visitor to take a peek at what’s behind the construction, everything is done not to detract from the magical atmosphere.
Did you know that they even created a color? Go away green is a faded shade of green and is used for objects that should not be seen, such as employee doors, backstage areas, and utility boxes. By the way, colors play an important role in the ambiance of the parks (if you want to know more about the impact of colors, we’ll tell you about it in this post!).
All of this may seem like exaggeration, but it only translates how committed Disney is to the minutiae that transform Walt Disney’s vision into a place that exceeds the expectations of those who visit. When you see that the company cares about all the aspects that influence your experience as a consumer, it is natural that the desire to always return to their services is born. It was Walt who said, “do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring friends.”
4. Receiving feedback
As you can already see, Disney takes the opinion of its consumers very seriously. There are satisfaction surveys when visitors enter and leave the park, as well as online forms. The team is always prepared to listen to what everyone has to say, and is encouraged to understand where they can improve.
It is important to be open to criticism and not take it personally! No one better than the one who consumes your service to help you understand what your strengths and weaknesses are.
5. Creating a user-friendly application and using technology to your advantage
My Disney Experience is an application designed to make it easier to go to the parks, with the schedule of attractions, shows, queue times, GPS to help you locate yourself in the park, and even how to order food. You can put your tickets, photos, and restaurant reservations in the app, reinforcing the customization that Disney always proposes.
MagicBands are wristbands that serve as a way to access the application, bringing more convenience to visitors: they contain the tickets, FastPasses (which are passes to get faster access to an attraction or show), payment data, and other personal information. The designs are fun and make them even more appealing to kids — and adults, too!
Oh, it is super easy to download the application and understand how it works. Of course, there is no point in creating something elaborate that is not intuitive for the users. We have said it before: Disney thinks about everything, and the goal is for people to enjoy the experience more, with convenience and ease.
6. Ensuring Loyalty
Many companies focus on making the sale, but forget about the quality of service once they have made it. With so many examples that we have listed above, you can see that Disney’s intention with all this attention and care is to keep the visitors happy at all times. They want to make sure that the customer will be satisfied and will come back again and again.
Investing everything in initial marketing may get you a sale, but not a loyal customer base that will always look for your service or product. So, bet on a service that goes beyond the moment of purchase and does not let the customer down.