Are You An Experience?
Make Your Necessary Business Functions a True Experience
Not just a perfunctory task.
Since its’ inception, Disney has mastered the art of making, what could be a mundane, or worse, an arduous task for their guests, into fun, exciting and even new experiences.
Take the parking of cars for example. Disney has conquered the art and science of parking cars at its’ theme parks, filling 1000’s of spaces every hour as the parks fill up. They do it with the precision of a Special Forces or Drum Corps Team. And it is always nearly flawless. If only New York or D.C. could take a few cues.
Now Disney has added their first parking garage at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney), and in true Disney fashion, parking your car is not just something that has to be done, it is to be experienced.
Think of all the time that is wasted and aggravation built to the point of a mental breakdown searching for an elusive parking space. You approach what seems to be an empty space on the other side of a mammoth SUV… begin to turn in… only to discover a minuscule Yugo or SMART car neatly tucked in. (Who hasn’t had that happen!?)
Then there is the price to pay to park. Recently, I had to visit my father at New York Presbyterian Hospital. I begrudgingly shelled out 42 bucks for 2 and a half hours of parking. Then the crook… I mean attendant… blackmailed me for another $20 because he said I was in an OVERSIZED car (it was a Honda Mini Van). Universal Studio’s and the like are not much better.
But Disney Springs was FIDDERENT
To begin, it was a true 5 story parking garage. Not a land mass the size of 40 football fields, but a compact and organized garage. But this was not an ordinary garage.
First and foremost it was FREE to park. Yep… I said FREE!. This is a huge deal considering how much it costs to park at the other Disney parks or at Universal’s Entertainment District.
Second, it had an army of real humans, greeting you at the entrance and on each deck, helping direct you to the open spaces.
But the best part was that this was a high tech SMART garage. You see, the entrance and each row has an electronic screen that has a number on it, telling the parker how many spaces are available in that particular aisle. Each parking space has a laser scanner and detects if there is a car in the space. When a car pulls into the space, the little green light indicated an open space turns to red. That information is transmitted to the screens to let incoming parkers know of the availability.
This system allows parkers to know how many spaces are available in an aisle or row virtually eliminating the exasperating arduous task of driving from floor to floor and row to row looking for a space. By the way… Did I mention it was FREE to park?!
What’s this got to do with MY business you ask?
I have consulted with many companies who have embraced the fact, that they have to take their most boring, tedious or mundane task and transform it into an event to be experienced. We all have processes in our business that clients or patients must endure. Why not make it something less of a pain in the arse? Waiting on hold, waiting in the office, sending invoices, knocking on doors, etc. are inevitable. Why not make them enjoyable for your clients and staff?
Take the pediatric oral surgeon who transformed his waiting room into a “Pirate Village” with office staff in costume (sorry guys… no wenches… just pirates. It is a kids office), pirate toys and pirate videos & games. You would think you walked into Captain Hooks Arcade. The themeing was carried out through the entire office with the surgeon in full pirate scrubs.
Or the appliance repair company that made a theatrical production out of just walking up to the front door, laying down the red carpet, using a special knock on the door and presenting the home owner with a pre-service gift.
All of this is carefully scripted out. No detail is left to improvisation or mindless employees who think they know better. Just like a movie that is scripted or a Broadway play. Neither would survive the first practice or rehearsal without a script.
As a former Disney Executive, I know that every last detail is scripted for every imaginable job and task. (We will cover scripting another day). But we also went to great lengths to ensure and promise that everything a guest sees, hears, touches, tastes or feels will be an experience like no other.
Think back to your business
What happens on a daily or hourly basis that a client, guest or patient has to endure to get your product or service? Is it a wait in line or in an office? Or perhaps it is as simple as answering the phone. What can you do to create a special experience that your clients or guests will remember and tell others?
- Do you own a hotel? Well the beds need to be made daily. Disney arranges the stuffed animals to appear as though they are having a party. Does this need to be done? Only if you want your guests (and their children) talking about you!
- Do you need to transport your guests or clients around? Make it an Experience! Disney uses boats, trams, trolleys, buses, trains and of course the iconic Monorail. They could have used just buses… But then that would not have been an Experience.
Your business needs to be “tellable”. Plan stories that others can and will tell. Script out those stories for your staff to perform. Everything in your business needs to be an experience, by and for the client.
Next week I will be reviewing some New Disney Themeing from the recently renovated Polynesian Resort.
NOTE: For those interested in my next “Working Disney” advanced workshop in the Fall of 2015, please fax my office a note of interest to get on the advanced list. 410-697-6072. These workshops are limited to 8 people. This is a hard number cap. This is a FULL 3 days in Orlando at the Walt Disney World Resort and is a combination classroom and parks experience personally led by me.