Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

Success is in the Details: How Disney Overmanages the Customer Experience

January 09, 2014 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

If an experimental Audio-Animatronic Tiki Bird was breathing, and 99% of the audience would likely never notice, would it make a difference? It did to Walt Disney. 

A half-century ago during the development of the Disneyland® Park attraction, Enchanted Tiki Room, Walt watched his Audio-Animatronic birds blink, move and sing — but wondered why they didn’t breathe. Imagineers had a good answer: The soup of circuits, valves and pumps made it difficult to add an element that hardly anyone would notice. Legendary Imagineer, John Hench, said to Walt, "People are not going to get this. This is too much perfection."

Walt listened, and that’s when he shared a lesson that’s become a timeless pillar of The Walt Disney Company: "People can feel perfection."  

Quality is in the imperceptible things that guests might not even know they see. Whether that means adding authentic props from the Himalayas to enhance an already “perfect” Expedition Everest attraction or ensuring that each one of a million pieces of wardrobe is “stage ready” every day, devotion to detail lets guests know that they’re worth the effort.  

And, the opposite can be true as well…if people can feel perfection, what might a blind eye to detail convey to customers and potential customers? 

In many organizations, the small details that are often "undermanaged" or ignored "chip away" at the customer experience. That is not the sort of "differentiation" an organization should seek. 

Any place where your customers come in contact with you (your brand) must deliver a quality service experience. While the "place" customers engage with you may be virtual, the same rules apply. Here are some components to consider when overmanaging the details of your place:

  • Architectural design
  • Landscaping
  • Lighting
  • Color
  • Signage
  • Directional design on carpets
  • Texture of floor surface
  • Focal points and directional signs
  • Internal/external detail
  • Music/ambient noise
  • Smell
  • Touch/tactile experiences
  • Taste

(Source: Be Our Guest)

What details does your organization overmanage to improve customer experience?


Disney Institute is ready to help you apply strategic rigor to your customer experience efforts - call us at 321.939.4600 or complete our Contact Form

Posted in Business Excellence | Tagged Customer Experience, Quality Service, Business Excellence, Overmanage, Overmanaging, Customer Service, Walt Disney, Bruce Jones

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