Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

CRM Success: What’s Your ‘First Pickle’ Button?

May 20, 2014 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

CRM Magazine recently published an insightful article titled “CRM + Customer Service = Long-Term Results.” Co-authored by Jeff James, vice president and general manager of Disney Institute, and Rob Montaudo, director of CRM for growth and emerging businesses for Disney Parks & Resorts, the article offers four steps nearly any organization can implement to improve their own CRM (creating relationship magic) initiatives.

In step #3, they advise: "Unleash the creativity of the team." With the right people on site and trained, empower the front-line team to enhance episodic customer interactions.” 

So, what could this look like in real life? Here’s a great example that shows how one of our Disney leaders listened to his Cast and empowered them to develop new, innovative ways to create relationship magic with their Guests:

A few years ago, Disney Parks introduced special Celebration Buttons as part of its "What Will You Celebrate?” campaign. The Celebration Buttons are available for free at Park Guest Relations and have become a popular way for guests to commemorate special moments in their lives. Different buttons are available signifying a First Visit, Birthday, Anniversary, etc., and sometimes guests even write in their own special reasons for celebrating.

John, a Disney leader who oversees a team who sells bananas, apples and oversized deli pickles at one of our outdoor food carts, is one leader in particular who fully embraced the company’s Celebration campaign. He went to Guest Relations to pick up some Celebration Buttons and presented them to his team. He asked them to think of innovative ways they could use them to make a new magical moment for their Guests. John’s team came up with the idea that it would be fun to create their own special buttons that their team could give out to Guests. 

Now, imagine you are a Disney Guest who isn’t celebrating any particular event. You are simply enjoying your day and decide it’s time for a snack. You stop at the fruit cart; look at all the fresh items and choose a deli pickle. When you step up to purchase your snack, when Megan, the Cast Member, with great flourish, fun and excitement, announces and awards you with...the “First Pickle” Button!

At first, Johh and his Cast Members weren’t sure how Guests would respond to receiving a “First Pickle” button, but he allowed them to try it. He encouraged them, in fact, and he praised their creativity.

Lo and behold, the First Pickle Buttons were a hit! Guests who were awarded the buttons acted as though they had won the lottery. It turned out to be fun and memorable way for them to be recognized. One Guest actually asked the Cast Member who awarded the button to take a picture together while wearing the unique “First Pickle” button.

Since then, other “First” Celebration Buttons have been adapted to include other food purchases and “First Guest From …” buttons. Imagine the fun for the leader and Cast Member working at the retail outlet to pick an everyday product, such as a pickle or a bag of dried cranberries, and make that a special surprise for that day. 

My point is that these interactions create relationships and opportunities for conversation. Guess what happens when we engage Guests in conversation…? We find out things about their experience that we might never have found out otherwise. These relationships become invaluable in our ability to create an authentic, better-rounded, human understanding of the customer. 

How do you empower your employees to create relationship magic with your customers? 

Disney Institute uses business insights and time-tested examples from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide to provide relevant illustrations and engaging stories that help you develop the customer experience culture you are capable of delivering. With professional development courses offered by Disney Institute, you will discover ways to positively impact your organization and the customers you serve as you are immersed in leadership, culture, service and beyond. 


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 Bruce Jones, Jeff James, Rob Montaudo, CRM, Creating Relationship Magic, Brand Loyalty, Brand, Innovation, Creativity, Service, Celebration, Buttons, Pickle, Button, Empower, Empowerment

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