Walt Disney said years ago “You don’t build it for yourself. You know what the people want and you build it for them.” The Walt Disney Company has always been obsessed with our customers, who we refer to as “Guests.”
A recent blog by Forrester’s Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian highlights the business case for why companies must be “customer obsessed.” She points out “the age of the customer” must evolve into “the age of awakening,” as more and more CEO’s recognize that the customer really is king after all. She also notes that two new developments will directly affect the revenue upside:
- “Ok is the new poor.”
- “People talk.”
Specifically, lets address “Ok is the new poor.” At Disney, our goal is to exceed the expectations of our Guests. And, we recognize that satisfaction is dangerous. Why? Because….a customer who is merely “satisfied” is still likely up for grabs in the marketplace.
What can organizations do to turn ordinary customer experiences into extraordinary experiences? One strategy we’ve found to be extremely valuable is to enable employees to turn transactions into interactions, and then into relationships. Here’s a simple retail example from the Magic Kingdom Park. Imagine these three scenarios as being on a scale from “ok”, to “very good,” to “excellent.”
- Transaction: During the morning rush to buy a long-desired souvenir, a Guest asks, “Where can I buy a Goofy hat?” Answer: “At the Emporium.” It’s as simple as that – the question was answered, and the Guest is on their way.
- Interaction: The Cast Member adds: “Is Goofy your favorite character? You know you can see him along with the rest of the gang in the parade this afternoon.” Now, that is a nice piece of additional information that can add value to the Guest experience.
- Relationship: The Cast Member adds: “By the way, if you do stay for the parade, my favorite view is over in Frontierland near some of the shade trees. Be sure to stop by after the parade and tell me all about it.” Wow! “Stop back and see me!” Now my Guest has become a potential friend.
You may be thinking: not everyone has the time to build a relationship like that at every encounter. But, here’s the payoff: When everyone in the organization behaves this way, customers will feel as though they have a relationship with the brand.
What we have learned at Disney Institute is that customer loyalty is based on what people do (e.g. repeat purchase behavior), and brand loyalty is based on how people feel. And, emotional connections lead to economic outcomes.
Tell us - How can your organization turn transactions into relationships?