"What was the most magical experience of your life?"
Ask this question to random people on the street and the name ‘Disney’ will probably come out more than any other. It’s a matter of fact: the Disney brand - and its theme parks above all - is deeply linked with the idea of incredible and memorable experiences. So maybe you should ask to Mickey Mouse & Co. how to improve customer experience.
Despite all the controversy surrounding Walt Disney, there is no doubt that he had a clear - and somewhat ahead of time - business vision. In his picture, on the one hand he saw a place where adults and children could see their fantasies come alive and have fun together; on the other hand he predicted the importance of happy customers as key factor to create a successful company.
“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember this whole thing was started by a mouse.”
How can you build a meaningful brand? You don’t want customers to buy your product or service once and for all; you want them to come back, become faithful and loyal supporters, and share the good vibes with relatives and friends, so that they can become customers too. The only way to reach this goal is to focus all your efforts on people and become obsessed by the quality of your customer experience.
Great storytelling plus unforgettable experiences: this is, in a few words, the most critical lesson Disney still teaches to all other businesses, day after day. In order to understand what people want and need, you must get out there, be willing to listen (even the questions you don’t want to hear), and finally institutionalize an approach of continuous learning and improvement to deliver the best customer journey possible.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
As the years pass by, we find ourselves increasingly involved in a digital ecosystem, influenced and altered by disruptive devices - the smartphone, virtual reality headsets, even the smartwatch. Our experience as customers becomes a melting pot of analog and digital moments; even traditional and old-style companies, thus, are forced to rethink their strategies to involve and engage the new empowered client.
At the heart of Disney brand we still find the values shaped long ago by uncle Walt; through the decades, though, managers and marketers have proved the ability to adapt the ‘how’ without touching the ‘why’ and ‘what’: improve the strategy to keep pace with digital transformation while staying true to the true core belief of the founder.
Storytelling and strong identity are, no doubt, the roots of a brand nearly one hundred years old. But that’s not all: there are at least 4 other lessons from Walt Disney, to increase retention and build a better customer experience.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE CUSTOMER
“You don’t build it for yourself. You know what the people want and you build it for them.”
Whatever you do or plan to do, you should always consider the customer first. It's not by coincidence if the first step of inbound marketing is the creation of your business buyer personas: if you don’t know who you’re talking to, you are likely talking to none. That means you’re only wasting time and money.
ALWAYS EXCEED EXPECTATIONS
“Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”
When adults and children enter the magic kingdom of Disney, they feel like dreaming. And dreams always far exceed reality. This is a lesson for you: never settle for less than what your customers deserve. Give them what they need it, wherever they are, across all touch points. Adopt a proactive approach to answer before they even ask for your help.
“I don’t want the public to see the world they live in while they’re in the Park. I want to feel they’re in another world.”
Long-lasting success always lies in the details. We all know the absolute obsession Walt Disney had for every single detail, in movies as in theme parks. You should have the same obsession and willingness to optimize products, identity, service, channels, online and mobile presence. In hyper-competitive markets, you only lose when you stop experimenting.
A BRAND IS MADE OF PEOPLE
“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”
When you connect with a company, the only aspect of the business you see is employees. Walt Disney was well-aware of the relevance of employees to drive and share core values. Company’s culture is always a shared purpose, and the front line is your bottom line: there is no real change without employee engagement. Your workers are your first customers.
Do you truly understand what customers want? Clients will want to return only if you can offer an incredible overall experience. Whether you are a traditional retailer, an E-Commerce firm, a B2B company or a digital brand, unleash the child and embrace the power of magic. Because magic is timeless, indeed.