Are you a loyal Disney guest? Disney loves loyal guests. A loyal guest can spend tens of thousands of dollars over a lifetime. They buy a Disney Vacation Club membership and make annual (or more) pilgrimages. Moreover, they can become an advocate who talks up Disney to others and gets them to come for a visit. Indeed, the best measure of long-term success for the Disney organization is the long-term loyalty of its guests.
If you are a loyal Disney guest, ask yourself, why? Essentially, it's because you have become emotionally connected at some point. It may be a Disney film you saw when you were a young child, or the joy of a resort stay with family or friends. It may be your first time riding the Matterhorn bobsleds. Perhaps it is a combination of events like that over a lifetime.
Who of all these guests will come back? That question underscores the Magical Moment and Take 5 strategy. Photo by Jeff Kober.
One important way customer loyalty occurs is through a one-on-one connection with a Disney cast member. Disney knows that over a typical resort stay, guests on average will have over 60 moments of contact with cast members. Those moments mean nothing if it's a simply a transaction. It could mean everything if any of them are interactions. Therefore, Disney has a vested interest in providing as many opportunities as possible for cast members to make each individual guest experience special. The idea of cast members doing something special for the guests they serve has been going on for years. But in the 1990s, it took on a greater structure at Walt Disney World. That structure would become known as Magical Moments and Take 5s.
Since opening, Animal Kingdom has had an array of Magical Moments such as inviting guests to participate in The Flights of Wonder show. Photo by Jeff Kober.
What are Magical Moments and Take 5s? Who else does something like this? And how do I make this happen in my own business?
Magical Moments are carefully orchestrated opportunities to individualize the customer experience. Magical Moments are planned, scheduled events that create special moments for the guest.
Special events such as Epcot's Flower and Garden Show offer their own Magical Moments. Photo by Jeff Kober.
Have you ever been chosen to be in the 3:00 parade? Have you ever been made the temporary king or queen of England by Merlin? Were you selected as a guest of honor for the evening flag retreat? Did the elevator open at the Tower of Terror only to see your child dressed as a bellhop?
What's thischildren dressed as bellhops? Yep! There have been all sorts of opportunities created as Magical Moments. And from time to time they have even allowed youngsters too short to ride the tower an opportunity to dress up as a bellhop at the Disney-MGM Studios and greet their family coming off of the elevator.
Magical Moments show up in all sorts of places. And when Disney's Animal Kingdom was created, they continued this tradition in a variety of events and activities around the park. This includes:
An array of buttons, stickers, and certificates help guests remember the different Magical Moments or Take 5 experiences they had. Photo by Jeff Kober.
Wait a momentSome of this sounds like The Year of a Million Dreams! In many ways it is a redressing of Magical Moments. In the Year of a Million Dreams campaign, Disney has identified even more opportunities for Magical Moments. This includes anything from receiving Fastpasses to major attractions in the park to a stay in Cinderella Castle.
Technology at attractions like Turtle Talk with Crush and Monster's Laugh Floor offer a number of quick Magical Moments with Disney characters that can truly come alive and interact with you. Still, it's perhaps not as great as face-to-face interaction. Photo by Jeff Kober.
The flaw I find in this campaign though is that the heart and purpose of a Magical Moment has been taken out in an effort to accommodate more guests with something of a surprise. For example, on a recent visit to Disney's Animal Kingdom, my wife was "surprised" with a magical parking pass at Disney's Animal Kingdom. This cast member handed it out as if it was their twelfth that day. In essence, he handed her a small card/certificate and told her to just go park over at in the disabled parking lot. There wasn't much to it that was magical. More importantly, it failed in terms of being interactive and engaging. Rather, it was more about meeting a transactional quota.
That's not to say I would turn down a night's stay at the castle. But this campaign is only effective if the experience is about how it is given as much as what is given. No wonder that some have not only been skeptic as they were handed prizes but have even turned them down. The experience can be so out of context, that it lacks authenticity.
Hundreds of thousands have had some experience in a structured magical moment. But hundreds of thousands isn't enough. Disney needs millions of loyal guests. That's where Take 5s come into play. Take 5s are "in the moment" opportunities cast members have to offer special guest moments. Take 5s give license to the staff to take just 5 minutes out of their day to individualize customer service. If 55,000 cast members can take 5 minutes a day to really pay attention to a customer, the results can be enormous.
Take 5s can be proactive or reactive. From a proactive perspective, it can take the form of going out and greeting guests and looking for opportunities to be helpful. From a reactive view, it can be as simple as offering to take a picture of a customer. Simply put, Take 5s are a chance to do something nice for someone else.
What's wonderful about Take 5s is that it gives license to cast members to go out of their way to create happiness for the guests. The genuineness of doing so is what makes Take 5s succeed. It may be replacing a spilled ice cream for a small child. It may be a housekeeper leaving the plush Mickey on the bed with a remote in hand watching the Disney Channel. It could be the entire boat singing happy birthday to you on board the Jungle Cruise, or Slue Foot Slue doting over your receding hairline.
Helping out with lost children is a Take 5 opportunity waiting to happen. It's an example of a reactive situation that when resolved successfully, can result in tremendous customer loyalty. Photo by Jeff Kober.
When these moments happenwhether it's Magical Moments or Take 5s, guests experience something in their hearts that makes them want to come back for more. The result is customer loyalty.
So how do we make that kind of thing happen in our own organization? After all, we don't have castles and safaris in our office. Well, it can happen. In fact it's been happening since you were a small child. Remember when you went to the dentist as a child. If you were good, you could have something from the treasure chest. Been surprisingly upgraded to a better car at the car rental location, without paying more? What about a nurse who really looked after you and went the extra mile while you were in the hospital? Is there a hairdresser you continually return to because of they he or she fusses over you? Those are all the result of Take 5s.
Organizations such as Nordstrom are legendary for their ability to provide one-on-one attention to their customers. Photo by Jeff Kober.
So ask yourself:
If you have had the experience of receiving a Take 5 or Magical Moment not just at Disney, but with another company you are loyal to, please share it with us. We especially want to hear about unusual organizations you are loyal to and why. We'll take the best of both the Disney and other organization stories and share it with everyone to provide you more ideas about how to make this work in your own organization. I'll also share with you why a colleague of mine is a loyal customer to one of the most unusual companies of allMobil Oil.
Until then, best of luck in finding the magic in your own business.
(Send an email to Jeff Kober)
J. Jeff Kober, (@MousePlanetJeff) president of Performance Journeys and CEO of World Class Benchmarking, is also a thought leader on best-in-business practices at the Walt Disney Company. He brings those ideas to organizations via keynotes, seminars, and workshops to organizations around the world. He has authored "The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney" as well as a "Disney at Work" series of apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch, available via DisneyatWork.com. You can find out more about his newest book, "Lead With Your Customer: Transform Culture and Brand into World-Class Excellence" at LeadWithYourCustomer.com.