As part of sharing best practice in customer service excellence, Budd has researched Disney to illuminate why they are so successful in repeat business and why so many customers stay loyal. With Disney, it’s not just a matter of exceptional content – they certainly have that! It’s much more than delivering magical moments or making dreams come true for customers – although they do that too. Disney has grasped the fundamental elements of customer experience design. They are able to look at everything through the eyes of their customers (not just stand in their shoes!) and engage customers at every opportunity and in every interaction.

Disney is in the business of ‘making dreams come true’ for customers. Disney people listen hard to what customers are saying in order to tailor the experience to specific customer needs, and thus build an emotional connection to the brand. For Disney, listening to customers is not about ‘one off’ moments of truth, it is ongoing engagement between management, staff and customers. There is emphasis on leaders and managers developing a collaborative culture for care of employees. Staff doing the right things for customers is heavily integrated with the company doing the right things for staff.

The involvement of leaders in creating customer-focused business culture is an important characteristic of the Disney organisation. Indeed, it’s the first of the company’s ‘Four Fundamentals’. Founder Walt Disney had an exceptional focus on doing things for customers. A cornerstone of his philosophy is that you are in business to benefit customers or ‘guests’ in Disney speak. Everything Walt Disney did was done with the ‘guests’ in mind and this philosophy continues to underpin Disney’s corporate behaviour. It’s an approach that delivers amazing results and revenues. Today Disney parks enjoy more than 70% repeat visitation with hotels at 90% occupancy.

Whether it is one or 100 things, ‘making dreams come true for customers’ does not happen by chance. What makes the difference at Disney, is the company’s rigorous application of ‘brilliant basics’, a capacity for integrated communication and experience design, and an ability to see business life from the customers’ perspective.
Disney and its content offerings may be unique but the company faces the same sort of customer challenges as most other organisations. We hope our research stimulates you to dig further – and to challenge yourselves and your business to implement changes as a result. Does your company do the basics brilliantly and has it made that vital connection between customer experience design and brand loyalty?

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