The high watermark of Orlando theme parks was set years ago by Walt Disney World, although Universal Studios has stepped up their game when it comes to quality. These days it’s more about who you prefer to spend the day with: Harry Potter, the Terminator, and the Minions, or Mickey, Minnie, or with Avatars on Pandora. You, my friend, are ready for a day of total immersion. Take advantage, by all means, but note how these show business mega-corps offer examples of how you can arrive home with more than just souvenirs.
Note the consistency within the brand
Without their themes and branding attached, the rides from park to park would look pretty similar: roller coasters, flumes, a slow dark ride with lots of music and animatronic characters, and action-adventure 3-D motion simulators. It is the theme that sets these apart. They immerse you in a storyline so you feel like you are part of the action. Examples are The Haunted Mansion and Star Tours at WDW and Back to The Future and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal Studios.
What the companies are known for outside the park, they incorporate within the park, extending the brand. Is there some common action or procedure that everyone does in your industry that you can present and market in a way that will differentiate yourself? Can you brand something others present as ordinary and make it extraordinary?
Watch and listen to park employee interactions
Employees (or “cast members” at Disney parks) all have a certain “look.” They dress, walk, and talk according to their part, whether that role is as a popcorn seller on Main Street U.S.A. or the bellman at a park-owned resort. No employee is sent “onstage” without thorough training beforehand, not on the job. Every guest dilemma has been foreseen, every opportunity for delight anticipated.
How much training do you provide that goes beyond overcoming objections, but rather focuses on delight and exceeding expectations? Do your “cast members” know their roles in your organization and are they prepared to play them willingly and with a smile?
A mouse may be tiny, but details can be mighty
As you take a break on that bench to enjoy that $8 ice cream bar, take a moment to zoom in on at least 3 details that might have otherwise slipped past you.
A) Look around your feet. How tidy is it where you are? Every Disney employee is trained to spot trash and “swoop” it up. It’s one graceful motion that even top- level executives have been seen doing. In fact, as part of the Disney culture, it is likely that if you ask anyone for their job description, they are likely to answer, “I’m the ______ and I clean the park.” That goes for the CEO and down the ranks. Cleanliness is everyone’s job. *How clean are your workspaces, your service trucks, your uniforms, and your customer’s home when your company is done? Is there enough “swooping?” But more than just literal cleanliness: is everyone “on message” as far as your company standards? What does your organization stand for? What do you stand against? Is there training to emphasize standards and a ritual to continually reinforce them?
B) What do you hear at that bench in the park? The piped-in music should have something to do with your surroundings. The employees should be “in character” when they speak (if they are permitted to speak!). Their guest interactions should be courteous and controlled, no matter how frazzled the nature of the problem being addressed. *What do you hear in your office, your trucks, and within the home as your workers engage with customers?
C) Even the distractions are well-planned. If there is a ride with a long line nearby, you’ll probably see something there to distract guests so that they remain engaged, and time passes quickly for them. It could be video screens that set the guests up for what they are about to experience. It could be costumed characters. Space Mountain has 87 game consoles along the queue. How does your company handle wait times, whether it’s on the phone, before the service call, or during the call? How can you keep your customers engaged as they wait to experience your extraordinary service?
Theme parks may appear as child’s play, but they are actually serious business. Rather than take the whole day off and forget about your company, why not mindfully learn from the best? Those lessons may make your service company the next big attraction in your town!