Recently, one of my favorite clients told me they wanted his community to be like Disney. What did he mean by Community? Today, this tends to be reference for a branded, company managed online community or a Facebook Page or a G+ Page. I like to extend the definition a bit to other online gatherings, such as all the ‘reviews’ about an Amazon book or an offline engagement, such as a MeetUp.
Since I really respect this person, I took his request on as a personal challenge to figure out what this meant and what it would take to accomplish it. Originally, his creativity kicked in and he had some great ideas for center stage. However, Disney creates the magic because it not only focuses on the Center Stage, but also on the Back Stage. Great ideas come to life on center stage but it all depends on the operations that happen behind the scenes.
According to the Disney Institute, there are four key areas Backstage:
- Guestology (which I call SMBography), which means that every employee (who touches a partner or a customer) should know and understand what that customer wants. One way to do this is to have employees active on in our online communities and social networks. To do this, you also need to treat each social network as a listening outpost so that you can better understand your ‘guests’ (members). Actions and decisions should also be data-driven so that you are not aiming in the dark. We should be prepared to invest in a pair of Big Ears, in the form of tools, resources, manpower.
- Quality, which means we white glove (like Mickey Mouse) everything. This requires training our employees, our call center folks, and anyone who interacts with a user to go the extra mile and provide an unforettable experience. You need a road map of enhancements that consists of all touch-points, from the service desk to the boardroom, from your ecommerce store to the your customer service team.
- Delivery, which means that your platforms, people and processes need to run efficiently. Decisions need to be data driven and constantly benchmarked against your previous results and your competitors track record.
- Integration, which means that you need to take a more holistic approach in how you manage customer service, community, and commerce. You need to map out the Customer Journey and your Guests interactions — Map out while individuals from different parts of the company are in one room with laptops and cell phones off.
For more about these topics, read Be Our Guest (Revised and Updated Edition): Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by The Disney Institute and Theodore Kinni
For most companies, implementing the above requires a significant cultural change. However, it is necessary if you want to be successful in the digital and social world. It’s important to make sure your backstage operations are a well-oiled and managed machine. Otherwise, your inefficiencies will be apparent on center stage.
Implementing these changes is also crucial to be able to compete competitively. As more and more
companies perfect “the art of customer service”, users will not only expect quality from you but demand it. In the long term, these practice will be required to make your business sustainable.
If you have chance to visit Disney — online or at a theme park., take a moment to notice the little things that make the experience what it is. That magic doesn’t just happen. It’s built, cultivated, and perfected.