What area of your business is most important to you? Many will say profit and growth without thinking about the driving force behind it; the customer experience.
In 2007, I was lucky enough to live every parent’s dream and take my daughter to Disneyland. Previously, as a young adult in the mid 80s, I had taken myself to Disneyland and had been overwhelmed by the spectacular service and smooth operation of the theme park. But this time, everything had changed. The customer service was inconsistent and the staff attitudes seemed indifferent. The magic was gone.
Turns out I wasn’t the only one who had felt this change. As Fast Company magazine reported in their May 2015 edition, in the mid-2000s Disney executives were worried. Disney World was losing popularity. Guests’ intent to return was decreasing and around half of first-time attendees indicated they likely would not come back because of long lines, high ticket costs, and other park pain points which didn’t provide the wondrous experience they were promised. This was hugely affecting profit and growth.
At the same time, the increasing use of social media and smartphones threatened the relevance of the theme parks. People had different tastes and no longer needed to travel hundreds of miles to be entertained. If Disney wanted these more tech-orientated generations to love it as much as their parents, who had grown up with fewer entertainment alternatives had, it would have to embrace change now. They identified that they were failing to recognize key consumer trends that influencing how people interacted with brands.
As a solution, Disney created the MagicBand, an electronic band that can digitally carry everything a guest might need, from park tickets, photos, coupons, keys to their room, even money.
The benefits of this investment proved to vastly outweighed the cost. One of the most important features of this band is not one which is even advertised to its guests. By wearing the band, guests are tracked as they navigate the park. By monitoring where crowds are forming, the company can better optimize crowd flow. For example, if the sensors noted that one section of Magic Kingdom was is becoming overwhelmed with guests, operators can immediately respond with a character parade around the corner, to disperse traffic and ease stress on their employees. And if they notice a long queue is forming at a particular ride, they can send a character to entertain the crowd, easing frustration and making for a better customer experience while they wait.
But this kind of traffic management is so much more than just a service to customers—it has helped Disney fit more guests inside its parks. As a result there is hardly ever a line at the main entrance to the park and it takes just seconds to stream through with a MagicBand. The turnstile transaction time has been cut by 30%, resulting in many more people entering the gates, which has generated greater profit.
The MagicBand also collects valuable consumer data that allowed Disney to understand their customers so they could better serve them, and stop delivering the one-size-fits-all experience.
This genius invention has saved Disney’s future, whilst improving their company culture. Simply put, it brought the magic back to Disneyland.
While it doesn’t need to be a high-tech or expensive, maybe it’s time to look inwards and think ‘what could you do to create a better experience for your customers, whilst easing employee stress and increasing profit?’