February 10th, 2015
The following is a guest post by Chip R. Bell, a renowned keynote speaker and the author of several best-selling books. His newest book is the just-released Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service.
I recently had keynoted a conference for a large bus manufacturing company. It got me thinking about what service would be like if choreographed through the lens of organizations renowned for those compelling story-telling customer experiences. While this focus is bus-specific, the lessons have application for any organization with a focus on taking their customers’ breath away. So, what if Walt Disney (or your favorite exemplar) was in charge of the experience you create for your customers?
It would be inclusive…like the way Southwest Airlines involves passengers. On a flight to Phoenix, a flight attendant sought the assistance from two adoring passengers to help pass out peanuts to fellow passengers. The most important part of the occurrence was not the obvious fun the two guys in Bermuda shorts and ball caps had. It was the noticeable positive effect the incident had on everyone on board. Even super serious passengers could not help but grin as they received the all-too-familiar snack from the flight attendant-wannabes!
It would be fun…like Archie Bostick, a bus driver for Hertz. After turning in your car you go outside to catch the rental car bus to the terminal. The first thing you notice is Archie standing next to the doors with a welcoming grin on his face! Instead of a tip jar (baited with a handful of bucks to encourage reluctant tippers), Archie paper-clips dollar bills across the front of his shirt. It’s an attention-getter that announces this is going to be a unique experience. Once onboard, Archie delivers a comedy routine instead of the issuing the standard warning about the consequences of forgetting to turn in the car. As Archie pulls up to the terminal, he announces, “Now, I may never see you again. I want us all to say together, ‘I love Hertz.’” He convinces a crowd of strangers to holler, “I love Hertz” before they get off his bus!
It would feature surprise…like Marriott. My business partner and I were staying at the Marriott in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, while working with a client nearby. We both had a very early meeting but I was returning to the hotel afterwards to work in his room. Before getting in the rental car my partner panned to keep, I stopped by the front desk and asked the night auditor and early morning front desk clerk, Linda Zieller, if the hotel had a van that could pick him up at the meeting site, ten minutes away, and bring him back to the hotel at 8 am. Without hesitation Linda said, “We don’t have a hotel van but I will be getting off at 7:30 am and will be glad to pick you up and bring you back to the hotel before I go home.” We made other arrangements, but the generous offer increased our devotion to the hotel.
And, it would be magical…just like Disney. A family took a vacation on a Disney Cruise Line trip that began with a few days at Walt Disney World theme park. The morning they were to shift from their hotel to the cruise ship, they were instructed to leave their entire luggage in their hotel room for pick-up and delivery. Imagine their delight when they arrived on board ship to discover that their luggage was already in their room with the same room number as the hotel—and the same hotel key opened the door! They do not refer to it as the Magic Kingdom just because it is a cool label.
When you visit the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, one of the photos on display was taken in the early days following the grand opening of Disneyland in Anaheim. Walt is touring the theme park with Mickey Mouse in an antique open-air vehicle. And, who do you think is the driver behind the wheel? Why, Walt himself, having the adventure of his life! Who’s driving the experience bus at your organization? And, is it just about the destination or is it also about a great ride?