While on vacation with my family last week in Anaheim, California, I had two encounters with frontline employees that illustrated the importance of language in fulfilling a carefully designed experience.
The first occurred at Disneyland, famous for its “Happiest Place On Earth” moniker. A cast member (Disney’s term for its employees) at the stroller rental kiosk near the park entrance advised me to “Keep your receipt separate from your stroller to obtain a replacement in case someone steals it.”
Theft? At the happiest place on earth? Really? This comment put a damper on my first impression of Disneyland. Now, I’m thinking about the security of my stroller rather than which section of the park to experience first.
Better: “Keep your receipt separate from your stroller to obtain a replacement in case someone takes it by mistake.”
Now, I know that theft happens – even at the happiest place on earth – but cast members shouldn’t broadcast it.
The second encounter occurred at the Rainforest Cafe, a restaurant concept with a tropical rainforest theme described on the company website as: “Part adventure, part restaurant and wholly entertaining for the whole family, the Rainforest Cafe re-creates a tropical rainforest with waterfalls, lush vegetation, and indigenous creatures.”
After being seated, our waiter approached the table and provided a brief introduction to the restaurant that concluded with: “The gorilla goes off every 15 minutes.”
(Incidentally, I also learned on the website that the gorilla’s name is Bamba.)
Better: “Bamba, the gorilla, wakes up every 15 minutes.”
Now, I realize that the gorilla is an animatronic puppet and doesn’t really wake up, but Rainforest Cafe employees should maintain the magic – especially for the young explorers.
Think about your own business. How do employees either fulfill or undermine the intended customer experience through their choice of words?
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