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Give Your Customers A Good Show

Broken Street

Your business is slowly falling apart.

Hour by hour and day by day. The bulbs are burning out, the signage is getting ragged, your merchandisers are wearing out, and the rug is wearing thin.

We don’t perceive these changes. At work, 50 hours a week, this stuff happens too slowly to notice. Like watching your front lawn grow, day to day, nothing really happens. But, go away for a week holiday, and it grows to a jungle.

This is the jungle your customers experience.

When they were last at your business, the light above the register hadn’t blown out yet, and it was pleasant and bright. The front door didn’t squeak each time it shut. The WiFi sticker on the window hadn’t been peeled and torn by that little kid. The floorboards hadn’t been scraped and marked by the mop bucket.

Now a week later, these small changes add up. Individually, each change is hardly noticeable. When seen all at once, they leave a poor impression.

How do you maintain the quality of the experience for your customers?

Out of college, I went to work at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. as an attractions host (someone who operates one of the rides).

The way Disney ensured quality from day to day was with a full-show walk-through check list. Every single light bulb, every show element, each animated character, every painted surface and square-foot of carpet is examined to confirm it is working and contributing to providing guests with a “good show.”

Broken items were immediately reported to the night-time maintenance crew who fixes them by the next morning.

If it could not be fixed and was considered critical to the show, instead of exposing guests to a “bad show,” Disney would shut the attraction down. Disney’s philosophy was: “No show is better than a bad show.”

This worked at Disney for two reasons. It had the systems and discipline to 1.) spot problems immediately and 2.) fix them quickly.

At the theme parks, it may not have been your specific job to fix a cracked sidewalk or re-paint scraped hand rails… but it was everybody’s job to notice these things and report them. This way, there was a team vigilant for elements that may potentially break the magic for the guest.

Maybe you can’t afford to shut your store down for the day if you found it presenting a “bad show” for your customers. But ask yourself:

  • Do you pay enough attention to your customer experience?
  • Can you view your business the way your customers experience it?
  • How do you pay attention to the details?
  • Do you have systems in place to rapidly fix what’s breaking?

How do you ensure a “good show”?

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