It had been some time since I had visited a Disney Store so when I passed by one the other day I had to stop in.
I wandered through the store checking out how the Star Wars brand has been woven into the Disney merchandising, listening in on customer interactions and observing the joy that the customers exhibited in visiting a little slice of the happiest place on Earth. Finally, I ended my explorations at the back of the store drawn towards a small crowd gathered there. There were a dozen people around plush mountain watching the video wall on the back of the store.
It is not uncommon to see hordes of children watching video screens intently. But that was not the case here. The dozen people gathered at the foot of the video display were all adults. Among the chaos of children running about and the peels of laughter and giggling, all of these adults stood perfectly still, holding armloads of intended purchases, saying nothing and intently watching the video as it played before them. I was tempted to take a picture but I did not want to ruin their moment so I left them in peace.
I had just run across a pack of “Disnoids”, the dedicated customers of the Disney Company. These are the people who hold season passes to the parks, take cruises on the Disney ships, get engaged and married at the parks, plan trips to China, France, Hong Kong and Japan to visit the Disney Parks there, own all the Disney DVDs, collect animation art, see each new Disney film countless times and are experts on Disney trivia ad nauseam.
These are the types of customers that retailers would die for. No retailer’s customers approach the rabid dedication of these Disney fans. Apple customers are about the only ones that come close. How do they do it? The Disney customer is cultivated through a variety of methods but I feel their legendary customer service is the key.
Disney hires Disney fans as employees. They train these employees carefully. Then they coach and continually develop the employees to maintain and expand the Disney brand.
Many years ago I had the chance to sit in on some training for the Disney store where the new employees were learning about the guest service cycle. As part of the training, the store associates were taught about the power of Disney trivia. They were instructed that when possible during an interaction with a customer, they should share some Disney trivia with the customer.
Here is an example of what that might sound like.
“Do you know how to tell the difference between Chip and Dale the chipmunks?” inquires a store associate.
“No,” responds the customer.
“Chip has a nose shaped like a chocolate chip.”
The idea is that the customer now has a tidbit of insider information. Now the customer is one of the “in people.” Trivia, as part of the Company’s heritage, is so important that for many years Disney has held monthly in-store employee trivia contest that are taken very seriously by the employees. Employees actually have the chance to qualify for the national trivia contest held at DisneyWorld. It bread an unflagging loyalty in their employees.
The only issue I have with the whole things is that referring to something so important and powerful important as “trivia” just doesn’t seem right.
Encourage your floor employees to share a tidbit about your company such as company folklore, how it was founded etc.