Leave'em Wanting More

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for performers is the ability to turn the switch “on” and deliver a consistent “on-brand” performance for every show. In amateurs you can easily see a performance sabotaged by mood, fatigue, boredom, or other factors. Yet, when you think about it, how many of us are required to perform consistently in our work or sport. To our customers, managers and teammates our emotions are often irrelevant when it’s “go” time, they expect us to be “on” every time.

The Arc2Arc Team recently returned from a conference at Walt Disney World where we had the opportunity to visit the theme parks.  The Disney guys are the kings of consistency, creativity and are flat out masters of creating magical experiences.  Disney has mastered taking spectacle to a whole new level and they are able to do it consistently time and time again. Each time you see a show you think that presentation was done just for you, that it would be impossible for it to be repeated over and over, but then you realize that isn’t so, shows and firework displays are done day after day, sometimes multiple times a day.

From our experience we believe Disney’s success revolves around three main components:

  • Scripted programs with training and practice so actions are easily repeated as designed. Nothing is left to chance.
  • Flexibility so individual flare can make the performance genuine and unique for every audience.
  • “On” so cast members allow nothing to affect their performance.

To illustrate these components, we watched a really cool rolling stage show at Hollywood Studios called High School Musical 3.  The stage traveled through the park to an area where people could gather.  They pumped out the music and the cast members created a fantastic show for all ages.

A couple days later, we ended up going back to the park and low and behold the show started rolling down the street again. Same time, same place, same everything.  Although some of the magic was gone because we had already seen it, this was an opportunity to look beyond the surface and witness what was a true lesson on how to deliver a legendary customer experience and performance.  The point is through high energy and interaction with the audience the cast made you feel like the show was just for you and the first and last time it would ever be performed. 

Ironically, from the cast members’ perspective this was just another day and another show.  When it was done they had to quickly shift gears for the next performance.  To be successful the casts’ most important job is to perform as if it’s the only performance they will deliver and they need to nail it. For anyone operating a business that has a high degree of customer touch who wouldn’t want their employees to nail it every time they work?

Going back to the three bullet points above, the show was clearly scripted and rehearsed.  The second viewing proved nothing happened by accident.  Yet with all the scripting, the cast had the flexibility to interact with the audience. The eye contact, smiles, waving, high fives and so on made the audience feel special and part of the show.  Finally, they were so “On” that they swept everyone away with them with their enthusiasm.  They went the extra mile to deliver an awesome show and they do this day in and day out. 

So what’s the big deal?  Well, a Disney vacation is not inexpensive and there are often long lines, yet when cast members collectively and consistently orchestrate on brand performances, the perceived value goes through the roof, guests forget about the lines and cost and they simply want more. 

For those in the ski industry reading this, replace the stage with the resort and the cast with your bus drivers, ticket sellers, rental shop employees, patrollers, and instructors.  The truly successful employees recognize they have the opportunity to create a magical experience for their guests by performing their job as they have been trained; being flexible enough to meet their guests unique needs; and through their verbal and non-verbal communication, excitement, and genuine enthusiasm. 

Any service based business can become magical.  It’s not Disney magic, but simply a choice to bring the same diligence and enthusiasm day in and day out.   In the end, the guests who were lucky enough to catch the show will be left wanting more.  So the question is, do your guests leave your show wanting more?  Give us a call, we’d be happy to help.

Many thanks to Disney for a great time and for illustrating such a valuable lesson. 

Jeb Boyd 10/2009

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Learn more about this topic at one of our on-snow sessions or through our V-SYNC Training System.

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