Take a Cue from the Mouse: Create an Excellent Customer Experience

I spent last week at Disney World with my family. (And yes, I managed to stick to my resolution not to do work while I was on vacation!) As a parent, I loved seeing my children so happy and delighted by everything they saw and did in the Magic Kingdom. As an HR expert looking back at my memories of this trip, however, I find myself thinking, “Disney is such an incredibly successful company. What lessons can it teach the staffing industry?”

The attractions at Disney certainly lived up to their stellar reputation. But I was especially impressed by how Disney has worked hard—and succeeded—at creating a top-notch customer experience. Many books and articles have described the terrific service found at the park, and that alone is a big contributor to any positive customer experience. The park’s new MagicBands (which have been fully rolled out in recent months), however, take convenience, service, and efficiency to new highs and position Disney at the forefront of innovation.

A MagicBand is an RFID-enabled bracelet that is connected to its user’s personal data. It can unlock that guest’s hotel room door at the Disney Resort, give FastPass access to park attractions, replace paper tickets, and even serve as a payment method for purchases. (If you’re worried that your MagicBand-wearing kids will go on a crazy shopping spree, fret not: purchases are possible with a MagicBand only if its wearer knows the four-digit PIN for its linked credit card.)

Christopher Palmeri at BloombergBusinessWeekexplains:

The goal is to offer people what Tom Staggs, head of the company’s parks and resorts unit, calls “a more immersive, more seamless, and more personal experience”—allowing Disney employees to address a child by name, for example, or wish someone a happy birthday.

By using a customer’s data to personalize his or her experience, Disney has hopped onto the Big Data bandwagon. The result? A vacation experience that’s easier for both the customer and the company to navigate, more convenient, less stressful, and more enjoyable overall.

Obviously, I don’t think the staffing industry should start issuing its own version of MagicBands to clients. For one thing, Disney spent about $1 billion developing this technology—and I seriously doubt any staffing firm is in a position to make this kind of investment. Besides, in order to provide a good customer experience, you don’t actually need a gadget like this. What you do need are a focus on evaluating the customer experience from the perspective of both your clients and your temporary employees, and the willingness and ability to do whatever you can to improve that experience.

When interacting with your clients, consider these questions, among others:

  • How easy is it for them to pay their invoices?

  • When they place a job order for a new temporary employee, do they have to repeat a lot of the information they already provided for their first job order?

  • Do you have a defined onboarding process in place for your brand-new clients?

  • Do you make it clear from day one that your goal is to be a long-term business partner and not just another staffing vendor?

As for your candidates and temporary employees, never forget that their customer experience starts as soon as they apply to one of your job openings. To get their perspective, go undercover and become a candidate for a day, then use the data you gather firsthand to evaluate every touchpoint in your process:

  • How do you confirm interviews?

  • Do you have a formal onboarding process for every temp job, or do you just provide a time, date, and location for where your employee needs to be?

  • How easy (or hard) is it for your employees to call in sick, get pay stubs online, and replace lost W2s?

These are just a few of the questions you need to ask your clients and employees if you want to refine your customer experience. Fully understanding how clients and employees interact with your company is the first step in creating an awesome experience that leads to increased employee retention and fiercely loyal customers.

And once you think you’ve got your processes optimized, don’t rest on your laurels! Like Disney, even if you have the top ranking in your field, keeping look for new ways to make improvements. As long as you continue searching for them, you’ll find some!


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