Another Lesson from the Magic Kingdom: Meet Your Customers’ Expectations

Last week I wrote about my recent vacation at Disney with my family and discussed some of the lessons that the staffing industry could learn from the Magic Kingdom. Using the new MagicBands as one example, I explained how focusing on the customer experience could contribute to a company’s success.

This week I present another important lesson that the staffing industry can learn from Disney. This lesson, however, is not a positive one. Instead of highlighting a great Disney practice and encouraging you to emulate it, this time I’m drawing attention to something negative—and urging you to avoid doing the same thing.

Here’s the other takeaway from my trip to Disney: companies must understand—and meet—their customers’ expectations. In any industry, disappointed customers will take their business elsewhere (and tell their friends why).

During our vacation, my family spent some of our time at Epcot. We mostly enjoyed our visit there, but I was disappointed by my experience at Future World, one of the park’s two zones. Future World highlights innovations in technology and science in themed areas that include Mission: Space, Universe of Energy, and Test Track. For a place that touts itself as a technology-oriented venue, however, Future World is decidedly behind the times!

For example, in Future World (as in other Disney properties), people in line for an attraction can watch videos in the waiting areas. While waiting for both Soaring and Mission: Space, I was amazed to see videos … in standard definition. With most media (even local news broadcasts) now produced in high-definition quality, whenever I see low-resolution images, they definitely stand out—and not in a good way.

I was also disappointed by Spaceship Earth, the attraction housed in Epcot’s iconic metal globe. During this sixteen-minute ride, visitors travel through the structure while listening to a narration voiced by Judi Dench about the history of communication. Even though this attraction was last revised in 2008, the territory it covers stops somewhere in the 1980s, with one of the first desktop computers (circa 1985). A discussion of the Internet seems tacked on at the end, where it’s depicted overhead as a tight mesh screen with rapidly scrolling representations of “data” projected onto it.

And that’s it. Ride over.

The rest of the attraction didn’t make a positive impression on me, either. As visitors exit the Spaceship Earth ride, they move into a game room with various interactive activities and games. Unfortunately, all of them seem really dated.

I went to Future World with lofty expectations. Knowing Disney’s high standards, I figured I’d be wowed by the presentations of and about technology. Disney’s reputation and the Epcot marketing promises led me to have certain expectations. And when my actual experience fell short of those expectations, I found myself thinking, “Hmmm … that must have been really cool in the 80s.”

So as you interact with your clients, keep this lesson about expectations in mind. Your reputation and your marketing promises will lead them to expect certain things in their dealings with you. Make sure you know exactly what you need to deliver, and don’t let them down. Whether you meet or fail to meet your clients’ expectations, word will get around. And you definitely want your clients (and potential clients) to expect—and receive—your best.


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