Walt Disney, when building Disneyland in Anaheim, CA insisted that the Sleeping Beauty Castle be built first. The architects disagreed with this idea. From their point of view it was not the wisest way to build, it was impractical. The accountants disagreed with this idea too, it was expensive and an unnecessary expense.
No matter. Walt wanted it built first.
Disney, a future thinking innovator and visionary, instinctively knew something very important about people. When people have a common compelling vision and an inspiring goal, they achieve more and achieve it faster.
The castle was built first because Walt wanted “Everyone to see what it is they are here to create.”
What does your castle look like?
Does everyone who touches your customers (or whose work in anyway impacts the customers) understand what it is they are there to create? Are they there to create an experience that inspires excitement or security or inspiration or ease or discovery or some other combination of emotion that will imprint the experience positively for the customer?
Are they there to delight, deliver, explore? Should they motivate, build trust and inspire action?
If you can’t put the experience you are trying to create into words that everyone understands, if you can’t make it simple to remember and easy to implement, it won’t happen consistently. Consistency is one of the 21 Essential Elements of Building Customer Loyalty.
As a leader it’s your job to co-create a vision of the experience that will make you unique and special in your marketplace. It’s your job to help connect the behaviors that need to occur with the outcome that will make you stand out and cause your customers to come back with friends and money (and “like” you on their social media outlets.)
Notice I said “co-create”.
Here’s a fun way to get the ball rolling if you haven’t done this already. Get a stack of index cards. During your next meeting ask everyone to write down an emotion they want the customer to be feeling before, during and/or after an interaction with you.
(Example: Perhaps you want a customer to feel excited at the thought of calling to purchase something from you, important and significant while they are dealing with you, appreciated and positive about you when they leave.)
Write those and any and all others – one per card. As a group, agree on the most important 5 – 7 for your particular customers and start with those. For each card you want to list the factors (behaviors, tone, systems etc) that would cause a customer to feel that way.
Next, list the same factors that would cause them to feel the opposite (e.g. what would make them feel unappreciated, dis-interested, bored etc.)
You can’t change the culture until you change the conversation.
It’s one more simple way to get everyone involved in co-creating the kinds of experiences that will keep them happily coming back.
Have fun. (That’s an important part!)
Be well, stay happy