One of my favorite clients recently told me he wanted his community to be like Disney.
What did he mean by Community? Today, this tends to be reference for a branded, company managed online community or a Facebook Page or a G+ Page. I like to extend the definition a bit to other online gatherings, such as all the reviews about an Amazon book or an offline engagement, such as a MeetUp.
Since I really respect this person, I took his request on as a personal challenge to figure out what this meant and what it would take to accomplish it. His creativity kicked in and he had some great ideas for center stage.
However, Disney creates the magic because it not only focuses on the Center Stage, but also on the Back Stage. Great ideas come to life on center stage but it all depends on the operations that happen behind the scenes.
According to the Disney Institute, there are four key areas Backstage:
- Guestology (which I call SMBography), which means that every employee (who touches a partner or a customer) should know and understand what that customer wants. One way to do this is to have employees active in our online communities and social networks (see How Communities Can Help You Get "Unstuck" and Delight Customers). To do this, you also need to treat each social network as a listening outpost so that you can better understand your "guests" (members). Actions and decisions should also be data-driven so that you are not aiming in the dark. We should be prepared to invest in a pair of Big Ears, in the form of tools, resources, manpower.
- Quality, which means we white glove (like Mickey Mouse) everything. This requires training our employees, our call center folks, and anyone who interacts with a user to go the extra mile and provide an unforgettable experience. You need a road map of enhancements that consists of all touch-points, from the service desk to the boardroom, from your e-commerce store to the your customer service team.
- Delivery, which means that your platforms, people and processes need to run efficiently. Decisions need to be data driven and constantly benchmarked against your previous results and your competitors track record.
- Integration, which means that you need to take a more holistic approach in how you manage customer service, community and commerce. You need to map out the Customer Journey and your Guest's interactions — Map out while individuals from different parts of the company are in one room with laptops and cell phones off.
For more about these topics, read Be Our Guest (Revised and Updated Edition): Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by The Disney Institute and Theodore Kinni.
For most companies, implementing the above requires a significant cultural change. However, it is necessary if you want to be successful in the digital and social world. It’s important to make sure your backstage operations are a well-oiled and managed machine. Otherwise, your inefficiencies will be apparent on center stage.
Title image courtesy of SelimAzad (Shutterstock)
Editor's Note: More from Scott on the importance engaged employees: Employee Engagement: Its ROI May be More Than You Think.
About the Author
Scott K. Wilder is currently with Google, working Small and Medium Business initiatives. Scott previously was at Human 1.0, consulting to SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and other companies. From 2002-2009, he worked at Intuit, where he created its award winning Online Community. Scott has held senior management positions with American Express, AOL, Apple, Borders, eToys, and Intuit. Scott's been in the trenches leveraging interactive media since the early 1980s.
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