What A Toilet, A Car, and A Mouse Can Teach You!

This past week while reading a few blogs by some of my favorite thought leaders, I came across a blog post by Alan Ayers, The Injustice of Bad Customer Service. In this post, Alan talks about how all of us have been “wronged” by bad consumer experiences. We all love to talk about them, post them on social media, and get our friends involved in the experience. Let me be honest here; I have been one of those people.

After many years of working for The Walt Disney Company, I have a very high expectation when it comes to customer service and consumer foodexperience. My dear wife Carla hates when we go into a restaurant, and things start to go bad.

She knows that there is something inside of me that can’t let it go. Maybe it is my years as a server, my years being around the restaurant business, or perhaps it comes down to plain common courtesy. I do not believe I ask for much, but I do expect to be treated like a human and a consumer that matters – whether it be in a restaurant, a store, with a doctor, or on airplane.

It comes back to the three basic principles I preach: Know Me, Surprise Me, and Make It Easy For Me! You can read about this in a blog post I shared last month.

 So, what can we learn about consumer-centered experiences from a toilet? Or a car? Or even a mouse? Everything!

 Let’s start with the car!

teslaThis past week, Group XP released their report results ranking Tesla #1 in customer experience within the automobile industry and 20th overall. You can read the report here. The report speaks of Tesla’s ability to lead in consumer loyalty and engagement.  They are a leader when it comes to consumer impressions, and tied with such brands as Disney & Pampers.

Tesla disrupted an industry driven by traditional companies doing the same ole’ thing. They built an experience where they KNOW who their consumer is and they create a flawless experience for them. This is the KNOW ME in the world of consumer-centered experiences.

 A Toilet!

Andrew Griffiths in his blog post, Japanese Toilets Taught Me A Lot About Customer Service shared his experience of being in Japan and going to a public toilet. He states, toiletsI have never been in any toilet that isn’t spotlessly clean, stocked with toilet paper, the soap dispensers are all full, and all of the hand dryers work.”

He was truly surprised by this clean and properly maintained toilet experience. He goes on to say, “This is a key to excellent customer service. Show customers that you are thinking about them and their needs, and they will notice and reward your business for it.

What I see in his experience is the element of SURPRISE! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every restaurant, hotel, or store would pay that much attention to us as consumers to truly SURPRISE ME in all my interactions?

 A Mouse!

As I mentioned above, I spent many years working for the Walt Disney Company. In those years, although I was not a front of the house cast member, I learned a lot about how to MAKE IT EASY for our guests.

One of the greatmickey-mouse joys for me was to walk out in the park and witness a child seeing Mickey Mouse or Cinderella for the first time. It brought such joy to my day.

Disney is known all over the world for crafting magical experiences, along with meeting and exceeding their guests’ expectations. This is why today my family and I still visit the park even without benefits or discounts.

In an article entitled, How Disney Creates Magical Experiences, Gregory Ciotti shares a story that explains how to MAKE IT EASY:  Many times a guest will ask, “What time does the 3:00 p.m. parade start?” Well to us that may seem like a dumb question, but it is not. What that guest wants to know is, “What time will the parade come by here, where I am sitting or standing?” A Disney cast member could easily say, “It starts at 3:00p.m.,” but they are trained to say, “It should be by here in about 5 minutes, can I help you find a spot so you can see it.

Very simple. Disney cast members are trained to MAKE IT EASY for every guest in the resort.

I hope these examples of KNOW ME, SURPRISE ME, MAKE IT EASY offer further clarity and value as you think about your own organizations consumer experience strategy. Who knew we could learn so much from a car, a toilet, and a mouse!


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