After 10+ trips to Disney World over the years, I remember when my kids were very young being left with the brand impression “they beat your customer experience expectation.” Back then it was personal touches like the “princess breakfast” in the Cinderella Castle for my daughter or the special seating for a water show that accompanied a dinner reservation. Another time at Disneyland, I was actually shocked and surprised to be approached by Walt Disney’s daughter at dinner as she sat down with us to see how we liked the wine from the winery she owns in Napa. To paraphrase the Disney: “Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test”.
But, now and going forward, great customer experiences will be enhanced via technology as the key enabler to let businesses differentiate the experience and grow loyalty and profits.
I saw many examples of this recently at Gartner’s biggest CIO/IT summit in Orlando, Florida. Hearing from technology luminaries at the Gartner ITxpo where trends were discussed among CIOs and IT leaders with keynotes from tech leaders such as a Facebook co-founder, the #3 leader at Google, and Microsoft’s Steve Balmer, a new picture for the future of the customer experience emerged from me. According to these leaders, the future – like when I first visited Disney World many years ago – will be centered on one key business outcome: “meet or beat your customer experience expectation”. Technology is now central to the customer experience. Let me share some observations from the event that illustrate this…
At the event, we heard how all future businesses will be driven “digitally” coupled with mobile technology. Businesses will win by making the most of “business moments” across the customer journey. Gartner also predicts that in the near future wearable technology will be everywhere. It started with fitness devices and GPS watches and now it’s Google Glass and intelligent watches from companies like Samsung. Gartner predicts any item over $100 will someday have a chip in it, allowing the “Internet everywhere” world to make for better business moments and customer experiences.
Now let’s relate this to Disney and what they rolled out while I was at the Gartner event. It’s the future today. Ironically, the EPCOT center, which now looks a little dated compared to when it opened, was originally meant to showcase what the future would like. It stood for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Today at Disney, I was shown the future of customer experience in the form of “Magic Bands” that you wear on your wrist. Upon checking in to my hotel I was given this wearable technology, a wristband with a RF chip. So what was the magic and how did it illustrate Gartner’s “digital” and “business moments” from a customer experience standpoint?
- At check-in I was invited to be in a test at their new “Be Our Guest” restaurant. I ordered a dinner online, they knew me when I arrived from my band, and when I sat down they said “sit where you want, we’ll find you”. The band even had geo-location capabilities in it. The staff arrived minutes later with my sandwich.
- The magic band opened my room door as a room key.
- The magic band was programmed with my history – it knew me.
- The magic band let me make charges with it.
- I was able to go online to My Disney Experience and downloaded the “My Experience” app to test it out. I was able to make my FastPass reservations for Space Mountain and Splash Mountain and it was all stored in the band. I did more in three hours than I have ever done at Disney before.
- When I used the band and bought my now-grown daughter a new Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal – the same one that she has on her bed from many years ago. The cashier asked if Pooh “needed a rest as he could be sent to my room or I could pick him up at the park later – or you can take him on an adventure today”. I smiled and headed off to Space Mountain and Splash Mountain with Pooh in hand.
Disney and Gartner together were a strange coincidence. I found out what Gartner was talking about during the keynotes was exactly what I was getting a glimpse of from Disney. The future of the customer experience was seen today courtesy of Gartner and Disney. Like they did 20 years ago, Disney “beat my expectations” when it came to the customer experience – only this time it was enabled via customer experience technology.
Discover how we might help your organization drive exceptional customer experiences today and in the future with the Genesys Customer Experience Platform.
Thanks for reading!