Shorter Lines – Disney Style

Compelling story in the NY Times about the focus Disney places on decreasing the amount of time their theme park customers wait in line (And the better experience they create while they are on line).

For every business that have customers wait on line (or on hold for that matter), this should be your case study on turning that time to your benefit.  Nothing fancy, trendy or social media-ish about it.  These are the moments when your customers are waiting on you. Use it wisely and reap the rewards. 

Article link: Disney Tackles Major Theme Park Problem: Lines

An excerpt:

If Pirates of the Caribbean, the ride that sends people on a spirited voyage through the Spanish Main, suddenly blinks from green to yellow, the center might respond by alerting managers to launch more boats. Another option involves dispatching Captain Jack Sparrow or Goofy or one of their pals to the queue to entertain people as they wait. “It’s about being nimble and quickly noticing that, ‘Hey, let’s make sure there is some relief out there for those people,’ ” said Phil Holmes, vice president of the Magic Kingdom, the flagship Disney World park.

What if Fantasyland is swamped with people but adjacent Tomorrowland has plenty of elbow room? The operations center can route a miniparade called “Move it! Shake it! Celebrate It!” into the less-populated pocket to siphon guests in that direction. Other technicians in the command center monitor restaurants, perhaps spotting that additional registers need to be opened or dispatching greeters to hand out menus to people waiting to order. “These moments add up until they collectively help the entire park,” Mr. Holmes said.

In recent years, according to Disney research, the average Magic Kingdom visitor has had time for only nine rides — out of more than 40 — because of lengthy waits and crowded walkways and restaurants. In the last few months, however, the operations center has managed to make enough nips and tucks to lift that average to 10.

Related post from a few years back: Innovating around your customers waiting time

Too much of X and not enough of Y

In this great talk by, my hero, Tom Peters he references the book Enough. by John Bogle and says that you need only read the table of contents to get the (powerful) message about the times we live in.  I say, totally true.  

I have posted it below. See if you agree:

Too much cost, not enough value.
Too much speculation, not enough investment.
Too much complexity, not enough simplicity.
Too much counting, not enough trust.
Too much business conduct, not enough professional conduct.
Too much salesmanship, not enough stewardship.
Too much management, not enough leadership.
Too much focus on things, not enough focus on commitment.
Too many 21st century values, not enough 18th century values.
Too much “success,” not enough character.


Complaining Has Become Too Easy

Complaining is easy. In the end, it only provides some temporary relief from frustration. Figuring out and executing a smart solution is the hard part.

One shouldn’t come without the other.

I worked with a company a few years back whose President brought along a Super Soaker water gun to every staff meeting.

All meetings had 1 simple rule: Nobody is allowed to whine/complain about something unless they also propose a solution that fixes that problem. Failure to do the hard part resulted in a soaking blast of water.

Blogs (this one included) have made it even easier to throw out a rant about bad and bungled customer service, etc…

Complaining doesn’t change things for the better. Putting smart solutions into action does.

Ironically, in the long run, doing the hard part is far more fulfilling.

Don’t Let Them Put Your Business In a "Bucket"

We all seek to find powerful ways to differentiate our companies. We search for new ways to market, new strategies and the big new idea that will give power to our claim that our business is truly unique.

We may be missing the most important road block…Working off of a pre-determined “Bucket” of the industry you are in.

If you start off by saying you are a consulting firm, a travel agent, an accounting firm or an advertising agency then you are stuck in the constraints of what history has constructed those words mean to people. The road is then more difficult as you try to tell the story of why you are different than all of the rest.

Why not first try to create an entirely new bucket based on the problem you are solving, your purpose or the need you are trying to fill.

Consider this quote from Scott Goodson, chief creative officer of Strawberry Frog, a new breed of (Bucket omitted), talking about what they can do:

“..they are more like political movements for clients and their products”

Even the author of the article (about a new breed of ad agencies) immediately moves to place Mr. Goodson back into a bucket with this statement “Some of what Goodman says is hype – he’s and adman, for goodness’ sake”

Perhaps it is hype or “marketing speak” but I would rather someone tell me that they are going to turn my business into a political movement than they are going to manage my ad campaign (Better still if they show how their unique thinking will make it happen). Ad agencies conjure up my own ideas about what I can expect and why I should be skeptical. The longer you can keep me from connecting your business to my pre-conceived beliefs the better chance you have of helping me understand how you want to help me vs how I believe you cannot.

If someone is presenting their company to you in a way that is uncomfortable because it does not fit into an easy “frame” that you can relate to, try to live with the discomfort a bit and focus on what they are saying first. You won’t solve complex problems in fresh new ways by saying.. “We need to hire an __________.”

Think about what you are actually delivering for your customers/clients and focus the description of what you do around it.