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No Budget for Customer Experience? No Problem.


There is nothing quite like the experience of a Disney Cruise, especially when you have kids.

We had the opportunity to travel Europe and go on a seven—day cruise on the Disney Magic. With my passion for exceptional customer service, I couldn’t help but take mental notes of every engagement touchpoint. We had an incredible time on this cruise and have too many memories to repeat, but one of the standout moments was simple applause.


When you get ready to board a Disney cruise, you know you are in for a unique experience. The excitement you feel in the terminal is elevated by small details like staff wearing Mickey Mouse gloves and high-fiving guests as they pass by. This alone creates a great customer experience with people in costume, and in character, treating everyone like a friend. The check-in experience is pleasant and organized, and then you step on the ship.


The Wow Moment


The grandiosity and size of the ship alone creates a "wow" entrance, but there's more to the moment you step on the boat than just the view that makes it magical. As you approach the ship, one of the cast members asks for your last name, and then announces through a microphone, "Disney Magic welcomes the Frake family!” You walk in, and about six cast members are standing in rows on both sides of you welcoming your arrival by clapping.


Goosebumps.


This gesture was not only memorable and personalized; it was so simple. It set the tone for the trip and made both the kids and the adults light up for a brief moment and feel special. Why? Because we were met with enthusiasm, addressed by our family name, and applauded. Pretty simple, right?


Why Applause Works


Before this experience, we emulated that moment at a Lexus event where ten associates were invited to Lexus headquarters for a working meeting. When they arrived on site, we coordinated about 40 employees to be standing in the lobby and enthusiastically clap for the associates as they entered the lobby. We filmed their entrance and captured the moment. They were blown away by the gesture of appreciation. The associates talked about the gesture the following day and even posted about it in a forum with their colleagues. We knew it made a significant impact on every one of them, and it didn’t cost us a penny.


Applause is a sign of appreciation, accomplishment and recognition. All three of these things are something that you want to show to your customers, partners and hard-working employees. It lets that person know that specific moment is about them and that they have not gone unnoticed.

Every customer likes to feel special. We always make a point to say that consumers today love a personalized experience with brands and companies, and want to know that they are genuinely cared for. Applauding accomplishes that for no cost and no additional training.


What are some moments in your customer or employee’s journey that you could help them celebrate?