The Similarities Between Disney Parks and Harvard Business School
I recently went on a trip to Disney with my family. It was fun, and my kids had a great time mingling with the mouse and his cohorts. For me, it was more than that though. It was an eye-opening experience that brought me back to my days at Harvard Business School.
Much like olfactory memory, the idea that certain odors bring back old memories, the Magic Kingdom brought back to me my first time walking through the gates of HBS.
I love my time at HBS, and I also enjoyed my time in the Magic Kingdom. It reminded me of how proper management and meticulous attention to detail can improve a customers relation with a brand. I think what I’m trying to say is that Disney parks are to a kid what HBS is to adults: a wonderful land of creativity, imagination, and happiness.
This is a reflection of two highly successful customer relations experience, and what understanding your client can do to a person’s overall feeling of wellness.
Attention to Detail
Disney does not miss a single detail. Everything is carefully considered to give customers that feeling of magic and fairy tales come to life. Everything from the bathrooms to the little ice cream seller carts is themed, clean, and inviting.
What struck me the most is the professional way in which cast members (they’re not called employees at Disney) conduct themselves to preserve this magic for the little ones. Every single one of them plays the part they’ve been assigned, be it a janitor or a queue manager. They all smiled at my kids whenever we interacted. They never made us feel like we were anywhere other than the happiest place on Earth.
This mirrors the exact experience I had at Harvard. Not a single teacher there had a bad attitude in class. They believed in the program. They believed in what they were saying and were experts at it. Similarly, every Disney cast member is entirely well versed in the park’s ins and outs. No question went unanswered, and no one pointed us to a higher manager to solve our issues.
During one of our days in the park, I lost my Magic Band. The Magic Band is a wristband that allowed me to access many of the park’s offerings like Fast Passes, dinner reservations, and yes even entering the parks themselves. When I approached a random cast member with my problem, they told me to wait there for a few minutes. Ten minutes later, the cast member returned with a brand new Magic Band so we could continue to “experience the magic.”
No managers were involved. No waiting in line at a “Lost Magic Bands” booth. No questions to verify I had indeed lost it and I hadn’t just sold it on eBay. The cast member knew precisely where to go and what to do to waste the least of our time and allow us to continue enjoying the park.
Exactly like in Harvard.
From the moment I arrived in Harvard and got off the taxi (who had picked me up with my name printed on a board), I was effortlessly taken to my previously assigned room, shown around the living quarters, and given sort of an “onboarding” experience on what to expect from Harvard.
Disney worked us through our arrival in a very similar way, emphasizing the magical part of our journey ever since we arrived in the hotel.
The company culture in these two companies is very similar in that way, and that’s what pleasantly surprised me. I could see in my kids’ faces the same sort of overwhelming excitement I had when walking into Harvard.
Customer experiences in both places are created with the customer in mind. The onboarding experience is a joy to experience precisely because of the great lengths they go into showing you what a fantastic place they’ve built over years and years of experience. They both also give employees the ability and authority to solve problems themselves. They've created a decentralized system that removes the friction of more bureaucratic places, where I’m sure we would’ve had to go to a particular office, and talked to a specially trained person, to get back my Magic Band.
There’s a slight difference though: Harvard has excellent food.
Even so, meeting up with characters from Disney films gave my kids the same sort of elation I had when meeting the man responsible for the remote working case studies at Harvard.
The Jobsity Magic
The takeaway from all of this is pretty clear: great customer experience and flawless attention to detail will allow people to feel cared for and important. The onboarding process at the beginning of a client is a massive part of this.
At Jobsity, our next step is to identify problems with offshoring teams and remote work with our clients across the world. We want to turn this into not only a competent working experience for everyone involved, but we also want to elicit feelings. Well being, trust, confidence that the project is being carried out by a team of specialists who care about what they’re doing, and who also can solve problems on the fly.
That’s where we’re headed. And that’s the compromise we’ve set out for the team to attain.