We make assumptions about what people want based on what we know to be true, rather than what is possible.
We assume that using technology to do the same things we’ve always done will give customers a better experience. But if we think about what is possible we find entirely new ways to solve their problems and create value they care about.
Reimagining the customer experience starts with empathy. It is only when we walk in the customer’s shoes that we can see the barriers along the customer journey and remove them. Empathy leads to innovation.
Disney is an example of a brand that is designing innovative customer experiences by combining technology with empathy.
In 2013 the company launched a wearable wristband called the MagicBand, designed to improve customer experiences at Disney World resorts and parks. The starting point for developing the technology, five years in the making, was to anticipate and root out friction within the Disney experience.
“We were looking for pain points,” says Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “What are the barriers to getting into the experience faster?”
The MagicBand does this in ways that seem magical.
The computer bracelet enables Disney visitors to get in and out of the park without buying tickets, make purchases without carrying cash or credit cards, make dinner reservations, open their hotel room door and book FastPasses to get on rides quicker.
The MagicBand also creates a personalized itinerary for each visitor which calculates the most efficient path for reaching all of their favorite rides. Patrons of the Be Our Guest restaurant have their food order “magically” find them without their having to ask for it.
Disney has even found ways to make the trip to the Magic Kingdom easier. Customers don’t have to deal with car rentals or waiting in lines to retrieve their luggage. The luggage follows them from the airport to their hotel. All of this is enabled by the MagicBand.
The technology also enables employees to make more meaningful connections with customers. “Employees move past transactions, into an interactive space where they personalize the experience,” says Crofton.
Ultimately customers spend less time waiting and more time experiencing the park, creating memories, and of course, spending more money. The enhanced customer experience has paid off for Disney.
In the year following the introduction of the wristbands the company saw an increase in park attendance, an increase in hotel occupancy, and a 20 percent increase in income.
The magic in creating memorable, meaningful experiences is not in the technology. It’s in seeing the possibilities for using it to surprise and delight customers all along their journey.