I had an exchange a few years ago with a then colleague of mine. I was attempting to demonstrate the importance of the customer experience and how critical it was to our business model. I used my Disney ice cream experience as an example when explaining how emotional connections with customers are formed, and to be lasting customer relationships must be constantly nurtured and reaffirmed. I mentioned that during another trip to Florida, while staying at a Disney property that had recently opened, I walked into the lobby and there was Michael Eisner, standing with a man who I surmised was the hotel general manager. The two well-dressed men were engaged in an animated conversation which appeared to concern the draperies that ran ceiling to floor in this very grand lobby modeled after the turn of the century. Intrigued, I patiently took a seat and watched this exchange unfold until the two men eventually meandered off to another destination in the hotel, I assumed to critique some other element. Man, if I could have followed them to continue my business lesson I would have. Thinking it wouldn’t bode well with my family, and not wanting to get arrested for stalking Michael Eisner, instead I wandered off to locate my family.
I later read that Eisner was critical to evolving Walt Disney’s original vision for his company by creating the modern standard of excellence, with the emphasis on the customer experience that Disney is remembered for. He was so consumed by this that he often demanded to see the designs for bedding and window dressings for each of the resorts to ensure they met his standard for the guests. I was fascinated by what I had observed in the lobby that day, and the idea that the leader of a massive company like Disney, was so engrossed in the central nervous system of the organization. My colleague, however, seemed to miss my point entirely, preferring to point out that Eisner was a control freak that demanded perfection, and sometimes drove people out of the company. Was Eisner difficult? I wasn’t trying to debate that. Was talent sometimes driven out? Maybe, but who’s to say it wasn’t for the good of the company? I think Eisner had an uncanny ability to put himself in the shoes of the customer and that made him an exceptional authority. So it’s easy to see how that philosophy trickled down and blanketed an entire company the size of a small country. I guess what I’m really saying is, I think Eisner understood the true meaning of an E ticket and that’s what he aspired to be. He also made those expectations clear to all around him.
For a company to be exceptionally tuned into their customer experience, every person in the company must be fully engaged. They have a need-to-know, and must understand and embrace the core principals and philosophies of the organization. Your talent at every level within your organization must be empowered to act within their role – or take it to someone who can act beyond their authority. This is fundamental because every single person within your organization has the ability to impact how your company is perceived by your customers; they are all marketers and you should never lose sight of this. In this uncharted, new business climate, the ability of organizational leaders to make concise, strategic determinations, and achieve the task of successfully drilling it down within the organization, is critical to ensuring to your staff that not only your business, but they too, are sustainable.
You can be the B Ticket, but I say own it and Be The E Ticket!