If you’re ever persuaded by family or friends to visit one of Disney’s theme parks, you can’t help but be struck by the mind-boggling amount of detail that they have gone into to make your visit just about as perfect as it can be.
From the moment your car comes within the park’s vicinity, right up to when, some twelve hours later, you head wearily for the exit gates, there’s an overwhelming sense that everything that could have been thought of has been thought of. It’s accurate second-guessing, but on an incredible level.
And actually, it’s not necessarily just the rides or the set piece attractions where this comes out most. It’s often in the smallest element where you stand back and admire the care that’s been taken. The joys of the Fast Pass system; the way litter disappears before you notice it’s there; and how thousands depart from and return to enormous parking lots swiftly, efficiently, and with no sign of a lost guest in sight.
What’s underpinning all this is something that The Walt Disney Company call Imagineering. Disney trains its teams to conceive the boldest idea and then develop it in absolutely convincing detail. While clearly this approach is at its most vibrant when it comes to creating the next attraction, it also ensures that Disney people are alive with thinking through, clearly and vividly, all aspects of the customer journey – big or small – and then challenging themselves to ask, “well, can we make that any better?”
The challenge to live in a customer’s world and use Imagineering to make an experience a better one should not just be the preserve of a company like Disney. It’s just as important that businesses like Smart Parking, together with our consumer-facing clients, adopt this way of working to enhance the service we provide in the world of car parking.
By continuing to ask “how do we make their experience better?” we will really make progress – with the real prize for our clients of maximising loyalty and nurturing advocacy amongst consumers.
One of the other characteristics of Disney’s approach is that they are restless, relentless improvers. It’s a bit of positive paranoia, if you like, which, if applied sensibly, is a very strong attribute to possess within our market too.
So, how could the world of parking management services take a leaf out of Disney’s Imagineering book?
Here are some ideas:
- Signs that encourage drivers to use quieter parts of car park at busier times
- Rewarding an extra 30 minutes parking further away from central locations
- Creating VIP premium parking spaces, pre-bookable for regular/loyal shoppers, or simply for those who want to pay a little extra
- Establishing extra-wide spaces for larger cars/light vans/caravans/motor homes away from central locations
- Signage using bespoke language to add personality and friendliness to messaging
- Allocating and publicising a proportion of store fines revenue to charity
While Disney has their Imagineering, Smart Parking is developing its own flavour of this approach: the Human Touch. It’s a way of working that harnesses our technology lead with our experience as providers of managed services to car parking clients to develop new solutions – but they are solutions that are built round the premise that it’s the human dimension to our business methods that make the difference.
By also adopting the habit of restless, relentless improvers, we can work with our customers proactively to suggest new ways of making the guest experience special. After all, the prize of consumer loyalty and advocacy is one that’s definitely worth securing.