Our office team recently took a field trip to the "Happiest Place on Earth" — Disneyland. This trip was an opportunity to learn from one of the best on ways to make clients feel special.

We had spent time throughout the year developing touch points to use with our clients to help build relationships. We define a touch point as every place or opportunity that a client is touched or interacts with our team, products or brand. It can be initiated by the client or it can be initiated by anyone on the team.

The Disneyland Resort team has developed many ways to make their guests feel welcome and to enhance the whole experience in the park. There are the obvious rides, eating places and entertainment, but they have dug deeper.

They use touch points to impact needs, emotions and wants. With a focus on client experiences, I thought it would be fun to share what we observed. Some of these touch points may work in your industry, and some may not, but the idea is that we continue to develop ways to make our customers feel important.

First impressions

  • The Disneyland Resort tagline ("Happiest Place on Earth") isn't about the park, but instead is about the experience they want their guests to have. They build excitement and warm feelings through their marketing efforts — especially the TV commercials.
  • Once you arrive, you are greeted at the parking kiosks as you enter the parking lot or structure. The parking lot shuttle is clean, and the service easy to figure out. Everything is branded and lets you know where you are.
  • Security could easily be a negative (think of airport security), but the park security made it friendly and casual. They chatted and welcomed guests while doing their business of searching and sending people through the scanners. Security throughout the park mingled and mixed and did not look intimidating.
  • Through the gates, everyone is greeted as they enter the park by employees called "cast members." This immediately identifies them as part of a production, or show, for the guests' benefit.
  • If they don’t want you to see something it is hidden away behind tall shrubs or walls. The magic is what is seen and the hard work to make it look easy is all tucked behind the facades.

Key takeaway: Make sure the experience starts even before the customer arrives. Build anticipation. And once they arrive, handle the mundane in a way that is painless.

Anticipation of guest needs

  • Signage at the beginning identified the wait times for rides and what rides were closed. Additionally, the park offers a phone app with the same information so guests can plan their day.
  • Single-rider lines address the needs of many types of customers, but also provide a service to the park to fill open seats.
  • There are also clearly marked photo opportunities with the best background options in the park. Guests were kept moving even when or where there could be possible bottlenecks by cast members who directed and controlled the flow.
  • Restrooms are also available everywhere, and all are clean. The park assumes nothing and explains everything. Over the bathroom sink was a sign detailing how to wash your hands.

Key takeaway: The best touch points are the ones that are a win for everyone. Think through the complete experience and figure out ways to make it easy on the customer.


  • You won't find gooey ice cream on trash cans or pieces of paper on the ground. Everything smells good. It is one of those things you probably won't pay much attention to, but if the park were dirty you would definitely notice.
  • The park has a team of white-suited sweepers who are also a wealth of information.
  • Guests can wear pins identifying it is their birthday, first-time visit or anniversary. Cast members throughout the park congratulate those guests by name when they see them. There were also surprise entertainers throughout the park.
  • There was a positive energy throughout the park using live entertainment, piped-in music, plants and landscaping, and décor.
  • Finding the hidden Mickey Mouse silhouettes provides an element of fun but also a second level of entertainment. There are also opportunities for guests to interact with each other and cast members through pin swapping.
  • Guests are not told that they are doing something wrong. We heard one cast member tell the guest that they needed to go to "their other right side." Cast members also didn't point, and instead we saw the whole hand used to direct people.
  • They make everyone feel special, even the youngest guests. Throughout the parade, the princesses made eye contact and waved at the little girls. Each one felt singled out with some special attention.
  • Throughout the restaurants, guests were asked if they were celebrating any type of event. This allowed the cast member to congratulate them and honor their time.
  • Humor is one of the trademarks of the experience. Whether poking fun at themselves or something else, it all works to bring a smile to the guests' faces.

Key takeaway: You know you are on the right track when clients don’t even realize what you have done. It is also so important that everyone on your team know how to answer questions and direct your customers. Every customer should feel special and that they are the only one who matters to you (at least in that moment).

Branding and Selling

  • Everywhere we turned there was branding, branding and more branding: trash cans, signage, shops, merchandise, food elements (Mickey Mouse shaped pretzel, anyone?).
  • There is a story for everything, and people relate to the stories. It engages everyone on a different level.
  • The representative who gave us the tour asked about us, told us what we'd be doing, and always explained why something was done the way it was done. She made it look it look easy and everything flowed smoothly, which shows how much is done behind the scenes in preparation.
  • As the guests in front of us were being escorted into the restaurant, the hostess asked if they were visiting. The guests said they had a pass that was expiring. The hostess immediately asked them if they were renewing and if she could be of assistance.
  • As we were departing, I said thank you. The response I received was "see you next time." A closing that says they know I will be back.

Key takeaway: Look for unique ways, and places, to brand and make sure everyone on the team understands they are part of the sales operation.

Walt Disney would walk through the park to see how it looked through the guests' eyes. He'd go to the movie theater to watch one of his movies to see how the guests responded and their comments.

Follow his example and spend time looking at the customer experience from the moment they make contact through the follow up. As you walk through your process, look for touch point moments that are unique and fit your industry.

Going above and beyond is what will give the successful company a competitive edge. Be creative as you look for something different that your customer hasn't seen before. You don't want to settle for anything less if you want them to be back.