Pixie Dust & Profits a podcast for small business owners who love Disney and want to sprinkle some of that magic onto their own businesses. Join your host, Nicole Boucher and Yasmine Spencer. As they explore the mouse’s $12.6 billion operation and break down exactly how you can apply these big scale concepts to your own business.
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of Pixie Dust & Profits. Before we dive into this week’s episode, I want to ask you what has been your most magical cast member experience at Disney? I’ve had quite a few when I last went to Disney, which as you probably know, if you’ve listened to this episode for a long time was for my bachelorette party in February of 2019, that feels like forever ago.
It does. I mean, last week feels like forever ago, 2019. So it’s hard to imagine
Just to go a year without Disney magic is like super sad, but Hey, we’re in a pandemic. But while I was on that trip, there were so many like magical experiences I had with cast members who knew we were there because it was my bachelorette because when I was talking to one of the cast members, when planning my trip, they asked why I was going to Disney. And, you know, throughout the entire park experience, the cast members were wishing me like, you know luck on my wedding and, you know, congratulated me. And in one restaurant at beer guest, they actually had the beast come to our table and hand me a card from the bell and the B’s congratulating me on my upcoming wedding. And it’s awesome. I know, I know. And it was just like, we were there basically with the last people there.
So we’re the last ones who are going to go in line to take a photo with them anyway, like everyone else was gone. It was just us in the grand ballroom and he came to our table and I just like, remember like kind of fingerling, cause I’m like, Oh my God, it’s the beast. And my bride it’s massive. Yeah, no. And my bridesmaids were like, okay, I’m like, it’s the BC guys. But like totally, you know, made my trip. That was such an amazing memorable experience. And one of the incredible things that just need does is they actually empower their cast members to make these decisions, to really enhance the guest experience. They have enough autonomy to, you know, sort of go above and beyond to make someone’s day truly magical. And
I’ve had I’ve had a couple of experience was like this where they’ve really gone above and beyond. There was one year we were there around Christmas time and my husband is a pen collector and we had gone to the Christmas party and could not find a pen. They were sold out. And, you know, an employee, a cast member not only tried finding it the very next day when we went into a different shop, looking for it, went into the stock room. Like they went down into the under corridors in the magic kingdom to go to the stock room to try and find it for him, did not find it, but found a different holiday pen that was limited edition and brought it upstairs and asked if he wanted that one. And so that was one of those moments where I think my husband had gone into like 15 different stores, just hoping that they had this pen.
I ended up finding it later on and getting it in a stocking for him. But so that was one like cute moment. And then another one that happened actually this year, which is hard to believe we were at Disney World in January of 2020. And when we were flying home is when we started hearing all these reports on the news about a virus overseas. And it feels like forever ago, but we were there during my father’s birthday. And I had ordered just a small little cake from the boardwalk bakery. It was simple white little cake had Donald Duck on it. And you know, we were just going to say happy birthday to my dad. He’s, he’s not a huge Disney fan. It’s not his favorite place to be. So we were trying to get him to love the Disney magic. And you know, even though it was approximately 40, 45 degrees the week that we were there in January, you can’t have cake without ice cream.
So we went to the store at we were staying at old key West and we went to a store all to us and looked for some ice cream and the woman was checking us out with just, why are you buying ice cream? It’s so cold. So then it turned into, well, it’s grandpa’s birthday and you can’t have cake without ice cream. And you know, then she got so excited, the cast member and, you know, we tell the rear from Maine, so the cold didn’t bother us anyway. And so she, you know, directors ever to the front desk and she said, you know, they can get you a simple wounds or something over there. And so I went to the front desk and tell them what was going on. And we had cake and we had ice cream. We were excited for grandpa’s birthday.
And it was so sweet. They came out a few minutes later and they had a couple of balloons and they had a card from Mickey, like signed, like Mickey’s name, all signed on it. And it said, happy birthday. So we literally ordered a cake from one of their bakeries. And then we went to go buy ice cream. And we left with the birthday party. Like we came back to the room with the birthday party. We had balloons, we had cake, we had ice cream and we had a card from Mickey mouse. So it really blew my dad’s mind. And he, he started to really buy the Disney magic then. So that was just, it’s so simple. It’s balloons in a card, right? But this cast member heard what we were doing and she wanted to make it even more magical. And she was empowered to do that. She was allowed to make these decisions and like these experiences
That we have, it’s just not me and Nicole, like cast members get shout outs every day on Twitter, on Instagram and Facebook groups that we are in, because this is part of Disney’s culture. They are empowering cast members across the board to really, really bring the magic to our visits and our experiences at the park. And it’s so incredibly important in giving your team members that type of autonomy when you’re running a business because empowered team members are confident team members and confident team members just show up so much more in your business. They’re happier. They want to do more good work because they feel that they are trusted to be, to do the best thing that they can do. And you know, you really have to also as a CEO or business owner, caution them about the tipping point. So, you know, how the Disneyland tunnel sort of came to be, it was because Walt saw a cowboy in tomorrow land and that’s a big no-no back when he was running Disneyland, they created the entire Utilidor system.
So that cowboy can get all the way from his dressing room to adventure land without guests knowing, right. They don’t want him walking through fantasy land and tomorrow land and all the other parks yet. They’re no, and that’s what makes things so magical when all of a sudden out of nowhere Mickey appears or another like character will just like show up. And the fact that like characters that are, you know, not limited, I would say, but typically found in a specific area of a park, you only see them there. And the reason they make this happen is because of the Utilidor system. So there is sort of boundaries in terms of like what cast members can do, but they are empowered to enhance guest experience. And Nicole, why don’t we talk a little bit about how you can take these very lessons and apply them to your own small business?
Yeah. I think the biggest thing and you already hit on this is just to trust them, to trust your team, to do what’s right for your business, to trust them, to know the best way to execute the task that you have given them. Yes. They’re probably going to need support, especially if they’ve just joined your team. However, especially with people you’ve worked with for awhile always assume that they treat your business like it’s their own. And if you’ve hired a contractor, especially they are experts in what they do. They know the things that they are good at, and they also have other clients who utilize those services. And so it’s sometimes really great as an entrepreneur to have all these ideas or see someone else doing something and wanting to replicate what they do in your own business, but at the same time, going to your team and having them empowered means I can totally see those pieces that you love about this, but I also know your brand and your audience.
Let’s merge these things together and make it something uniquely you, which is what we talked about a few weeks ago. This concept of a uniquely you business. If you follow the formula the exact same way, it’s not going to work for you. And part of your formula for your business, this is the team that you have and the commitment that they have to you now, remember loyalty and commitment are not the same thing. Loyalty is when they have a task to do, they’re going to get it done because they’re loyal to making sure that they get their paycheck or that they get things done. But commitment, commitment is those late nights of trying to figure out how this works best for you and your business, and really making sure that they’re doing something amazing for you and your brand. So cast members have commitment there.
They’re not loyal to showing up on time for the job. They have commitment to making the guest experience an amazing one. And so that’s something to remember about your team. Trust them, don’t micromanage them. If you have processes that are a little bit clunky or feel like are being held back either by decisions or wait time, that’s an area of waste that you can definitely minimize by trusting your team. And yes, things might get messed up. Things will happen that you won’t like. I know there are so many occasions where I just want to tweak an image just a tiny bit, because I don’t love how that ended up looking like, you know, you have a template. Why did it end up flipping that way? But at some point you just have to give the feedback and, and trust them to be able to revise, learn and do better next time or get closer to your preferences. Sometimes that we focus on little things too much as the CEO’s when we can trust the team to get it done. Especially when it comes to things like social media, where the lifespan of an Instagram post is I don’t know, maybe 10 minutes Yasmin probably knows the actual data there, but it’s just one of those things that you can let it go. I have all the Elsa references today. Apparently,
You know what, Nicole, like you, you really said something important there about having, letting them learn from their mistakes and giving them feedback. Because if you insert yourself in the process every step of the way and fix things for them all the time, especially not relay like what the edits or changes work. They’re never going to feel competent in what they’re capable of doing for you. And going back to what I said, confident team members are good team members. They’re happy team members or team members who want to do better. So inserting yourself in every step of the process, really just muddles things up. You have to, at some point, let go trust your team member to do what they need to do and give them the appropriate feedback, but let them apply it. Let them learn from it. Don’t try to fix everything yourself, because when you do that, there are no learnings. It makes you frustrated because you’re always like, well, why aren’t they getting it? Why haven’t they figured it out? Well, it’s because, Hey, you haven’t taken the time to adequately explain and let them actually try to fix the issue.
And I mean, some people learn by doing so by preventing their ability to do this. You’re putting yourself in that process and they’re not, they’re not absorbing, they’re not learning. So, you know, we’re talking about this on a high level view, but what does this look like? Low-Level tactical. So this could be something where you have a refund policy. We have customer service managers who are allowed to refund up to a certain amount. So you don’t have to approve every single refund. You only have to approve the ones that are above $20 or a hundred dollars, whatever that setting might be. You might even have multiple levels depending on the experience level of the customer service agents that you have. And what that does is the same thing. As a cast member, who is able to get the balloons, they probably couldn’t do anything bigger than that without asking their manager.
Right. So just thinking about it in terms of that, like having clear boundaries for them actually frees everything up so they know, okay, I’m not going to get in trouble. If I’m in this situation where I feel like this customer deserves a little bit more than what they got, and I’m going to give them a little bonus that I’m allowed to because it’s under $20 in equivalent value. So they don’t have to run to you making the customer experience worse because that person is waiting even longer to get a response. And the CEO getting frustrated, because why do I have to respond to these things? It can really clear up a lot of things. And that’s just one tiny example of empowering your team. There are definitely other things you can do. I highly recommend looking at any choke points that you have in your business.
Those usually are telltale signs that you’ve probably got your hands too much in something that you probably don’t need to be in. And if you don’t have the team member yet, we had an episode a few weeks ago that you can go back to you about hiring and give you some tips there about how to find some team members that you know, will put your business in front of their own needs and be good stewards of your brand. So thank you for joining us for this week’s episode of Pixie Dust & Profits. We would love to hear from you, where are your challenges with your team? How do you empower them, or where are you looking to empower them? If you send us a message, we’d be more than happy to learn more about your business and maybe give you a quick tip. So you can find us on Instagram @pixiedustandprofits and join our mailing list at magic.pixiedustandprofits.com until next week, we will see you
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