Thanks to the coronavirus, small business owners have had to adapt their strategies not only once, but probably multiple times to keep their employees and customers safe. Some of these changes may be minor, but others can be really drastic.
Big companies and organizations have had to do the same thing, which is kind of refreshing, right? Because the pandemic is new to everyone, we’re all in the same boat, whether we’re entrepreneurs or CEOs of giant corporations.
The cool thing is, you can learn from what public companies are doing in response to the pandemic and applying it to your own business. Let’s talk about how the Disney experience has changed so far because of coronavirus, and what you can learn from their actions.
A whole new world…without iconic Disney experiences
The biggest, most obvious change that’ll be hard to handle? Forgoing those classic Disney experiences you find at the parks that aren’t the rides. Afternoon parades. Nightly fireworks shows. Character meet-and-greets and dining experiences. You still get to go on rides and enjoy food and drinks, but without those other experiences? You’re missing a little of the magic.
But as we pointed out in this episode, these changes are meant to give guests peace of mind. Can you really enjoy your Disney visit without worrying about getting sick or second guessing everything you’re doing? While some experiences will definitely be missed, it ultimately comes down to safety. You want your employees and your customers to feel cared for and safe.
And that’s what you can take away from this first change Disney has implemented. You may have to limit in person capacity, stick to social distancing guidelines, or cancel some services for your business for now, but remember that it’s temporary but necessary.
Keep in mind that your customers may see changes to your business as not getting what they signed up for or paid for. This is your chance to get creative and find ways to keep your customers happy while still sticking to your guns.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes
Remember to check your contract or your terms and conditions to see where you have some wiggle room and where you need to hold firm. For example, the coronavirus has hit the wedding industry hard. Wedding dates get canceled and that affects everything else, from vendors to wedding services to rentals. Luckily, your T&Cs or contract can back you up.
One thing that’ll help you provide excellent customer service? Looking at the issue from your customer’s perspective. Put yourself in their shoes and think, “what would make me feel satisfied?” Let that guide the discussion with your customer and your decision making from there.
This is what we had to do when we changed our Pixie Dust & Profits Live program from an in person event in Florida to an online accelerator program. It’s not exactly what we had in mind when we set it up, but we pivoted. We adjusted and upgraded the experience so we could keep our customers safe, but still deliver what they wanted.
As a business owner, be prepared to be flexible and make sacrifices. No one loves giving refunds, but sometimes that’s your only option. Carve out some time to talk to your customers one-on-one to find a solution that works for the both of you. It’s worth maintaining that trust between you and your customers.
Be honest and communicate
We’ve really admired how Disney has been open and honest about what they’re doing in regards to the pandemic. They’ve done a good job of keeping everyone in the loop, letting us know what changes to expect and what the new experience will be like.
Honest communication is super important when your fans are spending a lot of money to travel, stay at, and visit the parks. Can you imagine arriving at Disney and then being surprised by all the changes?
You don’t have to be a giant corporation like Disney to adopt this attitude, too. Being honest and frequently updating your customers is essential for building trust with them. Even if you don’t have the answers to questions, simply letting them know that you’ll keep them in the loop is reassuring.
You can’t make everyone happy
Make necessary changes to keep your people safe. Provide great customer service. Keep communication frequent and honest. Even if you do all of these things, you still won’t be able to make all your customers happy. And that’s okay! You just have to do your best.
Some of your customers will understand the changes you have to make because of the pandemic and they’ll continue to support you. Others won’t, and that’s unfortunate. All you can do is remember that you tried your hardest. You can’t please everyone. (Do you really want a customer like that bringing you down anyway?)
We hope that this episode brought you up to speed on the changes you can expect at Disney, and inspired you to take charge of your small business. We’ll see you next time!