Best Practices

What Can Walt Disney Teach Us About a Magical Customer Experience?

Walt Disney undoubtedly set the gold standard for creating a magical guest experience. Here's how you can channel Walt to create magic in your pharmacy.

When it comes to providing a magical customer experience, there are few who can hold a candle to Walt Disney. In fact, one could argue that Walt set the gold standard for quality service. 

This is evidenced none better than by Walt's beloved Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. To this day, it remains one of the highest attended amusement parks in the world (second only to the park it inspired, Magic Kingdom) and is widely regarded as the pinnacle of Walt's entire career. 

Disneyland didn't earn the title of "Happiest Place on Earth" by chance. Its longstanding success is firmly rooted in Walt's dedication to perfecting the customer experience, and there's a lot we can learn from him in this respect. Here's how you can apply some of Walt's most important principles to create magic in your pharmacy.

Create "Magic" in Every Customer Experience

Walt Disney once said that of all the things he's accomplished, the most vital is coordinating those who work with him and aiming their efforts at a certain goal. And for Walt, that goal was to create a consistently magical experience for his park guests. But how does one accomplish this? Well, Walt knew better than anyone that the devil (or, in this case, the magic) was truly in the details. Specifically, in the internal processes that keep Disneyland running like a well-oiled magical machine. He also knew that empowering his employees was essential to reaching his goal.

Perfecting your internal processes is the first step toward creating magic in every customer experience. And we don't just mean the ones that center around customer interaction. You could have the friendliest pharmacy team on the planet and still fall short of creating magic if your other processes are clunky and inefficient. Luckily, there are many solutions available today that can help you keep your pharmacy chugging along as cheerily and efficiently as the Disneyland Railroad. From inventory management, will call management, home delivery, customer loyalty and more, an RMS system can provide you with the tools you need to perfect your internal processes and give your customers a consistently magical experience.

Empowering his employees to create a magical guest experience was extremely important to Walt, and nothing exemplifies this better than what is often referred to as "Disney magical moments". These are the random acts of kindness that Disney Cast Members are encouraged to perform at their discretion to ensure guests have a truly magical experience when visiting Disney parks. You can replicate this in your pharmacy by giving your staff the autonomy to go above and beyond for your customers. While it's essential that you set clear parameters so your staff understands how far this autonomy carries, it's also important for you to have confidence in their decision-making. Sometimes, a little "faith, trust and pixie dust" can make all the difference.    

Make Your Pharmacy a "Magical" Destination

Walt's vision for Disneyland was largely inspired by the cleanliness and layout of Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark. With meticulously manicured gardens, beautiful scenery and fun for all ages, stepping inside Tivoli is like being transported to another world. Walt set out to replicate this with Disneyland. 

Now, we know your pharmacy is not an amusement park. You don't need to start building a fairytale castle at checkout, a rollercoaster over your front end or a Danish garden out front. The key takeaways here are actually pretty simple: Keep it clean, keep it appealing, and keep it functional. 

Keep It Clean

There's a reason you rarely see trash around Disney parks. There is a famous Disney legend that goes something like this: Walt purchased a hotdog at Disneyland one day, and after finishing it in about 30 steps he declared, "There needs to be a trash can here." Thus, the 30-step rule for trash cans in Disney parks was initiated.

This method is obviously more useful on a large scale, but the methodology is still applicable even in smaller pharmacies. The more convenient you make it for yourself and your customers to keep the store clean, the cleaner it so shall be. As discussed above, the first step to creating consistency is by first perfecting your processes. What works best for your pharmacy may require some trial and error, but we're confident you'll find a cleanliness strategy that leaves your customers wondering if they're actually at Disneyland.

Keep It Appealing

While cleanliness is arguably the first step to creating an appealing pharmacy atmosphere, the next step is to design your space to be engaging and meaningful for your target audience.

For Walt, this meant a fun and immersive experience for people of all ages. And this is not far off from what you should strive for in your pharmacy, especially if you have a large and diverse front end. You can watch this video for a more in-depth look at how to cultivate an appealing design within your pharmacy, but the gist is fairly straightforward. Be consistent in your theming, utilize attractive and eye-catching displays, and keep your product selection and messaging on-brand for the audience you are looking to attract. If there's one place you should be investing in (aside from your point-of-sale system, of course!), it's the elements that contribute to your pharmacy's overall aesthetic.    

Keep It Functional

At the heart of every truly desirable destination is a strategic and highly functional layout. There is no greater example of this than Disneyland's iconic "hub and spoke" design, which became the blueprint for nearly every Disney park that exists today.

Although Walt did not invent this concept himself, he did execute it quite brilliantly. While Disneyland was the first Disney park to feature this layout, it is perhaps even more expertly imagined at its larger sister park, Magic Kingdom. Guests are drawn excitedly down Main Street USA by an unobstructed view of Cinderella Castle into the park's central "hub", from which the "spokes" that serve as main pathways to all of Magic Kingdom's various lands extend. This layout not only makes navigating the park crazy-easy for guests, but it also does a fabulous job at managing crowd levels.  

While you probably don't have a theme park-sized footprint to work with, there are still many ways you can mirror the functionality of this layout in your pharmacy. Clear sightlines to eye-catching displays draw customers in, while unobstructed pathways between clearly defined sections make it easy for customers to navigate your store without crowding one another. Functionality is truly in the eye of the customer, so be sure to keep them at the forefront when designing your pharmacy's ideal layout.

People > Profit = Pure Magic

Lastly, a truly magical customer experience is rarely achieved without placing a greater importance on the people you serve than the profits they generate. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with generating higher profits. In fact, we're big fans of that here at RMS, as it's something we strive to help you accomplish with your RMS system. However, what we're not big fans of is sacrificing customer satisfaction for those higher profits. If you're hearing grumblings from your customers about feeling overshadowed by your big money goals, it might be time to scale it back and re-center your efforts.

A cautionary example of this can be found in Disney's Genie+ service at Walt Disney World Resort, which likely has poor Walt turning over in his grave (the term "nickel and diming" comes to mind...). Let's just say that there's a reason they will be revamping it and re-launching a better, more customer-centric version in 2024.

How do you create "magic" for your customers? Let us know in the comments below!

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