Customers Rock!

A blog about customers, their experiences, and how businesses can make sure their customer experiences rock!

Customer learnings in the hot tub

Posted by Becky Carroll on November 8, 2007

hot-tub.jpg I regularly advocate spending time listening to your customers at the locations where they “hang out”.  In many cases, that would be in online forums or chat rooms, on Facebook or MySpace, or on blogs.  In the case of Disneyworld guests, it could be in the hot tub!

Recently, I stayed 4 nights at a Disney resort in Florida.  At the end of a long day, with feet aching, we headed to the hotel’s jacuzzi by the pool to soothe tired muscles for another day of theme park exploration.  What interesting conversations take place there!

We learned which theme park to visit early in the morning and where the crowds would be.  We learned which hotel restaurants to visit, and which ones not to (and why).  We learned about using the pools at other Disney hotels.  We learned about what other Disney guests liked and didn’t like about each park: rides, restaurants, shops, lines, shows – you name it, they discussed it.  We were definitely influenced by this unexpected word-of-mouth.

What valuable information that would all be for Disney!  Yes, we were surveyed at the park by a very nice lady, and of course, I answered the follow-up survey they sent me via email.  But I believe that Disney’s operations team would find the most open and honest information bubbling out of their guests if they went to any of the Disney resort hotels and listened in at the hot tubs.

Where do your “guests” congregate?  Are you taking advantage of those opportunities to hear candid feedback from them?  Tell me about the most interesting place you listen for customer feedback.  Jacuzzi, anyone?

(Photo credit: DarrenGree)

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6 Responses to “Customer learnings in the hot tub”

  1. Jeff said

    Hey Becky!

    This was a great post! Very inspiring and great to think about! To me, this would be a great business in itself – consulting firms on where to find their customers and how to interact with them. Thanks for the great post.

    jv

  2. Brandon said

    My family and I are big Disney fans, so this struck home with me and made me think about the surveys that we take in the park (we are annual passholders in California, and have taken a number of their surveys) and rarely do these surveys capture our true likes and dislikes. I really like the interaction that would take place at the places where customers hang out.

    Several examples come to mind. First, as we are a traveling family, we frequent sites that allow us as consumers to post our thoughts and reviews on a specific hotel, restaurant or other venue. If you are not familiar with these, try Trip Advisor and Epinions to start off with. These sites allow customers such as myself to congregate around the “virtual hot tub” and post our good and bad experiences. This type of feedback now allows myself and others to see what kind of experiences people have had – are the rooms clean, were the rides broken down, was the staff friendly. I have noticed that some companies monitor these boards and when there is an issue, they step in and respond, trying to contact the customer directly as well to remedy the issue.

    *Note – they can’t remove the post, but they can respond.

    Recently, I have noted a similar surge in reviews with sites such as Travelocity and other similar booking engines. In fact, Travelocity starts off with this introduction….Travelocity’s Traveler Reviews gives you the space to spread the love, warn fellow travelers, and get the scoop from others.

    Evidently, they are learning from their competition. While my work is providing internal support, my wife’s business is strictly online and as suchm she does frequent the discussion boards that are catering to her industry. This allows her to find out what trends, likes and dislikes are out there.

    For myself, we drop by and visit our customers in their native habitat – their office. While we also hold formal meetings with them, I find that visiting them where they work is as close to the “hot tub” as we can get – and it works! We have been invited to join in potlucks they they are having, been welcomed into meetings and otherwise learned things that don’t come up via just a survey.

    Great post, Becky and tahnks for stimulating the noggin!

  3. Planning for Great Customer Experiences

    Customer service ideas for the call center.

  4. [...] blinders. Could be the same holds true of our targeted blog community and readers.  Go to where your customers "hang-out". Join into a conversation with them – maybe one already underway – by becoming part of their [...]

  5. Spas said

    This is a great post. I can’t wait to apply this to our business.

  6. I’m pretty sure that Disney will take your survey into consideration. They needed that.

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