• Brittany Gardner

That Time Disney Dropped the Ball: What Really Goes Into a 5-Star Real Estate Experience

You know that delivering an unforgettable brand experience can create big results for your business. But entrusting your brand to (let’s be honest) anyone but yourself can be stress-inducing.


Here’s the thing though: Your people are actually the greatest asset you have when it comes to creating phenomenal customer experiences with your brand. You just have to give them the tools and processes to succeed — and then step back and empower them to take the reins when the metaphorical you-know-what hits the fan.


Sounds easy enough, right? But I’ve seen with my own eyes that even the biggest brands can’t avoid big hiccups, so you may as well be prepared.



Things go wrong, even at the “Happiest Place on Earth”

In the world of customer experience (often referred to as ‘CX’), the name “Disney” is synonymous with all-around excellence and impeccable attention to detail — something that can only rightly be described as ✨magic✨.


That’s why as a CX enthusiast, a mom, and a lifelong Disney fan myself, it was utterly devastating when they dropped the ball.


Can’t believe it? Neither could I.


Here’s how it all went down:


We’d planned a family vacation to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. We wanted to go all-out for the kids and give them the complete magical experience from sun-up to sundown, so we booked a room at one of the resorts on the Disney property. It was a bit of a splurge, but we knew it’d be worth it.


Everything was picture perfect as we entered the resort and got checked in. Our kids’ faces were glowing with anticipation, and honestly, even us grown ups were a bit giddy.


But everything changed as we started settling into our room at the resort, only to discover mold on the walls and a line of ants marching across the floor. 😬


The spell was broken


As a global brand, Disney goes above and beyond to deliver an unforgettable customer experience for millions of customers every day. They have data-driven processes, innovative strategies, and top-to-bottom training on being customer-centric. And usually, they absolutely nail it.


But this time, something in their systems and processes fell apart. Was it a fluke oversight? A rogue housekeeper sticking it to the Mouse? Or was there someone who noticed the problem, but felt powerless (or not accountable) to solve it?


I can’t say for sure. All I know is that as customers, our experience was tainted.


And if the “stuff” can hit the fan at Disney World of all places, it can happen to anyone, anywhere.


Empower your TC to proactively tackle client challenges


In the real estate industry, it’s easy to settle for a good-enough experience, because ‘good enough’ can close a few deals.


But if your goal is to reach beyond ‘good enough,’ you need your entire team — agents and “admins” alike — united around the goal of delivering the kind of real estate experience that your clients want.


Empowering your team includes everything from building great processes to consistently training on customer-centricity. It means giving them not just the tools, but the autonomy to tackle challenges when needed.


Then, when a problem arises (and trust me, it will!), you can be confident that your team has your back — and your brand.


Give ‘em the pickle: A peek at a Belmont Hotel-inspired CX


There’s a saying I learned as a college student working the front desk at our local hotel, The Belmont and it goes like this: Give ‘em the pickle.


At the Belmont, every member of the team knows this mantra. As the story goes, there was a man who owned an ice cream shop, and he was especially well-known for the large jar of free pickles he kept next to the till for any customer who wanted one.


Eventually, the shop came under new ownership. The pickle jar was such a legendary part of the store that the new owner couldn’t very well get rid of it — but he also didn’t like the idea of giving something away for free. So he started to charge customers for the pickles.


Long-time fans of the ice cream shop weren’t pleased with the change. As a result, the new owner lost some of the shop’s most valuable customers over a few pickles that would have cost him next to nothing.


For anyone on the outside, the solution is glaringly obvious: Just give ‘em the pickle.


It’s on you to deliver a premium client experience


As a hotel employee, I was taught and trained to uphold our star rating, to embody the “here, have a pickle” hospitality in every phrase and gesture. I was also empowered to literally “give our customers free pickles,” by way of sending things like champagne baskets, flowers, comped tickets, etc. — all the little touches that truly make up a 5-star experience.


But when it comes to delivering a stellar real estate experience, too many agents and brokers focus so hard on pinching pennies that they lose dollars in customer satisfaction, repeat business, and referrals. They worry too much about the cost of the pickle, and not enough about what those “extras” add up to: a delightful customer experience.


Make no mistake: A great customer experience isn’t a bonus. It’s absolutely central and essential to your business. And more often than not, it’s the little things that make all the difference, in this case a free pickle… or a line of ants.


It’s up to you to decide what kind of experience you want to create, how you want to prepare your team, and whether you’ll empower them to deliver an exceptional experience for your customers. And if you ever need help, Preclose has got your back.


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