Perfecting the Customer Experience is a unique, three day benchmarking program held twice a year in Anaheim California. The workshop provides open enrollment participants serious business lessons in a fun, immersive environment.

Your facilitators, Jeff Kober and Ted Topping are your hosts in this intense, small group program that allows participants to see the business behind the wonder of Disney.

Participants walk away with new ideas for taking their organization, whether in the public, private, or non-profit sector, to new heights.

Jeff Kober views business from a Disney background. Ted Topping views Disney from a business background. Together they will help you experience both from the crucial perspective of your customer.

Formerly a leader with the Disney Institute, Jeff Kober, president of Performance Journeys, has authored several books and apps on building strong brands and developing high performing cultures.

Ted Topping is president of Creative Insights, a service-design consulting firm in Vancouver. Known globally for his work in retail, he is author of the best-selling book Start and Run a Retail Business and numerous magazine articles.

As authors, speakers, and consultants, both Jeff and Ted work with organizations to create sustained results in a consumer-facing business.

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FROM: Perfecting the Customer Experience A Disney Dispatch Feature

What Meanest "The Backside of Water"?

Everyone knows about the backside of water on the Jungle Cruise. It's an integral part of every skipper's script, and it's still good for a chuckle. For Walt, though, perfecting the back side as well as the front side was serious business.

To Disney fans, and especially Jungle Cruise enthusiasts, the expression "The Backside of Water" holds a very unique image in their minds.

Model of the Jungle Cruise showing the general layout of the attraction

The backside of Schweitzer Falls: a nearly tangible, tactile experience

Carousel horse at the Magic Kingdom: details are always found on the outside

Backside of the same horse. Owners cared little for what was on the back

Detail (front) shows intricacies of the carving and amount of painted detail

Detail (back) shows the lack of gems and other trimmings

Further toward the center of the carousel, the detail becomes minimized

Stained glass in Storybook Land: Walt squelched less by saying, "I can see it."

The original Jungle Cruise attraction at Disneyland featured Schweitzer Falls, a tribute to African missionary Dr. Albert Schweitzer - or as many a Jungle Cruise skipper has poked fun at it, "a tribute to Dr. Falls".

Schweitzer Falls has been a focal point of the Jungle Cruise since the ride was constructed in 1955. And the Jungle Cruise was, and in many ways still is, one of the most important attractions at Disneyland. It was important that it be as exciting and dramatic as possible.

The falls in many ways was a focal point, first seen as your boat swings around to avoid it, and then again later as your boat motors behind it. The sensation of going behind the falls has long been a nearly tangible, tactile experience. In fact, it was so successful, that the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland later created a similar experience through the falls of Cascade Peak.

The effect has been replicated in the Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World and at Tokyo Disneyland. You can even find a reference to it in Port Orleans in Disney's Dixie Landings Resort.

But what does it really mean? The answer may very well be found by visiting Prince Charming Regal Carousel in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Many Guests don't know that the carousel is the Magic Kingdom's oldest attraction, made by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company back in 1917.

While the carousel is very ornate with its original carved horses, the details are always found on the outside. A carnival owner making such a purchase would want the horses to be handsomely crafted to attract potential riders. But they cared little for what was on the back.

Take a look at the accompanying images of the horses. Notice the difference in the amount and quality of trim from the outside of the horse as compared to the inside. Most of the attention is paid to the outside. From the intricacies of the carving itself to the amount of painted detail - and even the use of gems and other trimmings - there is a difference between the front side and the back side.

Even as you proceed to horses further toward the center of the carousel, the detail becomes minimized.

Put the detail on the front side. This was the sentiment of carnival owners when Walt Disney dreamed of building a park in the orange groves of Anaheim. Walt understood the importance of a "weenie at the end of the stick" as a means of attracting people to what lay ahead. But he also understood that the weenie itself had to be of some worth.

When creating tiny stained glass windows in Pinocchio's village to be added to the Storybook Land Canal Boats, an artist suggested using a lesser material than actual stained glass. After all "the Guests can't see it." Walt squelched that by saying "I can see it."

Such is the backside of water. You can see it. You can practically touch it. And while water really looks the same way on one side as it does on the other, Walt and every Jungle Cruise skipper ever since has made something that was "no big thing" into a "real big thing."

Ask yourself:

  • What is the "backside of water" in your own business?
  • What is the extra touch you can bring to what is otherwise unexpected?
  • How do we seek to wow those who have been loyal and faithful to our products and services?

If you enjoy this story, and you think that its application is right for your business, then you definitely should join us for Perfecting the Customer Experience, being held on September 27-29, 2011 in Anaheim, CA. We take the heritage, themes and stories of Disney, along with proven tools and concepts, and our own real-world experience working with companies like yours, and help you to apply them back home. Visit us at PerformanceJourneys or at TedTopping to learn more, or call us today at 407-973-3219.

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