Choreographing the Customer Experience

by | Client Loyalty/Experience, Dance of Business, Leadership

Disneyworld has a customer experience story that illustrates how the customer experience is designed and choreographed like a dance – a memorable performance with staging, lighting, performers, music and a variety of other elements. The customer experience is the product of strategic thinking and execution as much as it is personal warmth.

The Disneyworld Story

The most remembered part of any experience is usually the last part of the experience. It sticks in your memory because it’s the most recent. When leaving Disneyworld after a long fun day, the kids are tired and starting to get cranky. The parents are worn out and the kids are starting to frazzle their nerves. The last part of today’s experience is going to be finding the car and leaving the parking lot. But there are a zillion parking lots and bezillion cars in each one. Sometimes we remember to look at the lot and zone numbers where we parked when we first entered and write down the numbers. But if we’re really excited to go on our first ride, we might have forgotten to write it down, or maybe we just lost the slip of paper.

Is it Disney’s problem that you don’t know where your car is?

In all fairness, no. But if Disney wants your last impression to be your best impression, they will anticipate your inadequacies and choreograph a work-around that delights you. And here’s how they do it. When you enter the park at the beginning of the day they steer you to a parking lot and a row that is filling up at that time, which is recorded. So when you’re leaving the park, all you have to know is the time when you entered and they can drive you to the exact spot in the exact lot where you parked your car. So they get the family loaded in a little golf cart and take you directly to your car.

What’s involved in solving this problem? Certainly listening to the customer, anticipating their needs, caring that their experience is a WOW experience, creativity to find a simple solution, having the tools to record the times different rows are filling up and golf carts to take people directly to their cars.

Who are the Disney staff that know this problem exists? The parking lot employees. They see it everyday. They hear the kids. They see the parents with shot nerves. Who are the best people to come up with a creative work around? They are – especially if they are part of a culture that empowers its people and encourages regular employees to show initiative and even make mistakes while they figure it out.

Choreographing the Dance

Here’s how different aspects of this metaphor match up to your business’ creation of the ideal customer experience.

  • Just like a choreographed dance has the choreographer’s ideas, a business needs a leader with vision, strategic thinking about profitability, and care for the customer.
  • In a dance there are performers and a cast of characters who co-create the roles with their own style and project with their own personalities.  A business’ employees do the same. They enhance and execute the vision of the ideal customer experience. They personalize the delivery and treat every customer as unique and valuable.
  • Lighting, music, set design, props, costumes and makeup create an environment for the performers to create their magic. The ideal customer experience also benefits from a planned and aesthetically pleasing environment that’s engaging and appealing. (includes branding, location décor, graphically pleasing website, etc.)
  • The sound system, lights and stage mechanics create the behind the scenes infrastructure just like a business needs technology systems to track customer information, orders, and parking lot entry times and golf carts (in the case of Disney).

Are you planning your customer’s experience with your organization? Are you choreographing it like a beautiful dance to delight and engage your clients? Are you committed to earning your client’s loyalty and reaping the benefits of more repeat business, more referrals, increased market share and higher profitability?

I invite you to tell a story of a well-planned customer experience that you either created or were delighted by. Thank you for all your ideas.

Jeri Quinn

Jeri Quinn from Driving Improved Results is an executive coach, management consultant, speaker and author who focuses on communication in her work with executives and companies. She is the author of The Customer Loyalty Playbook, 12 Game Strategies to Drive Improved Results in Your Business. With more than 40 years as a serial entrepreneur.

Quinn has worked with executives and teams in over 40 industries, spoken at major business expos including New York City’s Javits Center, facilitated business development and extraordinary customer service at institutions such as MoMA and AIG, and has partnered with New York City, The Kauffman Foundation, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, HSBC, and Signature Bank to educate their clients.


She can be reached at:

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