Did you know that there is a 6th sense that is critical to achieving customer satisfaction and excellent relational service? In last week’s blog “Customer Experience Essentials – Utilizing the Five Senses” we covered the importance of utilizing Sight, Scent and Sound and how Disney uses each. This week, I want to briefly cover Taste and Touch and then expound on the always important and typically under represented Sixth Sense. we covered the importance of utilizing Sight, Scent and Sound and how Disney uses each. This week, I want to briefly cover Taste and Touch and then expound on the always important and typically under represented Sixth Sense.

With nearly 100 restaurants on Disney property, the sense of taste plays a large role in the Guest Experience. Especially at Epcot, variety is the order of the day. From the Biergarten in Germany to the Katsura Grill in Japan to the Nine Dragons Restaurant in China to to Restaurant Marrakesh in Morocco and even the Liberty Inn at the American Pavilion, taste is paramount. Never underestimate the appetite of American consumers – and the attention to detail they give in their opinions on food quality and quantity.

A new company called Intentional Chocolate is taking the notion of the edible Experience to an entirely new level. It is utilizing a concept of “embedding good intentions,” where there is a cerebral process of placing good thoughts and vibes into the ingredients before serving. According to the company’s double-blind test at the University of Wisconsin, the researchers tested the well-being of consumers after partaking of Intentional Chocolate versus other forms of chocolate – and it works! the Intentional Chocolate improved the overall mood of the consumers by more than 67 percent over the normal chocolate sample. Whether it is meditation, prayer, or just extra care when preparing and delivering a meal, there is a credible reason to concentrate on the intentions and the Impressions that go into the food and drink within the Experience deliverable.

Walt Disney World is designed around the sense of touch and feel, which is used to gather and to convey information. For instance, a handshake in our culture reveals a lot of information to another person. A limp handshake denotes reluctance or lack of confidence, whereas a strong grip signifies confidence or control. The feel of the room or environment is very important. It’s amazing what happens when the temperature of the movie theater, hotel room or restaurant is too high or too low; it really has the power to kill the Experience, doesn’t it?

Some call emotions the sixth sense. Emotions are powerful, as is the ability to positively influence the emotions of others. Advertisers and companies have long made an effort to capitalize on the emotions of consumers as they promote their products and services. Sir Richard Branson once said, “I’ve never been particularly food at numbers, but I think I’ve done a reasonable job with feelings. And I’m convinced that it is feelings – and feelings alone – that account for the success of the Virgin Brand in all of its myriad forms.” Emotions evoke memories, and memories influence action – often to repeat the past, thus creating loyalty and an affinity for specific brands and services.

here are four emotion driven chemicals released by the human brain that can bring about action through an ExperienceL endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. Endorphins provide physical drive and endurance, while dopamine helps us achieve our goals and makes sure we get things done. Serotonin gives us pride and self-confidence, and oxytocin is the chemical behind love and acts of kindness.

  1. Driving the Experience toward the release of endorphins is created by excitement and the thrill of the hunt. Disney does this by creating anticipation throughout its parks and their presentations – and even while you stand in line.
  2. Driving the Experience toward the release of dopamine is created by generating a feeling of accomplishment and pride through specific results.  Some visitors experience this feeling of accomplishment simply by making it to one of their destinations. The immediate impressions upon entrance are overwhelmingly positive. Disney also makes a habit of special rewards like Club 33 for Disney VIPs, the Vacation Clubs, and the myriad of other opportunities to feel as if you have earned something extraordinary.
  3. Driving the Experience toward the release of serotonin is created by special recognition and approval. Disney does this by making everyone feel like a guest and as if he or she was important – and by making guests feel as if they are a part of the show, for example, by going as far as to include them in a performance or by taking action photos of the during the Experience.
  4. Driving the Experience toward the release of oxytocin is created by fostering a sense of love and belonging, community, and communication in the employee and customer base. Disney does this by creating such a memorable Experience that people feel compelled to become Ambassadors just to share and compare their Experience with others. Disney is not just a destination; it’s a community.

(The above information is an excerpt from The Experience: The 5 Principles of Disney Service and Relationship Excellence.)


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