The Three Lessons From Disney That You Can Practically Apply To Your Private Practice Hearing Care Clinic

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I recently took my six-year-old to the European branch of Disneyland (in Paris).

It was my first Disney experience; and in truth, I had no idea what to expect. Yet minutes after walking in, I quickly discovered that it’s absolutely incredible.

Dare I say, even magical.

The effort that had gone into the “experience” was unlike any other business or situation that I had ever encountered, and I found myself in awe of how they have manufactured such a customer-focused experience.

The entire experience resulted in me being physically, mentally, and financially ruined … but I can justify it.

That’s because, whereas most people just soak up the magic, I found myself frantically Googling and trying to learn HOW they had created such an incredible experience…and more notably, which lessons we can swipe and apply to our clinics.

Overall, there were three stand-out lessons that I took away that I believe could be practically applied to your private practice clinic.

In this article, I’m going to share them with you as well as the details of what and how you can apply them to your clinic.

Let’s jump in…


#1 – How They Train Their Staff How To THINK

Disney has thousands of members of staff, or “Cast Members” as they call them.

Yet each and every member of staff that I came across was absolutely flawless, and it seemed they were all 100% bought-in to the Disney culture and knew exactly what to do and what to say in every possible situation.

Their staff hadn’t been taught what to do; they had been taught how to think.

Now, you and I know that this is difficult to achieve with just a few people, never mind trying to scale this over thousands of people, and I found myself wondering HOW they achieve this.

So, I did some research to understand how they trained their staff to deal with every possible situation and stay authentic to the Disney ethos.

What I learned was that Disney uses a simple four-word Priorities filter process, which allows any cast member in any situation to take the right action in real-time without needing the help/support of a manager.

The four-word filter, in prioritized order, is:

  1. Safety – protect everyone from needless danger and injury
  2. Courtesy – be welcoming, respectful, and kind to everyone
  3. Show – create an immersive environment, free from distractions, that communicates happiness
  4. Efficiency – completing tasks with minimal waste, expense, and effort

This means that in any situation, a cast member can use this four-word filter to make quick decisions, with safety trumping courtesy, courtesy trumping show, and show trumping efficiency.

For example, if somebody is in character and focused on delivering “Show,” but there is an immediate safety concern, then they can break character, as “Safety” is prioritized.

I find this simple structure fascinating.

The question is: How could you apply this to your clinic to empower your staff to make decisions for themselves without having to consult you or pull you into situations that you shouldn’t be involved in?


#2 – The Small Compounding Details

Disney understands that the small insignificant details compound to create incredible experiences.

From the background noises they pump through their speakers to the scents they squirt in the air, to the little tiny touches that 95% of people won’t notice – they put real effort into all the tiny details.

An example of this for me was in their Wild West section, where some restrooms that were inside a shop (that hardly any people were using) went to the same effort of Wild West theming as the main strip that everybody was walking down.

All the little details are obsessed over.

I believe this is a huge lesson that we can all apply for little to no expense.

Here are some examples that you could use:

  • Could you reserve a parking space for a new patient at the front of your office? Could it have their name written on the space to create a little moment of magic and make them feel special?
  • When a new patient walks into your office, could you greet them by their first name? Given you know who is scheduled to walk in at any moment, welcoming Mr. Smith as soon as he enters would be an amazing yet small way to make him feel super welcome.
  • Could you remember preferences? For example, when you offer Mr. Smith a drink at his first appointment, could you take note of his preferences and ensure it’s prepared for his next visit? If he likes coffee with sugar and a dash of milk, then hey, presto! You can show him just how much you take note of the details.
  • What do your patients look at when they’re sat in your waiting room? What is on the walls, what is on the screen, and what music is in the background? These small touches create experience.
  • When they walk through your office to a testing room, what do they see on the walls? Could you have patient testimonials framed, could you have patient thank you cards on the walls, or could you have any form of evidence that they’re in the right place?

With all of these, the majority may not notice every single detail – but the compounding impact creates a magical and memorable experience that they will share with others.


#3 – “Show” Above Practicality

Disney is all about performance.

The street cleaners are playing a part, the store workers are putting on a performance, and it creates an experience that makes you feel like you’re part of a Disney movie.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you dress your front desk staff up as Snow White, or you put a poisoned apple in your fruit bowl, but there are opportunities to create “Show.”

I’ll share some examples of other industries that have done this to give you more context.

Uber is a prime example. One of the smartest things that Uber implemented was the ability to track where your driver is ahead of them picking you up.

This feature doesn’t speed up the time it would have taken for them to collect you if you were not tracking them, but having visibility gives you some form of sense of control, it minimizes stress/anxiety of not knowing where they are and thinking they have forgotten about you, and it creates reassurance.

It’s a “show.”

This is even truer when it comes to traveling on a plane.

For engineers to create planes that go twice as fast (to halve journey time) is both dangerous and very difficult, yet making the journey twice as enjoyable is very much achievable.

It’s focusing on the “show” elements that make the customer feel better about the experience and that don’t actually change your core deliverables.

If we consider what you can do within your clinic to create more of a “show,” then we need to consider what the patient journey looks like and the touches we can build in to add some drama/experience.

For example…

  • Could the lighting in the room change when you are conducting hearing evaluations? When a patient enters a sound booth, could a button be flicked that changes the mood lighting to make it feel like more of an experience? This won’t impact any of your deliverables but creates a different mood in the room.
  • When you’re doing an earwax removal, could we make it feel more specialist by having the patient wear some form of branded gown similar to what they would wear at the hairdressers? Once again, it’s probably not needed – but it creates a “show.”
  • When a patient requires a cleaning or a repair, could you give them an app that allows them to track the progress in the same way that Domino’s Pizza shares the progress of the pizza cooking process?
  • Could your staff be notified with a camera when a patient is approaching your building so they can rush to the door to welcome them properly and hold the door for them?

Hopefully, this makes sense.

All of these touches are all focused on “show” and often have no real practical meaning behind them, but it creates an enhanced experience for the patient. 


Final Observations

I strongly encourage you to always have your eyes open at how other businesses in other industries do certain things, and swipe the key lessons.

Dare I say, book that room at the Ritz Carlton and go to that fancy restaurant; the lessons that you can take and apply to your clinic can make huge differences.

We’ve explored a lot of territory in this article, and you may feel overwhelmed at what to do and how to do it.

First of all, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to read my article that shares my ultimate productivity hack for private practice clinic owners.

Secondly, I encourage you to solely focus on the one big standout action from this article and not worry about anything else. Implement that, and then move on.

I’m excited to see what magic you can make happen.

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