…how create the memorable experience that your customer will hold dear and carry for years to come.

After 146 years, the show that has created memories for countless children of all ages will finally come to a close. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, citing a “variety of factors” will end its spectacular traveling road show in May of this year.

Greatest Show on Earth is Still a Memory Maker

The company started by Phineas Taylor (PT) Barnum brought joy, amazement and wonder to millions of people through the years by providing sights, sounds and circumstances not normally available to the public.

Thinking back on the fond childhood memories, as I sat with my mother in the seats of New York’s Madison Square Garden watching the elephants parade around or looked up in wonder at the daredevil trapeze artists, I still can place myself in the arena. Images forever etched in our mind allow us to relive the experience as we see fit. PT created an experience.

And, if you do, what kind of experience is it?

Is it one of joy, satisfaction, or frustration? Is it full of unexpected “extras” given with an abundance of smiles or a less than adequate attempt of service due to poor preplanning? Do you provide a service that is memorable or spend too much time explaining your shortcomings?

The PT Barnums and Walt Disneys of this world created experiences that were/are unrivaled in the world of business. They took hold of your emotions and wouldn’t let go until all your senses were touched.

I can still recall the smell of the roasted peanuts and fresh popcorn as I walked through the halls of the “Garden”. Swirling lights, bright colored costumes and animals not seen in the streets of Brooklyn, my hometown, captured my attention and wouldn’t let go for hours.

The never ending smiles, laughter and wide-eyed looks from the children were well worth the price of admission. As a parent I remember taking my kids to the circus and basking in the joy knowing my kids were having the time of their lives. They were special moments.

At Disney World, where I spent my honeymoon, I was regularly gifted with unexpected extras and made to feel like a king…even though my bride was already a queen!

We stayed in one of the main suites of the Grand Floridian Hotel and the Disney team never failed to amaze.

Each day upon returning back to our room we were greeted by a gift of some sort. First day it was a large autographed photo portfolio of Mickey & Minnie Mouse standing in front of Cinderella’s Castle. Next day it was a bottle of champagne. The one surprise I enjoyed the most was a collection of 7 chocolate covered strawberries decorated in tuxedos (the seven dwarfs) joined by a figurine of Snow White all atop a round mirror. This continued throughout our entire stay.

How do you create a memory for your customers?

How do you prepare your employees to make sure they go above and beyond the expectations of the people that are the life blood of your business?

Because, that’s the key. Each and every customer that enters your door holds the future success of your business in their hand.

During new employee orientation sessions I would regularly ask the attendees, “Who pays you?” They would always answer, “The boss”. My next question would be “Does he pay you from his own pocket with his personal money?” “Well no, I guess he pays us from the money made by the customers when they buy our products” was the answer.

“Well, I continued, do you think that if the customers stop coming into our business and buying our products or service, he would still keep paying us?”

That’s when the light bulb went on in their minds…

I finished, The customer is the boss because if they stop coming in and spending their money we will soon be out of a job! The customer is “the boss”.

The goal of any business of course is to make money. But the only sure fire way to do this is by providing a buying experience second to none.

Provide the atmosphere your customers’ desire. Plan for the unexpected extra when possible. Do all you can to create the memorable experience that your customer will hold dear and carry for years to come.

Ringling Bros. and team were the first notable group to do this and thankfully Disney has carried this tradition on.

Who will be next? Will it be you?