Updates from Subsplash

As you've probably noticed, Subsplash.com is brand stinkin' new! We spent a lot of time crafting and designing this site to tell the Subsplash story well, and we hope you enjoy it! Some noteworthy things you should check out are: the Cloud, Apps, Web Player, and Podcast pages,  new layout and artwork (courtesy of our awesome design team), and the company page! 

We've been having an exciting (and sunny!) summer here at Subsplash, and launching our new website has been one of the bigger pieces. We can't wait to share some new product releases and updates to the Platform with you! Stay posted, we've got a lot to share! 

Thanks for being awesome,

Krissy

Does Your School Have an App?

In today’s world, mobile and tablet use is rapidly growing and becoming more integrated into our everyday lives.  With over 6 billion mobile phones worldwide, 195 million tablets sold in 2013, and “nomophobia”- the fear of being without a mobile device- being a common occurrence in today’s culture, this growth is no surprise.

So what does this mean for today’s schools and educational communities?  Let’s break it down:

- 67% of college students’ smartphones and tablets are being used for academic purposes (a rate that has nearly doubled in one year)

- Mobile applications and tablet computing will have a time-to-adoption of one year or less in higher education (New Media Consortium 2013 Horizon Report)

- 51% of households with 3-15 year olds have a tablet computer

- 42% of children aged 5-15 are using a tablet at home

- According to a 2013 Survey done by Grunwald Associates:

- More than half of K-12 parents surveyed believe schools should make greater use of mobile devices

- 45% of parents said they had already purchased or will purchase a mobile device to support their children’s education

As we see the value of mobile and tablet devices becoming a more powerful communication tool in our culture, schools have an amazing opportunity to use these platforms to create stronger relationships and engagement within their communities.

In the 2013 CIO Review Education Technology special, John Hermes, Vice President of Information Technology at Oklahoma Christian University comments, “I think the most important thing we are trying to do is maintain a conduit of communication with our constituents. Having a mobile app presence has become just as important to us as having a website- and, you could argue, maybe even more important.”

Here at Subsplash, we are here to help.

With the Subsplash Platform, schools are able to strengthen their communication lines with their community through beautiful customized apps. From elementary schools to universities, our Platform offers a way to keep all members of the academic community in the loop.  With features that allow schools to share news, promote events, send push notifications and alerts, and stream audio and video content, schools are able to connect with students, parents, alumni, and prospective students in their context, on their time.

After speaking with Sam Totman, Director of External Relations at Anderson University College of Christian Studies, it was great to hear how the Subsplash Platform has been strengthening connections between the school and current students, as well as the school and prospective students. When asked what he saw as the most valuable purpose of having an app at Anderson University, Sam responded, “In today’s age, it’s so great to have an app as a resource that is relevant to the current generation.”

“Students love using the ‘Programs’ and ‘Courses’ tabs.  The ability to see all of the available courses and descriptions in one place makes the registration process a lot easier for them,” he commented. “Students also like the ability to connect with staff via the app.  The Staff Directory tab helps them easily find their contact information and creates a more open line of communication.”

Sam also commented on how having an app acts as a great marketing tool when attending conferences to attract prospective students.  “It makes us look so much better to potential students when we are able to present an app and encourage them to download it as a tool to learn more about the University.”

In addition to the ability to access staff directories and course options, schools also have the opportunity to engage students through features like a school calendar of events, event sign-up, sports news and scheduling information, blog tabs, campus maps and locations, bulletins, library hours and contact information, streaming video and audio lectures, as well as enabling students to share information through social media, email, and text messages.

Benefits of having an app for your school far surpass the student community.  The Subsplash Platform allows schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels to strengthen their connections and relationships with parents as well. With push notifications and news updates, schools are able to send alerts, weather conditions, safety notifications, event reminders, volunteer opportunities, and much more to keep parents informed.  By allowing for pertinent information to be all in one place, schools have the potential to foster strong and trusting relationships between themselves and parents for a more engaged and aware academic community.

While our apps can host various information and resources, the Subsplash Platform allows for an organized, smooth navigation for users, allowing a convenient experience for staff, students, prospective students, parents, and alumni to engage and stay connected. Has your school explored the value that a mobile app can bring? We’d love to connect.

Android Tablet on the Subsplash App Platform

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Introducing Android Tablet to the Subsplash Platform. Last year, Android tablet accounted for 61% of all tablet sales. And today, there’s a tablet in nearly 2/3rds of every US household. There are more ways to engage people today than ever before, and tablets have become a preferred avenue for experiencing media. With that in mind, we’ve thoughtfully spent the last year developing a rich and intuitive experience on Android tablet. Every detail in our apps are crafted with the end user in mind. From incredibly fast speeds, visually stunning media delivery, and a new robust sharing experience tailored to each unique user and their desired sharing outlets.

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Android Tablet on the Subsplash Platform:

+ Available on a plethora of devices including: Nexus 7, Nexus 10, Samsung Note, Samsung Note, Samsung Galaxy and many more. + We wanted to build something that displayed media beautifully. Leveraging the capabilities of the Android Tablet UX, your media experience has never been better. + Video experience improvements. + Audio experience improvements. + Updated Now Playing experience. + Your large high res artwork looks brilliant within the app. + We've revamped the download experience. Managing and viewing your downloads is simple and intuitive. + Our improved sharing experience is delightful! Your audio and video content can now be shared from more places within the app than ever before, and to all of your social networks.

Available for download in the Google Play Store.

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Are you ready to go mobile? With the Subsplash platform, you can now offer your own customized app on iPhone, iPad, Android Phone, Windows Phone, and Android Tablet. Sign up for the Subsplash Platform today.

Already one of our wonderful clients? Upgrade to add Android Tablet to your suite of apps today.

Humility and Innovation

Our founder and CEO Tim Turner was recently featured in an article by C3 leaders,  a local ministry centered on Christ in commerce. The focus of this short article was to highlight the driving force behind our work here at Subsplash. A special thanks to the whole team at C3! You can read the whole article here: http://www.c3leaders.com/humility-and-innovation-at-subsplash/

 

 

Updates to Android on the Subsplash Platform

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We've been updating the Android app experience on the Subsplash Platform so that your app will look brilliant! It will be optimized for Android KitKat and the new larger phones like the Galaxy S4, HTC Hero, and the Google Nexus 5! We are in the process of submitting updates to the Google Play Store so keep your eyes peeled for the update to hit! Here are some of the delightful new changes you can expect:

- New design for main navigation that now includes swiping from tab to tab.

- New & improved video experience that’s clean and elegant. When using video, rotate your device to landscape and it will automatically make your video go full screen.

- More intuitive and delightful (not to mention Android-friendly) audio and video sharing!

- We have redesigned the audio experience from the ground up.  Not only do the Now Playing, Downloads and Playlist views look more beautiful than ever, we made behind-the-scenes changes to improve performance and usability.

- Your audio and video content can now be shared from more places within the app than ever before, and to all of your social networks (that's right, even Pinterest!).  Not only that, but the sharing experience will feel intuitive and elegant - like an Android app should!

- User interface improvements for the latest versions of Android including: Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, and KitKat.

- It’s faster, more stable, and more responsive than ever!

- Optimized for small and large phone screen sizes: mdpi, ldpi, hdpi, xhdpi, and xxhdpi.

- Oh yea, we squashed a bunch of bugs too!

With the plethora of Android devices out there, and the many variables to consider, our goal is to make the user experience as consistent and clean as possible, and that's exactly what we've been working on!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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We have so much to be thankful for here at Subsplash! We're thankful for our clients, an amazing team, and all that God has allowed us to do in getting Gospel content into the hands of millions. We hope you have an amazing day with your friends and family, not to mention enjoying some amazing food!

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We had a Thanksgiving party ourselves and it was awesome. The whole team brought in a dish to share, from mashed potato casseroles and turkey, to homemade desserts and cranberry sauce.

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 What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? Do you share what you're thankful for in a group? Is there a dish your grandmother makes every year? We'd love to hear it!

Subsplash Fall Party!

We had a party this week as an excuse to spend some time together as a group, and to eat lots of candy! From a spooky photo booth, to a ton of pizza, a horse mask, several rounds of Jousting, to just enjoying time with family and friends, it was a great day.

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Tiny Darth Vader was very intimidating!

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What a sweet family!

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Gathered around waiting for the pizza to arrive!

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Shh! This is a library!

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Just your average cowboy/horse duo.

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The Mad Hatter was one of the best costumes of the day.

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Stopping by the 'library' for some candy!

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The cutest sisters around!

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The finance team was all smiles!

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We played a few friendly games of Joust. 

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Quite a few cats showed up for the party!

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Most of the team! 

Happy Halloween!

Love, Subsplash

All Things Apple

"Apple has worked some behind-the-scenes magic with its latest and greatest, and made some design changes for the better, too, all of which adds up to a new smartphone market king."

We’ve got Apple on the brain. Two new iPhones were revealed last week by Apple and we all upgraded our phones to iOS 7 on Wednesday. We thought we would share some of our favorite features.

iPhone 5C

The iPhone 5C is brand new territory for the software giant. Steve Jobs may scoff about offering a lower price point (discount) product, but there is nothing cheap about this phone (not even the price). With almost identical hardware to the iPhone 5, Apple believes this phone has the perfect combination of features and hardware to do extremely well in international and developing markets. Available in 5 different colors, the iPhone 5C is a really powerful phone that won't hurt your wallet. So what's included?

  • A6 chip.

  • 8MP iSight camera.

  • 4-inch Retina display.

  • Ultrafast LTE wireless.

  • iPhone 5c has the things that made iPhone 5 an amazing phone, all in a completely new design that feels great in your hand.

  • The 8MP iSight camera delivers startlingly sharp photo quality thanks to features like a sophisticated five‑element lens. And panorama, which lets you get stunning high‑resolution shots.

  • Starting Price: $99 w/ 2 year contract.

iPhone 5S

The iPhone 5S is arguably the fastest smartphone on the market. With a slew of new impressive features, and not to mention the glamorous hardware, Apple is attempting to raise the bar with their latest release. So, what's so special about the 5s?

  • Fingerprint sensor

  • A7 chip with 64-bit architecture gives you CPU and graphics performance up to 2x faster than the A6 chip.

  • iSight camera with 8MP, 33% more light sensitivity, pixels measuring 1.5 microns, and a larger f/2.2 aperture.

  • Ultrafast LTE wireless.

  • Beautiful aluminum housing, sleek metal and glass, sapphire crystal Home button and camera.

  • M7 coprocessor is  designed specifically to measure motion data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass.

  • Starting Price: $199 w/ 2 year contract and comes in Gold, Silver, and Space Gray.

iOS 7

We wrote a feature previously on iOS 7 immediately following the initial annoucement. While we had some skepticism with the design of the OS, actively using iOS 7 has been quite the treat for me personally, although others in the office have offered varying opinions. I have been getting a kick out of using my iPhone, albeit there is always a bit of a learning curve with a new OS.

  • Messaging is sharper, cleaner, and finally gives specific times that messages were sent and received.

  • Camera has many more options and features.

  • Photos are organized much more efficiently. Makes you wonder why they weren't always that way?

  • I have really appreciated the flat and simple design, however, the colors still aren't my favorite.

  • Multitasking is totally revamped and a much better experience.

What do you think?

How do you feel about the new iPhone 5C and 5S? Were you expecting something more revolutionary? What are your favorite new features of iOS 7? We would love to hear from you!

Windows Phone on the Subsplash App Platform!

Check out Windows Phone on The Church App Platform here.

Here's the skinny on why we're excited about Windows Phone: - Adding Windows Phone to complement iOS and Android allows you to cover 99% of today's smartphone market.

- Windows Phone is projected to represent 10-20% of smartphone sales by the end of 2014.

- Adding Windows Phone to your suite of apps is easy! It instantly integrates with your content, and you don't have to do any extra work!

-Windows Phone is now 1/3 size of iOS globally.

-8.7 million Windows Phone devices were sold in Q2 of 2013.

Client Spotlight: Grace Christian School

How do you keep busy parents up to date on everything that's happening at their children's schools? For Grace Christian School, a private K-12 school in Alaska, the answer was simple: with an app!

"The app is simply a great connection tool," explains Shannon Dow, the school's Publications Coordinator. The Grace Christian School app includes school announcements, calendars, lunch schedules, blog entries, forms and other tools for parents.

In addition to schools, Subsplash powers apps for radio stations, businesses and a broad variety of organizations. "Our platform is incredibly versatile and can accommodate a wide range of needs," says Chris Sharpe, Director of Marketing at Subsplash.

Dow and her team first became acquainted with Subsplash when a local church created an app with Subsplash. "We knew we wanted an app as a tool for our families.  We wanted to be up-to-date and put all the information they needed right in the palm of their hands in a very accessible way," says Dow.

In addition to providing parents with all the information they need in one consolidated place, Dow notes that the app also provides a connection point for parents who don't use social media. "Not everybody is into Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  So when they don't have an account for one of those social media sites, they usually don't get to see the content we are sharing there," Dow explains. "The app bridges this gap for us."

With close to 1,000 downloads, Dow and her team are thrilled with the app. "We saw the download numbers grow quickly.  It was exciting to see our vision play out and to know that we were giving our families the connection point they had been looking for."

Dow plans to continue to expand the app's offerings. This school year, she plans to add weekly chapel sermons so that parents can listen to the messages and discuss them with their kids. "It's all about connecting," says Dow.  "Connecting our parents to the information they need, as well as giving them an opportunity to connect more deeply with their kids about what is going on during their day, and ultimately it makes them feel more connected to the school," she explains.

If you're interested in creating an app for your school or organization, contact us!

 Download the Grace Christian School app here.

Happy 5th birthday to the Apple App Store!

Happy 5th birthday App Store! What an incredible five years it has been. The App Store has completely changed the software industry, and paved the way for developers to be able to publish apps and content directly to end users. There's an app for just about everything these days, and most of these are readily accessible to anyone, spare some specialty apps with hefty price tags. But it wasn't always this way. From its humble beginnings in 2008, the App Store has grown from 500 apps to more than 900,000 at your fingertips today.

The App Store has the world’s largest collection of mobile apps. With over 50,000,000,000 downloads, it is safe to say that just about everyone is downloading apps. In fact, that breaks down to about 800 apps downloaded per second. As of June 10, more than $10 Billion has been paid to developers through the App Store - talk about boosting the economy! The App Store has paid more money to developers than the combined GDP of both Haiti and Fiji. Not only is the App Store's growth incredibly successful by itself, but when you take into consideration that Google Play, Amazon Appstore, Windows Phone Store, and the Blackberry World store all followed suit behind the App Store, Apple's reach and contributions with the App Store is that much more impressive.

Because of the App Store, we do things differently now. For example, if you hear a song playing and you are curious what band it is, just use Shazam to find out. How cool is that? Or, if you are waiting at a bus stop, why not play Angry Birds? Ok, maybe that's played its course, but you get the picture. An app that has made a big difference in my day to day is the Starbucks App. With the swipe of my trusted iPhone sidekick, not only is my coffee paid for, but the juggling game of finding my wallet in the black hole that is my purse is eliminated. There is so much to be said for convenience.

While the three apps I mentioned are certainly not necessities, there are plenty of apps out there that are making a difference. Apps utilizing The Church App platform have gotten over 6,000,000 downloads (across 3 app stores). That's 6 million downloads helping to share Jesus' name. Very recently, our friends at You Version announced that their Bible App has been downloaded 100 million times. Isn't that incredible?

Apple is doing a bit of celebrating in honor of the App Store birthday too, and giving away several apps that are usually paid. "It's been a remarkably prolific five years for the App Store. To celebrate, we're giving everyone five landmark games and five groundbreaking apps for a limited time." Not only that, but they've got a nice little timeline that breaks down "the key moments that have made the App Store the world's most innovative destination for apps."

Has the app store changed your day to day life?

Is iOS 7 Innovative?

All the buzz in the tech world so far this week has been heavily occupied by Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference that took place Monday morning in San Francisco. In usual Apple fashion, they put on a pretty good show and had some shiny new stuff to present. The headliners of the keynote were iOS 7, iWork for iCloud, OS X Mavericks, iTunes radio, new Macbook Air, and a sneak peak at the completely redesigned Mac Pro. Seeing that our bread and butter is mobile, I am going to focus on iOS 7.

Perhaps the most drastic update since the original iPhone OS release, iOS 7 is completely redesigned. With an emphasis on simplicity, Senior Vice President Jony Ive has rethought every detail of not only how the OS looks, but how it performs and interacts. Every single app has been refreshed for the operating system upgrade, along with a new control center, and improved multi-tasking to name a few.

I had the chance to experience iOS 7 firsthand with a beta version of the operating system on one of our devices. Overall, I like the way that it interacts. Can't say I'm crazy about the colors, but it seems pretty small on the scale of things. Maybe they'll come out with an alternate color scheme before its release in the fall?

Our favorite new updates are: new camera features, calendar and weather app redesign, and the messaging experience. Not only does the camera have new features, but it is streamlined and simplified. Simply slide through to go between video, photo, square photo (with built in filters that show in real time), and panoramic photos. The calendar and weather apps have beautiful lines and work intuitively. The display of the message app has also improved in a similar fashion, but not as drastically as the aforementioned features.

Although certainly different, it is hard to say that iOS 7 is innovative. It seems that Apple took a few notes from Windows Phone and Android in the functionality of the OS. Because it has barely been released, there will definitely be some iterations and improvements in the future. I like the direction they're moving in, and knowing Apple they will most likely make it their own? I sure hope so!

Check out what inspired and shaped iOS 7 here.

 

Xbox One: A console or a lifestyle?

"Welcome to a new generation of games and entertainment. Where games push the boundaries of realism. And television obeys your every command. Where listening to music while playing a game is a snap. And you can jump from TV to movies to music to a game in an instant. Where your experience is custom tailored to you. And the entertainment you love is all in one place. Welcome to the all-in-one, Xbox One."

Microsoft revealed the Xbox One last week - the newest and greatest Xbox yet! Although pricing has not been announced, nor can you order just yet, their feature packed presentation was not short of much. It's hard to put the Xbox One into a box (I made a pun there...) because it is so all encompassing. Is it a gaming console? Yes. Is it a media console? Yes. Can you do just about anything you could want on it? Yes. For gamers, the Xbox One has been a long time coming (Xbox 360 was released in 2005). For everyone else, sure a lot of the features on Xbox One could already be done with the Xbox 360, but Microsoft has boosted up this new device to meet the growing demand for multitasking media. Let's face it, attention spans are short and we expect it all in one place.

With sleek lines and sharp corners, Xbox One is more than just a pretty face, it is a powerful and impressive piece of technology. The key features presented during the reveal were unmatched and superb gaming, instant and seamless media presentation, the ability to multitask, integration with improved Kinect, and web interaction with the Windows 8 platform. You can get a full and detailed description of the Xbox One with all specs here.

With any product release there are several buzz words and catch phrases that float around. Often these frequently repeated phrases address issues you didn't necessarily know even existed. For instance, with the Xbox One you will "never have to change the input again!" or "you can three way Skype and watch football at the same time, on the same screen!". Although these are pretty cool features, and the Xbox One was obviously carefully and considerately created, I am merely poking fun at the emphasis put on these abilites.

So what does this mean for Apple TV and other competitors? It could be a tough road ahead. Not only does Xbox One combine all of your entertainment into one place, but it does it really well. Hats off to you Microsoft, we are genuinely impressed.

The Subsplash App Platform: Now on Windows Phone!

We’ve got great news! We have added a new operating system to the Subsplash App Platform and we are now pleased to announce that you can extend your mobile app presence to Windows Phone and the Windows Phone Store!

Windows Phone is on pace to gain a significant segment of the smartphone market within the next few years. Trailing Android and iOS, the Windows Phone platform has been picking up steam and has nearly doubled its market share in just a few months! It has been receiving rave reviews from fans and critics alike. You may have seen the new Lumia 920 from Nokia as well as the HTC 8X. Both phones are stunning and demonstrate how Windows Phone presents content impressively.

Windows Phone. Seriously Awesome.

  • Vibrant: Windows Phone is vibrant, rich, and powerful. Your content will be presented in a bold new way.

  • Early advantage: Although there are already millions of users, there are relatively few apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace which means you have more of an opportunity to reach people by being one of the first to get your app published in the store.

  • Powerful and Beautiful devices:  The Nokia Lumia 920 won Engadget's Smartphone of the Year and Gizmodo's Best Smartphone Camera.

Facebook Home: A new idea + its implications.

Although one of the most noteworthy and impactful ideas of the 21st century, Facebook has lost some steam. A company built for moving life and interaction to internet browsers has not adapted as seamlessly with the mobile growth and culture that has occurred in just the last few years.

The biggest mistake Facebook has made (as acknowledged by Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO) was hedging a bet against mobile apps. Predicting that apps were fleeting, and that we would eventually use our phones in the same capacity that we use our desktops, Facebook spent considerable time and effort on optimizing their website for mobile phones. There were a few problems. The multiple bugs that made the site repeatedly crash and painfully slow weren’t just a quick fix. Frustrations and numerous poor reviews by customers were more than Facebook could toss aside. In 2011 they made the decision to start over and build custom apps for each OS, in a move that changed the developing culture at Facebook. Fast forward a couple years, and not only has Facebook made leaps and bounds to improve their mobile presence, but they’re rewriting the whole experience, cue Facebook Home. Facebook Home is an integration with the Android OS that allows Facebook to be the lock screen on your device. From what we’ve seen so far of Facebook Home you will be able to browse pictures, see status updates, and send and receive messages, without ever having to activate or engage an app. Facebook Home will be first released on the new HTC First, and will be available for download on several existing Android devices as well. The creation of Facebook Home could be a game changer for the social network, and eliminates the need and potential overhead of creating a mobile phone specifically for Facebook.

Although in itself Facebook Home is a new idea, we can't help but be reminded of Windows Phone's Live Tiles. The ability to have content that is customized to your interests and social life immediately displayed on the home screen of your phone seems to be the connecting idea. While Facebook is just one piece of the puzzle that is Live Tiles, you have to wonder how much traction Facebook Home will get by being the only auto-populating screen on your phone?

So what does this mean for the future of smartphones, and life as we know it? Will having Facebook so easily integrated with our mobile devices cause us to spend more time than we already do interacting with technology instead of those around us? How will this change the game for other companies that are trying to further intertwine themselves into our lives and our smartphones? Will they have the capability to be our first thought as soon as we power up our devices in the morning and as we set them down as our heads hit our pillows at night? How do you feel about Facebook Home? Are you intrigued, wary, or excited about this new technology?

Tweeting your LumiPics has never been easier!

Luminance has new and improved social sharing! You can now share your pictures on Luminance directly to Facebook and Twitter!

If you don't already have Luminance, download it here. It might be the best $.99 you'll ever spend!

Thank you for using Luminance, we love your pictures!

 

The Customer Service Superlative

If you’ve ever worked in customer service, you’ve probably heard of “The Disney Experience” or “The Disney Difference.” Many regard it as the superlative service benchmark; you can hear it invoked frequently across every spectrum of the service industry. But just like a trending buzz phrase, these Disney-esque ideas seem to propagate through the business landscape with little attention to context or detail. When attempting to emulate Disney magic, we’re often too easily satisfied with a vague notion of smiling faces and the way we felt on that trip to Disneyland. Notions of the ideal only get you so far. There’s an artful science behind the magic, and it applies whether you’re serving dinner, coffee, clothing, theme parks, or mobile app platform support. So, what’s the secret? There are certainly more facets to Disney’s service standards than can be written here, but if we dig into just a few key principles it can open dozens of doors leading to endless opportunities for improvement.


Relationship

Disney strives to connect with their guests relationally in every interaction. Whether you’re booking your stay, waiting in line for a ride, searching for a particular attraction, or trekking back to your hotel at the end of the day, Disney “cast members” will make an intentional, proactive effort to help you. Rather than wait for you to reach out, they’ll anticipate your questions and needs, and treat you as a valuable and unique individual. Referring to their patrons as “guests” is no accident and reflects a philosophy that defines the customer as being much more significant than just a stranger paying for goods and services.

Given that it costs much less to keep fans than it does to acquire new ones, it’s no surprise that Disney has placed such an emphasis on establishing long term relationships by building trust and valuing their guests. Absent of the hussle and bussle of being processed through a system, this feeling of being valued and engaged helps breed an incredible brand loyalty that keeps fans watching the movies, buying the merchandise, and coming back to the theme parks again and again.

Quality Service

Quality service is, of course, about much more than pleasant interactions between guests and cast members. Every process a guest passes through and every environment they find themselves in has been meticulously fashioned to improve the total experience. Every physical feature of the park and every step in a guest facing process has first been viewed through the lens of guest needs and expectations. Knowing your customers’ perspectives and perceptions of the experience you design gives you the chance to exceed their expectations and deliver unparalleled service at every turn.

Attention to Detail

The most visible example of Disney’s attention to detail may be in their relentless pursuit of spotless, trash-free parks. Have you ever noticed how bright and clean Disneyland appears when compared with other theme parks? This incredible mandate is achieved through a top-notch team of custodians that clean every inch of the park at night as well as maintain it throughout the day. But the dedication doesn’t end there. To achieve their unprecedented standards, they task every cast member, regardless of their seniority, with the responsibility of keeping the park neat and clean. This unity of mission and commitment to high standards makes possible what would otherwise be an unreasonable goal.

“Magical” Moments

Beyond the courtesy, the planning, the details, the commitments, Disney wins the hearts of millions by creating “magical” moments as often as possible. Waiting in line for an attraction is usually considered uncomfortable, boring, tiring, and just no fun at all. A day at Disneyland reveals almost every line is themed, interactive, and entertaining. If you keep your eyes peeled you can spot hundreds of “hidden Mickeys” all over the park. Birthday, anniversary, and first-time pins can be picked up at guest relations; cast members are on the lookout for those pins, wishing you happy birthday, congratulations, and offering fun ideas and advice to first-timers. Even the trip back to your hotel room after the park closes hasn’t been forgotten. While riding the tram your driver might start up a game of Disney trivia, and upon entering your Disney Hotel room, you could find your recently purchased stuffed animals tucked in bed, watching tv, playing cards, or even posed cleverly to depict a famous Disney movie scene. Great care, attention, and creative energy have been spent to keep the magic alive throughout your stay and ensure you always remember your visit as fun and full of wonder.


Thoughts and Application

So now you should ask yourself, “How can I apply these ideas to my organization?” With a little creativity and some intentional thought, I’m sure you can. You don’t have to be a CEO, a pastor, or a manager to make a difference. Even if your sphere of influence is modest, you can still be a catalyst for delivering delight and improving the culture around you. You know you’ve seen it before. It’s that smiling server who remembers your favorite meal at your local restaurant. And the vendor who personally delivered a shipment to your business even though you missed the order deadline. And the tech support who helped you solve a difficult and frustrating problem, yet you were certain they were actually happy to do it.

Putting the guest first is an attitude, but it’s also a resolution to never miss an opportunity for improvement. It requires innovation, a drive for excellence, and a bit of humility as well. It means committing to these values and following through with your resolve to gracefully listen and serve, even when some of your customers have been less than gracious. This is especially important when receiving negative feedback.

Let’s be honest, most of us tend to seek positive affirmation for what we do well while playing down our shortcomings. But research shows experts and top performers take that habit and flip it on it’s head. They ascribe more “weight” to negative feedback than positive feedback. In this way, excellence can be wrought from the flames of customer complaints. And if we’re wise, we’ll request constructive criticism from our peers as well. It might sting a bit, and sometimes it will be wrong, but there is almost always some useful truths to be extracted and an opportunity for improvements to be made. And if we’re humble, honest, and driven to correct our mistakes, we’ll seize the moment to learn something, and thank them for their feedback.

So I’d like to challenge you, set aside some time to take a step back and ponder, “How can I deliver delight in my place of work?” Even if you already excel at what you do, being proactive, thoughtful, and taking a few tips from the Mouse is sure to have a positive impact. And if you’re really on board, schedule it on your calendar and make it a regular thing! Get others involved. Be intentional. I’ve made the same commitment in 2013, and it’s already yielding results. Once you start planting seeds of delight, eventually some will grow, and you might just make a big difference.

Thanks for reading.

+ Stephen