June 24, 2004
News & Opinion: The Ritz Rules!
That's an easy one. The Ritz Carlton. I've never had a bad experience at a Ritz. And if something unexpectedly goes awry, they fix it. Fast!
Three months ago, I stayed at The Ritz in Orlando. The Ritz does little things right. Like at check-in, they offer you a glass of fresh lemonade. (I've noticed that other hotels are implementing a similar service strategy, by offering at check-in, glasses of i.e., champagne, juice or bottled water.)
And when I asked where the elevator was, Dena at the front desk didn't merely point toward the elevator, she personally escorted me there.
Later, at 6:00 p.m., I called room service. The phone was cheerfully answered by Gloria. She took my order and then said, "Mr. Blackman, please let me recap, to make sure I've got it right." (Confirmation now, often eliminates problems later.) I then asked, "Gloria, would it be possible to have dinner arrive at 7:00 p.m., since I'm leaving now to run in the fitness center?" She replied, "Absolutely! We'll see you at 7. Enjoy your run!"
At exactly 7:00 p.m. I returned. I was there, but dinner wasn't. At 7:11 I called Gloria and said, "I'm lonely!" She immediately apologized and said a rush would be placed on my order. At 7:22 there was a knock at the door. It was Rupert from room service. He said, "Mr. Blackman, Gloria and I once again apologize that your dinner has arrived late. Tonight, your meal is compliments of the Ritz."
Whoa! Cool! (Especially since the bill would have been over $350! Chicken nuggets ain't a bargain at the Ritz! Just kidding!)
I thanked Rupert for his gracious hospitality with a generous tip. I also gave him a tip for Gloria. He was surprised, but grateful.
Then, I called Gloria to express my thanks. I said, "Gloria, that was very thoughtful of you to comp my dinner." To which she said something remarkable. It was only a one-word response, but it was unforgettable. She replied,
"Ownership." (Meaning, even if it wasn't her fault, she still owned the problem. And, the solution. She didn't assign blame. She delivered satisfaction.)
I asked, "Gloria, is that your word or are you trained to say that?" Her response, "Mr. Blackman, it's simply part of our Ritz ethics and commitment to our customers." Yikes! I wanted to know where I could buy her books!
Lessons to learn and things to consider:
- What little things are you doing that'll yield BIG results?
- How can you improve your customer's experience?
- How many moments of magic or touch-points do you have with a customer? What subtleties will elevate their value?
- How do you get others to talk about you and your business with phrases that begin with:
- You're not gonna believe...
- Wait to you hear what happened to me...
- Have I told you about the time...
Jeff shares more powerful service stories, lessons and
tips in Profit Pillar VIII - Serve & Soar! in his new
bestseller, Stop Whining! Start Selling!
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.