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This month I am once again talking about one of my favorite customer service companies. This company’s system is excellent, and their team is superbly trained. Employees recognize guests and call them by name. They pay attention to the details. Everything they do is just a little above the norm. Do you know which company I am referring to? If you guessed Ritz-Carlton, you would be right! So, let’s get to it - here are the top four lessons you can learn from the Ritz Carlton to help improve your organization’s customer service:
1. Create a Customer Service Mantra – Now I know if you’ve been following my work, you must have heard me mention this before, but Ritz Carlton has one of my favorite mantras, since it’s short, easy to remember, and it’s sums up how they see their customers. Their mantra is, “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” The key to this is to make it easy to remember and ensure everyone in the company understands it and acts to support it.
2. Create Over-the-Top Experiences – By this, I mean when you have the opportunity to go over-the-top, seize that opportunity and deliver not just an amazing (or above average and consistent) experience, but go above and beyond to surprise your customers. Ritz Carlton must have hundreds of stories of these over-the-top experiences, but since we don’t have all day – I will share one of my favorites. There was a family staying at a Ritz Carlton in Toronto, and the kids decided to start playing floor hockey in the hallway, but when a customer complained the Ritz stepped in. They spoke with the parents and politely informed them that the kids could not play hockey in the hallway, the parents understood and were happy to comply, and this is where most stories would end; but not at the Ritz. They took care of the guest who was complaining - yes, but they wanted to also ensure the family was well taken care of – so they setup a hockey game in an unoccupied banquet room, and to take it one step further some of the hotel employees joined in and challenged the family to a game. The family won the game and you can bet they enjoyed their stay and had a great story to tell everyone about the Ritz.
3. Put your money where your mouth is – It all starts with hiring right. A well-trained employee should be trusted and be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. The Ritz Carlton backs up this philosophy by allowing each employee to spend up to $2000.00 per day, per guest, to make things right and keep their customers happy. If Ritz is willing to place a bet that big on its employees’ judgment and customer attitude, you can bet the company has hired and trained them well. Ritz knows the value of keeping a customer! So, think about this the next time a customer has an issue that could easily be resolved by a few dollars – will the value of keeping this customer happy be worth those extra few dollars?
4. “Treat employees like they are the customer – maybe even better” – The Ritz-Carlton is recognized worldwide for being a quality organization. They understand the importance of outstanding customer service. Just as important, if not more so, is that they also understand the value of their employees, the internal customers. The Ritz-Carlton was hired to manage an existing hotel in Shanghai. They brought in many of their experts and determined that major renovations were needed. The first phase of the renovation was their Employee Entrance. This may seem strange to most, but is the norm for the Ritz-Carlton. While the renovation was relatively inexpensive, it sent an important message to the employees, who were employed by the previous management company. It demonstrated that a new higher standard of quality and service was expected, and that the employees were incredibly important to the process.
So, there you have it, four ways Ritz Carlton delivers amazing customer service day after day and year after year. These tips are applicable to every company in any industry. Define your customer service mantra, create over-the-top experiences, put your money where your mouth is, and treat employees like they are the customer – perhaps even a bit better.
ShepTV is another Shepard Presentation (www.ShepTV.com)
This video will answer the following questions:
1. How can I have customer service like Ritz Carlton?
2. How can I create a better customer experience?
3. What can I do to make better customer experiences?
4. How can I provide better customer service?