Putting on the Ritz

Today I was at the Ritz Carlton Destination Club in Jupiter, Florida featuring Mediterranean style estates, villas and residences along the golf course and a 68,000 square foot clubhouse with the most beautiful spa and fitness Center imaginable. It’s impossible not to be impressed by the sine qua non of the “we live it, we breathe it” philosophy of such an impressive company.

When hired, an employee becomes part of the varsity team; perhaps one of the reasons the Ritz Carlton has the lowest turnover rate of any hotel in the industry. In the first year, employees receive more than 300 hours of training which includes a procedure manual containing  more than 1,000 examples of potential problems an employee might have to deal with while performing their job. Each team member who receives a complaint “owns” the complaint, and it doesn’t matter if you are the desk clerk, the bell boy or the housekeeper. Each team member has generous discretionary funds to handle complaints, and their ability to resolve these challenges without having to go through different channels eliminates 95% of potential problems with guests; after all guests don’t want to wait for a manager to come on duty to solve their problems.

The “Gold Standards” express the values and philosophy of the company. Briefly explained they are as follows:

  • The Credo. The finest personal service will be provided including even unexpressed wishes.
  • The Motto. “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.”
  • 3 Steps of Service. We greet the guest. We anticipate what needs the guest will have and fulfill those needs. We bid farewell to the guest.
  • The Basics. We are proud to be at the Ritz Carlton and we always want to improve our services. We want to learn and grow and welcome your suggestions. We respect your privacy and are responsible for your safety, cleanliness and comfort of our guests.
  • Employee Promise. Guests are  most important at the Ritz Carlton.

As we were leaving early this evening, an older couple who apparently were not able to fly home because of the weather conditions northward returned to the Ritz Carlton looking very annoyed.  The desk clerk helped the couple get settled for another evening, and as the bell boy was piling their luggage on the cart, the woman remarked  to her husband she could use a hot cup of tea. Within minutes, the desk clerk returned with that cup of tea. What a difference it made to the guest; what a smile she had on her face.

photo credit: yungke22

2 Responses to “Putting on the Ritz”

  1. Tim Sanchez said:

    Feb 11, 10 at 3:20 pm

    I would expect this type of service from the Ritz.

    That’s because Ritz-Carlton has done a remarkable job of building a culture that consistently delivers the type of service you mentioned.

    What’s amazing to me is that other chains haven’t followed suit. What if you could get the same type of service from a Holiday Inn? Would the perceived value of a Ritz still be the same? Seems like a huge opportunity for the so-called value chain hotels.

  2. crm intelligence & strategy @crm intelligence & strategy said:

    Feb 15, 10 at 1:43 am

    […] 2) Loyalty – I wrote before how loyalty becomes an emotional thing over time when you over-delivered to your customers.  The consistent over-delivery is what creates a bond with the experience that makes customers move from rational to emotional loyalty. We are more willing to forgive a bad experience from Beloved Brands than from any other brand.  If the Ritz Carlton screws up (yes, it happens) and they say they will make it up to you, you better believe it till blow your expectations of “making it up to you” out of the water.  If AT&T says they will make it up to you — well, you get the picture.  Which brand generates emotional loyalty in every interaction? Beloved Brands — the ones that are out to exceed customers’ expectations. […]