Last week I had the pleasure of staying a couple of nights at The Ritz-Carlton in Shenzhen, China. It was a fantastic experience, made memorable by the tremendous service of The Ritz-Carlton team. Here are just two examples from my stay, which made me think, “Now That Is Great Service”
- Heading to my room, I shared the elevator with a Ritz Carlton employee who was holding a picture frame. I was curious and asked him what the picture was for. He shared with me that the person in the picture, blowing out candles, had celebrated his birthday in the hotel and that the hotel had framed the picture and was putting it in his room as a gift! Now That Is Great Service!
- During breakfast I was standing at the bread counter waiting for my toast when a waitress, who I had not seen (the restaurant was massive,) approached me and suggested that she would bring the toast to my table when it was ready. Before I could even explain where I was sitting, she said to me, “Sir, I know your table is there” and pointed towards my empty seat…Now That Is Great Service!
I am, as Ken Blanchard puts it, a Raving Ritz Carlton fan. Their motto is ‘Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen” and their secret is in the way they have instilled their values in the behavior of each and every employee and have adjusted their processes allowing employees to live their values, which they call the ‘basics’. For example to facilitate
- Basic #8: Any employee who receives a customer complaint “owns” the complaint.
- Basic #9: Instant guest pacification will be ensured by all. React quickly to correct the problem immediately. Do everything you possibly can to never lose a guest.
Each and every employee is given the authority to spend USD 2,000 to resolve a customer complaint on the spot. So it’s not only doing the talk it is also about empowering your people to act in the same way.
For me, The Ritz Carlton is a living example of what HR Guru Dave Ulrich calls “Building a Culture from the Outside In“. In his article, Dave states that “Traditional views of organizational culture have one thing in common, they define culture from the inside-out; who we are, what we do, and how we do it. In a world of speed and change, organizations build winning cultures when their culture efforts begin with customers, then shifts to employee behaviors and organizational process”
Often, Company Values are the ‘poster boys’ of the corporate world. If you really want them to impact your bottom line then (1) define your values on how customers want you to behave, (2) role model, train and communicate the values and their importance and 3) adjust your processes to support and reward your employees to live your values.
– Paul Keijzer