Guest Story: Listening and Customer Service

Connecting with customers or patients requires more than basic chitchat. Discussing the weather or the latest sporting event may be a good way to start a conversation, but these universal topics should serve as a gateway to more meaningful interaction. The art of true customer or patient engagement requires asking questions and taking time to learn about your customer or patient. In addition, you must also listen and respond appropriately. Your actions—even more than your words—will show genuine customer or patient care. In the following guest story, the Personal Assistant to the hotel General Manager makes an effort to not only engage with guests, but she listens and acts.

Speaking Your Customer’s Language

A Polish couple arrived at Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, in Oman. They were surprised to find a welcome card written in Polish. The Personal Assistant to the hotel General Manager is the only Polish employee at the hotel, and whenever she identifies Polish guests, she creates a custom welcome card and encloses her business card. The couple was very excited to meet the Personal Assistant, and they called her immediately to have a conversation in their native tongue. During the conversation, the Personal Assistant found out that the purpose of the couple’s visit was to celebrate the wife’s birthday. The couple also mentioned how much they missed their children and grandchildren.

The Personal Assistant wondered if she could find a way to remind the guests of their family. She discovered that the couple’s children had previously stayed at another Ritz-Carlton hotel, and she was able to reach out to the son. She asked the son if he would be willing to create a video of his family wishing his mother a happy birthday. The son loved the idea and quickly recorded the video and sent it to the Personal Assistant.

Meeting Expressed and Unexpressed Wishes

On the wife’s birthday, while the couple was at the beach, the Personal Assistant decorated the room with flowers. She also set out a cake with “Happy Birthday” written in Polish and a birthday card with well wishes in the native languages of the Ladies and Gentlemen (employees) of the hotel. Then, the Personal Assistant set up the video to play on the TV and put a small note next to the remote control that read, “Press play, please!”

As soon as the guests entered the room they noticed the TV was on, and they watched the video. They were overwhelmed and immediately sought out the Personal Assistant to thank her. They told her how thrilled they were and wondered how she managed to pull off such a feat. When the couple returned home to Poland, they sent the Personal Assistant an email thanking her for the memorable birthday celebration.

Listening and Customer Service

When your organization creates a service excellence culture, then your employees will adopt a service excellence mentality. Employees will understand the importance of not only engaging with your customers or patients, but they will turn their active listening skills into effective actions. When this happens, your customers and patients will experience unique, memorable and personal moments, and those moments will lead to loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.

Join us for a one-day symposium on November 12th. Take advantage of the early-bird rate and sign-up by September 1st. The day includes a Ritz-Carlton executive panel with Herve Humler, president & chief operations officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.