“Does this employee care about me?”
In this guest blog post, Bill Quiseng, customer service speaker, blogger and award-winning author, weighs in on a guest story from The Ritz-Carlton.
The Only Statistic That Matters
Your company may have hundreds of employees serving thousands of customers. You review pages of survey data to define your Net Promoter or Customer Satisfaction Score. You regularly track your financial metrics like Cost of Sales or operational KPIs like First Contact Resolution. But none of those metrics matter to your customer. The only statistic that matters to them is this one: 1 to 1. When they are standing in front of one of your employees, they are asking themselves, “Does this employee care about me?”
It is no longer enough to simply serve your customers or even step up to guarantee their satisfaction. Your customers don’t want to be processed through an experience. They are expecting you to take care of them as if each one of them were your only customer. For example, a hotel restaurant bartender may properly serve a gin and tonic with the right proportions to a customer. But that customer may prefer more gin than tonic. And even if the bartender remembers that particular preference of a returning patron, thus satisfying him with his service, that customer may still defect to another hotel that costs less. To hold on to your customers, you need to create an emotional connection that will bond your customers to your company. Here is a great example:
Guest Story from The Ritz-Carlton
Two guests arrived at The Ritz-Carlton, Denver for a weekend on the Club Level. While speaking with the guests, the Club Concierge discovered that they were huge Green Bay Packers fans and were planning on watching the entire NFL Draft in the Club Lounge.
The Club Concierge told the rest of the Club Team about the guests and their plans. After meeting the guests, the Club Level Supervisor with the help of the Assistant Front of House Manager, designed “The Ritz-Carlton, Denver Big Board” complete with NFL Draft insiders Mel Kiper and Todd McShay’s top 10 players. The board also featured each round and position the Packers would be drafting in. The Club Level Supervisor and the Assistant Front of House Manager presented the Big Board and a marker to the very surprised and delighted guests.
While delivering the Big Board, the Club Level Supervisor noticed the guests didn’t have any Packers gear and knew it was a must for showing team spirit. So, the Club Level Supervisor went to a local sports clothing store and purchased the last Packers jersey and the last Packers shirt in the store as well as a Packers banner to hang from the Big Board. The Club Level Supervisor then presented the guests with their new shirts, which they instantly donned, and then asked the Club Level Supervisor to take a picture of them next to the Big Board. The thankful guests then declared themselves officially ready for the draft.
The day of the guests’ departure, the Club Concierge presented them with one last gift, an original First AFL vs. NFL World Championship Game hat that had been in her family for years and passed down to her. The souvenir was particularly special because the AFL/NFL Championship Game would later become known as Super Bowl I, a game in which the Packers won.
Following their departure, the guests sent the following email to the Club Level Team: “We just wanted to let you know that we are both having severe withdrawal symptoms after enjoying your “over-the-top” hospitality last weekend. That Packers Draft will be remembered as our #1 all-time experience. Thank you, all!!! I have been showing off the Super Bowl hat to my friends, and when I tell them the story behind it, they are in awe. Thank you so much!”
How to Make a Lasting Impression
Nobody raves about average. When you connect with customers emotionally, they will tell everyone about how you took care of them.
If you are a customer service specialist, although you may serve many customers in a day:
- Remember that to connect with your customers, don’t try to get inside their heads. Get inside their hearts. Create an emotional connection.
- Focus on each one as if they were your only customer.
- Ask yourself, “What can I do to show this customer I truly care?”
If you manage customer service staff, here are three action steps you can take:
- Motivate your team continuously with daily huddles to keep focused on delivering exceptional customer service.
- Reward, recognize and celebrate the random acts of kindness that individual employees offer your customers.
- Serve as a role model to your employees when interacting with your customers directly.
The goal to properly serve or even satisfy customers is no longer good enough to ensure customer loyalty. Each customer is asking you, “Do you care about me?” Only when you express with your actions that you do really care will you guarantee that your customers will return again and again and tell their friends. ∞
The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center offers advisory services, courses and presentations to organizations that wish to benchmark the award-winning business practices of The Ritz-Carlton. Your organization can learn about The Ritz-Carlton methodology for customer service, employee engagement and leadership development. We also guide organizations through a multi-step process in order to achieve sustainable culture transformation.