Proactive Customer Service
Why are birthdays and weddings such cherished events? Partly it’s because of the scrumptious cakes and partly it’s because of the gifts, but mostly, it’s because these occasions make us feel special. Whether you’re the birthday boy or the bride—you get to be the center of attention. Friends and family gather to celebrate you, call you to say congratulations, or send you kind words over social media. This outpouring of affection can’t help but leave you feeling appreciated, cared for and loved—and that’s a great feeling!
You don’t have to wait for a birthday or wedding to let someone know he or she is appreciated. Customer service professionals have chances every day to show customers they’re special. Even small gestures can have a meaningful impact. For example, when a barista remembers a customer’s coffee order, the customer feels known and valued. By paying attention to customers’ preferences, you can provide customers with more personalized service.
From Personal to Proactive
You can also take your service to the next level by offering proactive service. Proactive customer service recognizes opportunities to go above and beyond and create unique customer experiences that result in lasting memories. In the following guest story, the Member Services Concierge at The Ritz-Carlton Club, Vail applies proactive customer service to honor the talent of a young guest.
One evening the guests at The Ritz-Carlton Club, Vail were enjoying entertainment in the Member’s Lounge. While the professional entertainers were on a break, a young guest played his guitar on stage. The young guest rocked harder than any performance held that evening, and the audience was enchanted by this young man and delighted with his performance.
The Member Services Concierge took a picture of the youngster with his guitar, printed off copies of the picture and turned them into photo cards. The cards were given to employees—referred to as our Ladies and Gentlemen—at the concierge desk and at the front drive. The plan was to have the Ladies and Gentlemen ask the young guest for his autograph and have him sign the photo cards.
Attention from Adoring Fans
When the young guest was walking through the property he couldn’t believe how many Ladies and Gentlemen wanted his autograph! When it was time for the family to leave, he could be heard crying in the back of the vehicle because he didn’t want to go.
After the family departed, the Member Services Concierge gathered all of the staff members who had obtained “autographs” to pose for a picture with their photo cards. The Member Services Concierge then sent the picture to the young guest in order to give him a photo of all of his fans and a keepsake of his visit to The Ritz-Carlton Club, Vail.
Empowerment Inspires Proactive Service
One of the Service Values at The Ritz-Carlton is “I am empowered to create unique, memorable and personal experiences for our guests.” When employees are empowered, they have the ability to be proactive. They also have the incentive to look for opportunities to create special moments for guests. Empowerment allows employees to be spontaneous, creative and timely. Offering proactive customer service is much more challenging if you have to go through an approval process before acting on your ideas.
Why is proactive service worth the extra effort? Because it is memorable. Customers will remember how you made them feel special, and these lasting memories will generate positive associations with your service and with your organization. ∞
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.