The Value of Personalized Customer Service
In order to build relationships and create memorable moments for customers, you must move beyond thinking of customer service as simply transactional—and strive to personalize customer service. Transactional customer service may be friendly and welcoming, but without any personal or emotional connection with your customers, it will be difficult to build loyalty. Personalized customer service shows your clients that you recognize them, that you are listening and that you care.
One of the ways The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club personalizes service is to employ Member Experience Concierges (MEC) to choreograph its Members’ experience—including arrivals and departures. On any given day, an MEC could reply to as many as 30 emails—relating solely to pre-arrival communication. It is the responsibility of each Concierge to dig deep into these correspondences and seek out the “fine details” that will assist them in providing a surprise and delight to the Member and his / her family. The following story illustrates how an MEC can turn an email about logistics into memorable, personalized service.
Soccer and Sushi
At The Ritz-Carlton Club, St. Thomas, the MEC exchanged more than 20 emails with one family in particular. The MEC learned that this would be the family’s first vacation to St. Thomas as brand new Members. After building a strong rapport, the MEC learned that the family would be celebrating their son’s 9th birthday. The MEC sprang into action and offered her assistance in making this special occasion a lasting memory. The MEC found out from the dad that his son’s favorite sport was soccer and that the son played in a junior league outside of school.
The MEC found many ways to celebrate the 9-year-old’s birthday—from creating a personalized soccer tournament with the bellmen to acquiring his very own signed-by-the-team soccer ball. However, the MEC wanted to do more. In one email, the dad requested a dinner reservation at Buddha Sushi, a local Japanese restaurant on the island, which specializes in creative, intrinsic and unique sushi dishes. The MEC discovered that this was his son’s favorite type of food.
Thankfully, the MEC was a personal friend of the executive chef and was able to coordinate a special plate for the Birthday Boy. The son was blown away by the surprise; however, it was the entire family’s similar reaction that made it all worthwhile. Upon returning from dinner, the MEC received high praise from the family and especially from the Birthday Boy.
Empowerment Fosters Personalized Service
One of the Service Values at The Ritz-Carlton asks our employees—known as our Ladies and Gentlemen—to be “responsive to the expressed and unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.” Because our Ladies and Gentlemen are empowered—they are better-equipped and inspired to deliver personalized service. They also understand the need for cultivating genuine, caring relationships that lead to loyalty and more importantly, trust. ∞