Customer Service Print Vendor


A lady had been working with a printer for several years. She needed a program printed for her dad’s memorial service and she knew this printer would do a lovely job. However, she also knew that this project was a much smaller job than he typically took on, and it was also a very tight turnaround time. She told the printer she understood if he was busy and if it didn’t fit in his schedule, but he graciously agreed to print the program. Not only was he willing to help, he also fixed the photos in the program, printed the program on special paper, and delivered the program to the lady’s workplace. The programs looked amazing and the lady was grateful and thrilled! But then the printer took it one step further. He refused to let the lady pay for his work. He insisted that she accept his work as a gift, and he explained that not only is kindness in the workplace the right thing to do, but it has also led to more work for his company.


  • The printer could have refused the job or treated her as another transaction. However, he took the opportunity to show genuine care during a difficult time for his customer.
  • While the printer expressed that kindness is part of his business strategy, he also recognized that kindness has a way of coming back to you. It can lead to loyalty and referrals.
  • Relationships with vendors and other service providers are more likely to last if the vendors are responsive and produce quality work.

Creating Magnetic Connections with Customers Without Crossing the Line

In this guest post, Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, customer service maven and keynoter, shares her perspective on a guest story from The Ritz-Carlton. Kate is known for her Quick Spot & Adapt™ technique to spot each customer’s personality type for instant magnetic connection. 

The most memorable customer experience is one that uniquely touches each customer. It is not routine, robotic or generalized. The challenge is how to make those personal connections with customers without crossing the line and being nosy and intrusive.

Knowing too much information about a customer that they haven’t shared with you first, comes across as intrusive, even creepy. Individualized and customized interactions produce a magnetic connection that tells the customer, “you matter and we care.”

3-Step Path to Magnetic Connections

1. Real-Time Observations.

When you observe customers in real-time, your actions to welcome and help them will come across as genuine without artifice or hidden agenda. Compare this with pre-designed experiences based on big data. It is easy to see how customers would see real-time actions as caring, and hidden efforts as uniform and impersonal.

Moreover, when you focus on customers in real-time, your attention and generous outreach create a magnetic connection. Customers want to know they matter beyond the money they pay you. There is nothing as precious to customers as your full attention and just-in-time help.

It’s magnetic and brings customers back when it:

  • Is pleasurable
  • Makes them feel wanted as individuals
  • Puts them in the glow of your care
  • Gives them something they really want
  • Prevents or relieves difficulty or pain
  • Elevates their day in some way
  • Surprises them with something positive they didn’t even know they wanted

2. Questions That Flow From Real-Time Observations.

Companies dedicated to delivering amazing customer experiences want to know as much as possible about their customers. The way to do this is to engage customers in dialogue that springs from real-time observations. The context creates magnetic connections.

The misstep many companies make is bombarding customers with loads of personal questions that have no connection to the current moment. How many of us have been asked for multiple phone numbers, zip code and an email address even before we’ve been given the help we need? Customers feel trapped in the midst of the marketing and upselling that these companies substitute for true customer service.

3. Generosity of Heart.

Generosity of heart activates the magnetic force of positive emotion. Customers’ everyday lives and work are full of demands and stress. Your generous heart rejuvenates and re-energizes them.

For a magnetic connection, give them your:

  • Non-procedural attention. Look at them. Smile at them. Welcome them. Help them vs. staring at a computer screen with information about them.
  • In-the-moment listening. Respond to what they are saying vs. following a script.
  • Empathy. Empathy is the magnetic connection that says, “you matter!” Help them celebrate their good times and alleviate the pain of the bad times.
  • Flexibility. Customers want to hear, “You’re the reason we are here. What can we do for you today?” Customers don’t care about your procedures. “The procedure is …” is not a magnetic phrase.
  • Innovative solutions. A unique action that hits the mark leaves a lasting memory that brings customers back. It’s magnetic.
  • Customized surprises. Actions that show customers you recognize them as individuals and thought to do something special for them are magnetic.

The Magnetic Power of Surprises

A Guest Services Agent at The Ritz-Carlton, Abama was passing by the front door of the hotel when a family arrived for their vacation. The Guest Services Agent greeted the family. The two children, age 5 and 7, were very excited for their vacation and enthusiastically showed the Guest Services Agent their suitcases that were covered in stickers from the movie Cars.

While the Guest Services Agent assisted the family through the check-in process, the father asked if they could rent a golf cart during their stay so they could move around the resort more easily. Unfortunately, all of the carts were already rented out, but he assured the guest that the next returned cart would be his. Luckily, two days later a cart became available, and the Guest Services Agent decided to do something special for the children. He bought some packs of stickers from the Cars movie and placed them all over the cart.

The children were ecstatic when the Guest Services Agent showed them the decorated cart—which he told them was their “car” for the trip.

While the Guest Services Agent was glad he was able to give the children a fun surprise, he did not stop there. The family’s vacation occurred during the “Día de Reyes” celebration, a holiday in Spain where children traditionally receive gifts from the Three Wise Men and eat the famous pastry “Roscon de Reyes.” To celebrate the day, the Guest Services Agent personally delivered presents for the children and offered the parents a special homemade Roscon de Reyes cake to experience the Spanish tradition. The parents were very appreciative of all that the Guest Services Agent did for their family during their stay. Not only did he keep their children happy and entertained, he helped the parents relax and enjoy their time away from home.

Magnetic Connections Create Lasting Memories

This Guest Services Agent created a magnetic connection with these customers from the first moment. He observed their Cars stickers. He connected his real-time observation to their request for a golf cart. He surprised them in unique ways that said “you matter!” It was authentic. It was real. It showed generosity of heart. He enhanced the guest experience far beyond a stay in a beautiful hotel. His magnetic connection created a lasting memory.

Always remember that consistency doesn’t mean uniformity. Consistently great service requires delivering a unique experience to each customer—not a standardized experience to all customers. Quickly spot customers’ needs and adapt! 

Etiquette & Engagement: Civil

Imagine if every person acted like a lady or gentleman…..

Etiquette Tip: Ladies and gentlemen are civil when being served by others.

You order your food and wait in hungry anticipation. The server delivers the food to the tables all around you—who ordered after you—and when your food finally arrives, it is cold. Or, let’s say you need to change your cable plan, and the company puts you on hold repeatedly, transferring you from one department to the next before someone is finally able to help you. It’s difficult to stay calm and polite when the service you receive is inadequate and frustrating. However, it’s important to remember that even though you may have valid reasons to be upset, you are interacting with people. People deserve to be treated with kindness. The person you end up speaking to after you have been transferred four times is not responsible for your poor treatment and that person did not create the process that makes customers feel powerless and angry. In addition, there is most likely little that person can do to change the process. Yelling at that person may relieve some of your tension, but it is misdirected anger. Even if the person serving you is the one that made the mistake—perhaps your server forgot to place your order and that’s why your food was delayed—you should strive to remain gracious and never belittle anyone. At The Ritz-Carlton, one of our Service Values stipulates that we are proud of our professional behavior. Our employees—known as our Ladies and Gentlemen—understand that professional behavior means remaining calm—even under trying circumstances. Poor service is definitely a trying circumstance, but as ladies and gentlemen, we can all strive to be civil and respond courteously. 

The motto of The Ritz-Carlton is “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” This motto sets a tone of goodwill and grace for all.

Significant Stat: Sharing Experiences

58% are more likely to tell others about their customer services experiences today than they were five years ago. (source)

Advice from Jennifer Blackmon, Corporate Director, Culture Transformation at The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center:

The customer service story of the past used to sound something like this: one customer has an experience with your brand, and that person tells 10 people, who tell 10 people, and so on and so on. However, in today’s hyper-connected society, reporting on customer service has increased exponentially. One customer can now post an online review or share a customer experience on social media and reach thousands of people with very little effort. The smartphone is with us everywhere we go. Not only does this make it quick and easy for us to share our thoughts globally, we have also changed how we feel about sharing our thoughts. We’ve moved to taking personal responsibility for alerting our “friends” to the latest trends, great deals or wonderful experiences that we encounter along the way. Because customers are so quick to broadcast their likes and dislikes, organizations should realize the importance of providing excellent customer service and sincere customer engagement. 

Our Enrichment Courses immerse clients in The Ritz-Carlton ambience while offering philosophical and tactical service excellence knowledge. Please visit our Course Calendar to learn more about our upcoming courses and to register. 

Significant Stat: Engagement when Problem was Resolved

“When customers are very satisfied with the way their problem was handled — regardless of whether the problem was resolved — slightly more of them are fully engaged (54%) than customers who did not encounter a problem (50%).” (source)

Advice from John Cashion, Corporate Director, Culture Transformation at The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center:

Consumers judge the quality of any institution by the first person they come in contact with to discuss their problem. Furthermore, we know that it takes just five seconds for anyone to form a first impression…a first impression of a person and an organization. We represent our brands multiple times every day, and how we handle a customer’s problem—or opportunities as we call them, since we can always turn a situation around—is very important to overall customer engagement. More times than not when a customer is having a problem it’s really because no one is listening to them. Actively listening to our customers and ensuring we resolve the “opportunity” to their liking—not ours—will give us the best chance at securing their full engagement. With all of this being said, organizations need to empower their employees to resolve any opportunities that will occur. The moment you re-direct a customer, the resolution cost goes up and the likelihood that your customer will be fully engaged drops. 

Our Enrichment Courses immerse clients in The Ritz-Carlton ambience while offering philosophical and tactical service excellence knowledge. Please visit our Course Calendar to learn more about our upcoming courses and to register. 

Etiquette & Engagement: Sincere

Imagine if every person acted like a lady or gentleman…..

Engagement Tip: Ladies and gentlemen are sincere when serving others.

Part of building customer loyalty is earning trust. How does an organization earn trust? There are a number of ways, but one of the most obvious ways is to say what you mean, mean what you say, “walk your talk”—in other words, be sincere. Your words and your actions should be aligned. If you say, “Happy to help you,” but you’re grimacing instead of smiling—you will not come off as sincere. Your words should also be delivered with warmth. If you’re smiling when you say “Happy to help you,” your customers will hear the smile in your tone. If you’re frowning, your words will probably sound more like a grumble and be devoid of any true kindness. At The Ritz-Carlton, our Gold Standards articulate how we genuinely care for our guests. Each of our employees—known as our Ladies and Gentlemen—expresses sincerity because an empty conversation or a task completed simply by going through the motions is extremely disengaging. True customer engagement requires caring, attentiveness and authenticity in every interaction—from the warm welcome to the fond farewell. 

Our Enrichment Courses immerse clients in The Ritz-Carlton ambience while offering philosophical and tactical service excellence knowledge. Please visit our Course Calendar to learn more about our upcoming courses and to register. 

Our Ladies and Gentlemen: Abner Nelms, The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead

Each month, The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center (RCLC) features an interview with an employee—also known as a Lady or Gentleman of The Ritz-Carlton—in order to share an insider’s view of the organization. This month’s interview is with Abner Nelms, 34-year veteran Doorman and Driver at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead in Atlanta.

RCLC: Please talk a little about your role with our organization and how long you’ve been with The Ritz-Carlton.

Mr. Nelms: I have been at The Ritz-Carlton since January 1984—that’s over 31 years. I work in guest services and have for my whole career here. I’ve worked inside as a bellman, but most of my career was working as a doorman up front. Most recently, in addition to working as a doorman, I’ve worked as a driver.

RCLC: Can you share why you’ve chosen to work at The Ritz-Carlton for so long? What do you enjoy about working here?

Mr. Nelms: Well, there are a lot of things I enjoy about working here! If I go back in time, I was one of the first people to be hired. The neat thing about our property is that it’s the first Ritz-Carlton to open in the modern brand—so it was really an honor and it was exciting. It’s good to be part of the beginning of something—especially something that’s so successful because back then, we only had two hotels in the whole company. At that time, I had worked for other hotel properties, small properties, but you know when The Ritz-Carlton came along, it was like something I had always dreamed of working for—a real, “first class,” luxury hotel. So I think I was just at the right place at the right time. Other opportunities have come up, but when you’re working for the best hotel company in the business at that time, probably in the world, I never thought about leaving—at least not to go to work for another hotel.

RCLC: What do you value about the culture of The Ritz-Carlton?

Mr. Nelms: I would have to say that all the things that the company has put in place: Gold Standards, all our Service Values and everything. I was in my thirties when I started working for the company, and I’m in my sixties now. When I think back, I see that the culture has taught us how to be gentlemen, how to behave.

RCLC: What does customer service mean to you?

Mr. Nelms: What does customer service mean? Wow, it means a lot of things! I feel that customer service is serving a customer or guest in the manner that they want to be served, that they want to be taken care of. I say that because I have been in some customer service situations where it didn’t go well, and when you’re in a customer service business, you’re well aware of when you’re not getting good customer service. Right? So that’s what it means—taking care of a customer the way they want to be taken care of.

RCLC: Have you built relationships with customers throughout the years?

Mr. Nelms: Most definitely! At The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, we’ve been there so long, not only have we built long-term relationships with the guests, but we’ve built long-term relationships with their children. Sometimes I’ll see a long-term guest that is arriving and being taken care of and the person that is taking care of them might not recognize them, and then they’ll ask them a question like “have you ever stayed here before?” and if I get the chance, I’ll always go over and greet them myself, recognize them and then introduce them to the employee that doesn’t recognize them. I kind of tease them, and I introduce them as a “Charter Member.” “Oh yeah, Mr. Johnson, he’s a Charter Member, he’s part of the beginning!” We do have a lot of guests that have been staying with us for the entire time. It’s always fun because it gives me the opportunity to connect with that guest, that long-term guest.

RCLC: Are there any memorable customer experiences (WOW moments) that you would like to share?

Mr. Nelms: There are so many! Immediately when I think about WOW stories, I feel like I’m the one that was probably WOWed by the person I was taking care of. One moment comes to mind: a lot of people who come to our hotel are here on business, and they never get a chance to really get outside of the Buckhead area. Sometimes they think that that’s all Atlanta, right? Just that concrete area. We have the Atlanta History Center and that brings people to Buckhead, so these guests I was driving did break away long enough to go see the History Center. On the way back, I said to them “if you have a moment, I’ll take a little scenic route that will take us back to the hotel. It will only take us 10-15 minutes,” they wanted to do that—so I showed them the neighborhood that they never had a chance to see. They talked about it, and they were so excited because they had read about it in books and saw pictures in magazines. We have an area, the West Paces Ferry area, where our Governor’s Mansion is, as well as a lot of antebellum homes and properties with rolling hills and magnolia trees. There’s a particular mansion where parts of Gone with the Wind were filmed. I was just amazed at how excited they were about it. So it really made me feel good, and they didn’t even really know about that part of our town—so that’s probably the most memorable. I enjoy doing that, introducing people to things like The Swann House, the most photographed house in Atlanta. I think I was just as WOWed as they were. They WOWed me!

RCLC: Have you had to deal with upset customers? If so, any advice on the best way to handle this?

Mr. Nelms: Like we were saying about what customer service means, the best way to handle an upset guest is first of all to listen, empathize and see what their problem is. Especially to listen, you have to let them vent, let them get it all out and then be thinking, anticipating, what you can do to help. Then I will ask them, “what can I do to help in this situation?” I’ve been in that situation before, and fortunately, I’ve had the resources to help people. We’ve had situations when people’s limousine transportation didn’t show up, and they were stressed out so we were able to put them in our vehicle and take them to their appointment—even though it was outside of the usual area where we typically go. They’re always wild about that.

RCLC: What are a few of the customer service lessons you’ve learned over the last three decades?

Mr. Nelms: You have to listen to people—listen to them and remain pleasant. Don’t allow yourself to get upset since a lot of times we deal with so many different kinds of personalities. Sometimes when people are upset, they want you to get upset. That’s the most important thing I have learned to do is to listen and then be thinking how you can assist them. “What can I do to make this better?” That’s what people want to hear in a customer service situation. 

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.

Inspired Thinking: Give 100 Percent

“The average person puts only 25% of his energy and ability into his work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%.” – Andrew Carnegie, Founder of the Carnegie Steel Company 

The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center:

Creating lasting relationships requires one to be genuine, present and to have his/her “radar-on, antenna up” 100% of the time. Just like in everyday life, business relies on the strength of relationships. Each guest interaction must build upon the relationship—whether it is a warm welcome to a long-time customer, recovery from a guest incident, a small gesture to surprise and delight your customer or a fond farewell to a new customer whom you hope to see again very soon. When you invest 100% of your energy and ability in providing a first-class customer experience, nothing will stand in your way to accomplish what you wish to provide each guest, each day. At The Ritz-Carlton, we believe in being “on stage” when we interact with our guests. This means 100% focus on their experience and creating a memory that stays with them long after they leave. Does your team give 100 percent? 

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. Join us at our Symposium: Your Journey to Service Excellence. We also guide organizations through a multi-step process in order to achieve sustainable culture transformation. 

Customer Service Tips for Real Estate Agents

Real estate has always been a competitive field, but with the arrival of online services such as Redfin and housing search sites like Zillow, Trulia and, real estate professionals are under more pressure than ever to show their worth and build long-lasting customer relationships. Offering exceptional customer service is a great way for real estate agents to earn trust and customer loyalty.

By applying the Service Values of The Ritz-Carlton to the real estate industry, we have compiled the following list of customer service tips:

1) At The Ritz-Carlton, we “build strong relationships and create guests for life.”

As real estate agents, you are also building relationships. Your end goal may be to make a sale or sign a lease, but you should not treat your client as simply another transaction. When you express genuine care to your clients, you’re opening the door to repeat business and referral business. We live in a very connected world. When people ask your past clients, “Is there a real estate agent you would recommend?”—you want the answer to be a resounding, “YES!”

You can express genuine care by acting respectfully:

  • Value your client’s time. Don’t show up late for appointments.
  • Actively listen to your clients. Don’t multi-task when clients are talking.
  • Communicate regularly and manage your clients’ expectations. For example, if a client asks a question or an offer is made, you should tell your client when you expect to have an answer. If an answer is not found within that time frame, you should tell your client that you’re still working on it. Proactive communication builds trust.

2) At The Ritz-Carlton, we are “responsive to the expressed and unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.”

Real estate agents must meet the expressed and unexpressed wishes of their clients as well. People don’t buy homes on a regular basis—so even if they’ve purchased a home in the past, they tend to forget what it is all about. Think of their ignorance as their unexpressed needs. It is your job to act as their real estate “Sherpa” and guide them through the process—pointing out all the important steps.

You also have to be responsive to their expressed needs. You have to listen to what your clients want—and you have to be patient if they need help figuring out what they want. For example, if you show your clients the type of homes they asked to see but they don’t like any of them, pay close attention to their comments and feedback. Ask leading questions that will help unearth more specific information such as, “When you say the kitchen is drab, are you referring to the lighting, the cabinet color or the flooring?” When you better understand your clients’ preferences, you set yourself up for greater success.

3) At The Ritz-Carlton, we are “empowered to create unique, memorable and personal experiences for our guests.”

Real estate agents should also create unique, memorable and personal experiences for their clients. In order to do this, you must engage with your clients. Learn about their hobbies, their children and their pets. Small acts of kindness can make a big difference:

  • While house hunting on a hot day, bring a cooler of cold water bottles for clients.
  • Send a birthday card to their pet.
  • Point out where the local dance studio is located if their child is a budding ballerina.
  • After you make a sale, consider giving a personalized closing gift. One real estate agent gave clients a glass box with their new home etched into the top.

4) At The Ritz-Carlton, we “own and immediately resolve guest problems.”

Real estate agents want to make the process as seamless as possible for clients. If your client has questions, try not to give a pat answer like “That’s the market right now” or “It’s all about location.” Try to offer actionable suggestions and solutions such as how to improve curb appeal. You might have to say tough things that your clients will not want to hear, and you won’t be able to solve all your customer’s problems; i.e., you can’t make a home sell for $2 million if it’s only worth $200,000. However, you can respond to your clients’ concerns with helpfulness, tact and compassion.

5) At The Ritz-Carlton, we are “involved in the planning of the work that affects [us.]”

Real estate agents need to keep clients informed through every step of the process. Let your clients know what you are doing to sell, lease or find a property. Don’t make your clients track you down and ask for an update. By communicating regularly, you can circumvent frustration and build trust. You should also base your communication on your clients’ preferences. Would your client appreciate a weekly email, or would a quick phone call work better for them? You and your client are in this together, and communication will be appreciated.

6) At The Ritz-Carlton, we are “proud of [our] professional appearance, language, and behavior.”

Real estate agents make a good or bad first impression depending on their professionalism. When you meet with clients, you should dress for a business appointment, and you should be prepared. If you’re not organized and you can’t find your listing sheets—you will not instill confidence in your customers. If you’re driving clients around, your car should be clean and you should know where you are going. Getting lost will not instill confidence. You should also be knowledgeable about the real estate market in your area. When you appear engaged, competent and efficient—your clients will feel more comfortable and safe.

7) At The Ritz-Carlton, we “protect the privacy and security of our guests….”

When you build relationships with clients, you become privy to confidential information. You may even have celebrity clients. Although it may be tempting to name drop or even gossip, you need to practice discretion. When you share private details about your past clients, you lose the trust of your current customers.

Building client relationships takes time. You have to earn trust through consistency and reliability, and you have to demonstrate your commitment to the client by offering excellent customer service. When you make the extra effort to truly engage with your clients, you’ll not only see how this impacts your sales—but you may also make some life-long friends in the process. 

On Thursday, November 12, 2015, The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center presents Your Journey to Service Excellence at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner near Washington, DC. Herve Humler, President & Chief Operations Officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., is a panelist along with other senior executives. Early-bird pricing is available through August 1, 2015.

Dear Ritz-Carlton: Psychology Behind Memorable Service?

Dear Ritz-Carlton: What is the psychology behind memorable customer service?

The above question is from an attendee at “Symposium: Your Journey to Service Excellence” in April. The following answer is from  Joseph Quitoni, Corporate Director, Culture Transformation at The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center:

Photo of Joseph QuitoniPsychologist Daniel Kahneman has lectured on the topic of two mental operating models: the experiencing self (the “you” in the moment who lives through an event) and the remembering self (the “you” who maintains the story of the event). You can apply this concept to the customer experience. The experiencing self may best be described as “the transaction of service”—while the remembering self is “the memory of the service that is created.” When you tap into the remembering self of your customers, you can enhance their experience and make your organization more successful. When the remembering self of your customers adopts a positive story about your organization, then not only will your customers return, but they will also make positive comments about your brand. At The Ritz-Carlton, we want to make memories that stay with our customers. Our employees—the Ladies and Gentlemen who work at The Ritz-Carlton—tap into the remembering self of our customers by remaining in the moment during each guest interaction. The Ladies and Gentlemen look for clues that will help them tap in to the guest’s emotional needs. When you engage with customers and uncover their unexpressed needs, you have the opportunity to provide personalized service that will be remembered by your customers.

Join us for a one-day symposium, “Your Journey to Service Excellence.” The day includes a keynote speaker, a Q&A session with The Ritz-Carlton executive panel, an optional networking reception and presentations about legendary service, employee engagement and a customer-centric culture.