Seven Advantages of Employee Empowerment

Did you know that bees are empowered workers? Dr. Michael O’Malley, author of The Wisdom of Bees, notes in his book that “The bees’ highly decentralized form of government allows the workers who are closest to the information to act upon it immediately and make the most informed decisions.” When empowerment is done correctly—in nature as well as in business—it produces an organized, efficient colony of activity and results.

The Ritz-Carlton empowers its employees—over 35,000 Ladies and Gentlemen—and this has resulted in a legacy of legendary service. The idea of empowerment may seem frightening at first, but here are seven clear advantages of employee empowerment:

1) Employees are more accountable

When employees are empowered, they have to accept responsibility. They can no longer claim, “that’s not my job.” They don’t have the luxury of shirking work because they’re autonomous. They have the resources and the authority to step up and take action.

2) Employees are more attentive

Because employees are empowered, they cannot be asleep at their posts. They must be ready and reactive because they are able to make a difference. Empowered employees can even be proactive and recognize when there are small issues that need to be solved. This prevents small issues from turning into big problems.

3) Employees will feel more valued

Empowering your employees shows that they are trusted. Employees who feel valued and trusted tend to be more engaged. Studies suggest that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%. Engaged employees are more likely to use discretionary effort—to go above and beyond—to impact the customer experience.

4) Employees will be more invested in work

Empowered employees recognize that their decisions are contributing to the organization’s success and consequently, they care more about their work. Additionally, they can express initiative and creativity without asking permission from a superior, and this allows them to feel a pride of ownership in their work.

5) Problems are resolved faster

According to a survey commissioned by LivePerson, “82% of consumers say the number one factor that leads to a great customer service experience is having their issues resolved quickly.” When employees are not empowered, customers must work their way up the chain of command in order to get their problems resolved. Often times they have to wait while someone in a position of higher authority is located, and sometimes your upset customers must repeat their sad story to several people. Waiting and repetition do not lead to happy customers. Empowered employees can resolve issues immediately—eliminating the need for repetition and waiting.

6) Customers experience better service

As already noted, empowered employees tend to be more engaged, more proactive, more attentive to customers and more invested in their work. Is it any wonder that all of this leads to a better customer experience? When employees enjoy their work, they share that joy with their customers.

7) Organizations are more nimble

Empowered employees are attuned to your organization’s culture and recognize their role as brand ambassadors. Therefore, they care about representing your organization correctly. When your organization needs to make a shift, your empowered employees can help ensure that the change actually happens. Dr. O’Malley explains it this way: “organizations that push decision-making out into the field are more agile and responsive to changing circumstances.”

Organizations that want to embrace employee empowerment may want to begin by creating written empowerment guidelines. It’s also important to offer employees ongoing training so that they’re prepared and capable of resolving any customer issues. Truly empowering employees is granting them freedom to build genuine customer relationships and to create memorable moments for your customers. 

Enroll in “Excellence in the Patient Experience” to benchmark the business practices of The Ritz-Carlton and discover how a service excellence culture results in engaged employees and legendary service.

Guest Story: Personal Customer Experience

Studies show that “companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202 percent.” That’s a huge impact on your organization! When your employees are engaged, they are more likely to go above and beyond for your customers and patients. In the following guest story, the employee was addressing a customer complaint and was able to not only solve a problem, but turn the situation into a memorable and personal customer experience.

Moving a Ruckus to a Rink

A Loss Prevention Officer at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto was called to a guest room for a second time after receiving a complaint of children playing hockey in the hallway. He spoke to the children’s mother, and she apologized and promised to keep the children in the room. The Manager of Loss Prevention understood the aspiration of young athletes and decided to find a more creative solution to the problem. He enlisted banquet employees to isolate space in one of the meeting rooms and create a floor hockey rink using banquet tables as a frame for the rinks. During setup, the Manager of Loss Prevention ran to a local sports store and bought two hockey nets, six sticks and hockey balls for the big match.

When setup was completed, the Loss Prevention Officer delivered a written invitation to the family, letting them know that in Canada “hockey just isn’t a game, it’s a lifestyle” and that The Ritz-Carlton had a hockey rink for those who wish to play. Further, the Loss Prevention Officer challenged them to a match against the Loss Prevention All-Stars. The children’s father was incredulous that The Ritz-Carlton had a rink and a team on site and vowed they would be down shortly. When the father and son arrived at the meeting space, they were awed by the hockey rink and pronounced “game on!”

A Game to Remember

The Loss Prevention Supervisor joined the Manager of Loss Prevention and the Loss Prevention Officer to round out the “Loss Prevention All-Stars” and the Guest Services Supervisor joined “Team Family” to even out the odds. The Loss Prevention All-Stars started out with a strong two-point lead. Team Family responded with two goals—one from the son and the other from the father. With the game tied, tensions mounted and the teams played neck and neck for several minutes. The Loss Prevention All-Stars then scored another goal. Team Family stepped up their game and came out in strides of glory—scoring three goals for the win!

Hands were shaken and Team Family was invited to return for a rematch anytime. The game was recorded on the Loss Prevention in-house cameras, and Team Family was sent photos of their epic game.

From Whoa to Wow

In the above story, the Loss Prevention Officer could have knocked on the family’s door, asked them to be quiet and then just gone on with his day. There’s certainly nothing in his job description that requires him to build hockey rinks if needed. Instead, he devised an impromptu hockey match that WOWed and engaged the guests. In the process, he exemplified our Credo by fulfilling an unexpressed wish and enlivened one of our Service Values, “I am empowered to create unique, memorable and personal experiences for our guests.” Engaged and empowered employees have the resources, creativity and drive to craft solutions that let everyone win. 

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 developing a customer-centric culture.

Dear Ritz-Carlton: Employee Motivation?

Dear Ritz-Carlton: How does The Ritz-Carlton motivate its employees?

The above question is from an attendee atSymposium: Your Journey to Service Excellencein April. Answer from Alexandra Valentin, Corporate Director, Culture Transformation at The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center:

Head Shot Alexandra Valentin

At The Ritz-Carlton, we strongly believe that employee motivation starts with the right selection process. Our selection process helps us identify employees who are already motivated, and the on-boarding process begins instilling “psychological ownership” to the brand from the beginning. According to an article by Data Freaks, “psychological ownership is defined as the extent to which an employee feels as though their organization or their job is ‘theirs,’ (i.e., ‘this is MY company!’) to the point that the company becomes an important part of an employee’s self-identity.”

The Ritz-Carlton builds on this sense of ownership through employee empowerment. Each employee is encouraged to go above and beyond to create unique, memorable and personal relationships with our guests. This empowers our employees—known as the Ladies and Gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton—to make decisions, craft special moments and resolve customer issues. Empowerment moves employees beyond passivity and simply being a “warm body” at work.

The Service Values of The Ritz-Carlton also foster a sense of psychological ownership. Each Service Value begins with the word “I.” Using the pronoun “I” not only reinforces each individual’s contribution, but also promotes accountability and ownership. It encourages our Ladies and Gentlemen to volunteer ideas, approaches and solutions—whether they are problem solving or innovating—and that is motivating. 

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.

Dear Ritz-Carlton: Empowerment at The Ritz-Carlton?

Dear Ritz-Carlton: What does empowerment mean for an employee at The Ritz-Carlton?

Answer from Joseph Quitoni, Corporate Director, Culture Transformation at The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center:

Photo of Joseph Quitoni

At The Ritz-Carlton, we believe in empowering our Ladies and Gentlemen through trust that releases their greatness and contributes to the mystique of our brand. “Empowering through trust” instills a sense of pride, leading to service excellence at every level of our company. The word empowerment means “giving employees the power to do their job and engage the guest.” The presence of empowerment creates an environment where there is no fear of retribution and an environment where employees understand that they not only fulfill functions, but also have a purpose. Each employee at all levels is empowered to spend $2,000 per guest, per day if needed to engage with our guests. However, empowerment is rarely about money. It’s about having the ability to connect with each guest to leave an imprint that is a unique, memorable and positive experience. 

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.

Dear Ritz-Carlton: Employee Empowerment and Engagement

Dear Ritz-Carlton: Does employee empowerment impact employee engagement?

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

speaker_jenniferblackmon

There is an unlimited amount of dialogue available today surrounding the concept of empowerment and how that can lead to an engaged workforce. Unfortunately, many organizations that are marking that off their checklist are still missing the mark. The real meaning of empowerment, at least from an employee perspective, is freedom. To truly be empowered means that you are free: free to make decisions to the best of your ability in the moment and regardless of cost — and you don’t need to check with anyone first. Free to take care of a customer’s needs without any hassles or policy binders restricting a successful outcome for you or for them. Free to look for ways to emotionally connect with a customer that is supported and encouraged through time and resources. Empowerment can be a driving force on the path to employee engagement but it must be given fully — no questions asked.

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.

The Privilege of Customer Service

Working in customer service may not always seem like a privilege. Customers can be unkind, irritable and even angry. However, when you are an empowered customer service agent who is told to surprise and delight customers, your role takes on new meaning. You are allowed and encouraged to express creativity and initiative. But more than that, you can look for ways to bring extra joy to people.

You become a sort of fairy godmother for your customers because you can make wishes come true. What a privilege! Your job is no longer just checking people in or dusting a room. Your job is to make genuine connections with customers and create lasting memories.

The following excerpt from a guest letter is one example of what happens when empowered employees transform customer service into genuine caring and giving.

Thank You Letter from Guest

“I am a working mother of two little boys, and in September 2012, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was quite a shock, but I had a successful surgery and started chemotherapy. When I thought my chemo was going to be complete, I decided the best way to celebrate was a girls’ night at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, with my best friend. I called the reservations line and the woman on the phone asked if it was a special occasion. I told her not really, just a girls’ weekend to celebrate the end of my chemotherapy sessions. I never gave that call another thought.

“Last Saturday when we checked in, we were greeted by [a woman from Guest Relations], who introduced herself and congratulated me. I truly had no idea why she was congratulating me! My friend and I were handed a glass of champagne and a gentleman took our bags. I did notice that [the Front Desk Agent] and the rest of the staff were all wearing the signature pink breast cancer awareness ribbons, but I assumed there was something else going on in the hotel. I would never dream they were wearing the ribbons for me!!

“Upon entering our guest room, I noticed a wrapped package on the bed. I opened it and it was a compilation of 56 different hand-written notes from the staff/employees, all put in a frame. These notes were all to encourage me during my cancer journey. I was shocked and touched.

“I know The Ritz-Carlton has built its brand on customer service, but to me, that gift was more than just customer service … that was family. I am not a prominent citizen. I am not famous. I will probably not meet most of the folks that took the time to write a note to me. Your staff truly had nothing to gain by going so far above and beyond for me, making the experience all the more special. I will always treasure that gift, and my weekend at The Ritz-Carlton!

“Thank you for instilling a culture of kindness and personal touch at your hotel.”

The Privilege of Serving

The motto of The Ritz-Carlton — “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen” — ensures that all customers (and employees) are treated with dignity, grace and courtesy. When organizations put customers first and empower employees to follow through with this priority — customer service becomes a privilege and results in cherished and lasting memories for all. 

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.

Our Ladies and Gentlemen: Chef Frederic Morineau

ChefMorineauEach month, The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center (RCLC) features an interview with an employee — 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 Chef Frederic Mornineau from The Ritz-Carlton, Grand CaymanThis year Chef Morineau was recognized with a Gold Standard Award from The Ritz-Carlton. This award is given to only seven associates each year and signifies exemplary service and a commitment to our company philosophy. Chef Morineau also received the J. Willard Marriott Award of Excellence this year. The award is presented to a select few who have demonstrated over a period of time the traits of achievement, character, dedication, effort and perseverance.

“THIS IS WHERE I BELONG”

Born in France and educated in both France and England, Frederic Morineau worked in prestigious European hotels and restaurants until an ad in a newspaper attracted him to a chef’s position at restaurant in Aspen, Colorado. After securing the job and moving to Colorado, a co-worker invited Mr. Morineau to check out a hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, which had just opened in town. When he walked in and looked around, Mr. Morineau thought to himself, “This is where I belong.”

From that day forward, Mr. Morineau’s goal was to work at a Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

RCLC: YOU ACHIEVED YOUR GOAL OF WORKING FOR THE RITZ-CARLTON WHEN YOU JOINED THEIR FLAGSHIP HOTEL IN BUCKHEAD (ATLANTA), GA IN 1996. WAS IT WHAT YOU ANTICIPATED IT WOULD BE?

Chef Morineau: Shortly after I arrived, the local newspaper printed a review of the Cafe saying it was a “lousy” place to eat. So I thought, “I guess this is my last day.” I expected to be told, “Take your book and go home.” But no. Xavier Salomon, who was the Executive Chef at the time, came to me and said, “Now we are at the bottom. Let’s move on. There’s only one way to go and that’s up.” Together we made some changes in the restaurant, and it became successful.

RCLC: WHAT DID THAT EXPERIENCE TELL YOU ABOUT THE LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WHO WORK AT RITZ-CARLTON PROPERTIES?

Chef Morineau: I always had the feeling that if I set myself with the right type of leader, if they can teach me something and if I respect them, I can work for them. I can do anything for them. My work at The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead with Xavier proved that to be true.

RCLC: WHAT DO YOU APPRECIATE ABOUT WORKING FOR THE MARRIOTT ORGANIZATION (OWNERS OF THE RITZ-CARLTON BRAND)?

Chef Morineau: The luxury environment. We have the tools and luxury ingredients to do a great job and that makes it a pleasure to come to work. When I worked in France, all I did was cook. No one asked me what I thought about the food. The only time a chef talked to me was to yell at me. The Ritz-Carlton cares about you, and they want to know what you think.

RCLC: YOU WERE RECENTLY RECOGNIZED WITH THE COMPANY’S GOLD STANDARD AWARD AND THE J. WILLARD MARRIOTT AWARD OF EXCELLENCE. WHY DO YOU THINK YOU RECEIVED THOSE AWARDS?

Chef Morineau: I have always understood that working in a hotel is not just about cooking. It involves all the departments and all the people who work there. When you work in a hotel you have to love people. You have to take time to train them. You can’t be “too busy.” My Human Resources Director, Janette Goodman, who nominated me, appreciates that.

Plus, I don’t have a lot of patience for “chit-chat,” but I do enjoy talking with my staff to get to know them. I consider them part of my family. After all, we work on Christmas together! And we have to have fun. Humor is a very important ingredient in the kitchen.

RCLC: BEING AN EXECUTIVE CHEF IN A BUSY HOTEL KITCHEN ISN’T ALWAYS EASY. HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR COOL?

Chef Morineau: I used to get upset. It takes a while to be a good leader. The Ritz-Carlton training helps you a lot. Years ago I exploded when I saw someone ignore a safety rule in the kitchen. One of my line employees at the time witnessed it and came to me the next day. She was visibly upset. I realized I needed to change, and I did. When you get upset and scream at someone, it doesn’t solve the problem. If you actually sit down with the person and say you love them but explain how they didn’t follow the rules and that they might lose their job as a result, it’s 200 times more powerful than getting mad.

RCLC: YOU’VE MENTORED MORE THAN TEN INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE GONE ON TO BE EXECUTIVE CHEFS. HOW DO YOU MENTOR AND IMPART WISDOM TO THE LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WHO WORK FOR YOU?

Chef Morineau: I tell my staff to be critical of themselves because it will help them constantly improve. I tell them to put themselves in the shoes of the guest and ask them, “If you were paying $1,000.00 a night to stay here, would you want to eat what you are serving?” That’s the difference between creating an okay experience and an amazing experience. Plus, you have to like to eat. You can’t be someone who is satisfied eating cold pizza from yesterday. You have to understand what your customer is looking for.

RCLC: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE UNIQUE EVENTS YOU HOST AT YOUR PROPERTY?

Chef Morineau: Since 2008, every January, on Martin Luther King weekend, we hold the Cayman Cookout…a beach BBQ. Celebrity chefs from around the world are invited to cook specialty dishes. As chefs we all have fun together! The guests enjoy meeting the chefs as they walk barefoot on the beach, going from station to station, enjoying gourmet meals. It’s small and intimate compared to similar events held in Miami or Aspen.

We also host a community event called, “Out of the Kitchen.” Whenever I start in a new hotel I visit the hotels and restaurants in town to meet the chefs. I recognize that we might need their help one day so I form friendships with them. Two of the local chefs I became friends with helped me start “Out of the Kitchen.” The idea was to bring local chefs together to be recognized for their talent. It’s such an uplifting event. Family members come to see their relatives compete and receive awards. This year 25 restaurants participated. The chefs used to have to pay for their expenses, but now we raise funds to finance the event. We’ve created something very special for the community.

RCLC: WOULD YOU SHARE A GUEST STORY THAT INDICATES HOW THE RITZ-CARLTON GOES BEYOND SOMEONE’S EXPECTATION?

Chef Morineau: We have a residence owner whose teenage daughter was very ill. She visited us in the kitchen during one of her stays so we knew she especially enjoyed our West Cayman salad. She had to head home quickly and unexpectedly for more medical treatments, and we wanted to do something for her. There’s no Ritz-Carlton Hotel near where she lives so we contacted a nearby Marriott and had them make and deliver the salad to her.

It’s all about the guests’ experience. We want to be part of their life. That’s why I’m proud to work for The Ritz-Carlton. 

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. 

 

Engaged Employees Create Engaged & Loyal Customers

This week’s post was written by guest blogger Bill Brister. He is employed at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay as a Guest Services Supervisor.

Your workforce, the Ladies and Gentlemen at the frontlines of your business, are your most valuable resource when it comes to pleasing your customers. Our guests at The Ritz-Carlton don’t stay simply because of the nice amenities; they stay with us because of the engaged Ladies and Gentlemen who are committed to creating a memorable and personal customer experience.

Employee engagement should be embedded in your organizational culture, and it should be passionately cultivated. A happy workforce is critical to your work environment, your customer experience and your bottom line. Here are three key factors that impact employee engagement:

1) Do your employees understand their purpose?

Sharing a purpose is more than providing direction. It’s about engaging everyone on the team so they succeed together. At The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, we’ve spent the last year working on internal communication. We have posters on the walls, we have updates at our department line-ups, we have WIG (Wildly Important Goals) huddles and Power Claps! We all know where to focus our efforts and why we are concentrating on those areas. The reason we are succeeding is because we believe in why we are here and what we are delivering.

2) Do managers treat employees with respect?

Employees who feel valued try harder. They make the extra effort to succeed, and customers will see this. Our General Manager and our most senior leaders constantly walk the property asking questions and looking for suggestions. They engage with the Ladies and Gentlemen on the floor, in the break room and in our departments. They ask questions and, at the same time, they have answers. We succeed because our leaders are out there with us – Engaging! I have lost count how many times the General Manager has asked me “What do you think …” and “What would you do?” Showing respect to employees leads to improved engagement. Employees believe their contribution to the overall function of the business is crucial, and they hold themselves to a higher level of pride in their work. (Hat tip to author Simon Sinek and his TED talk titled “Why good leaders make you feel safe.”)

3) Do employees have the tools to solve problems?

When employees know that leaders are listening, they feel more assured. They become advocates for your customers, and they become your eyes and ears. The Ladies and Gentlemen at our property know they are heard because the input is often implemented, and when it’s not at least they feel their idea was considered. Gathering input from frontline staff will not only increase employee engagement, it can also improve your customer experience. An article by Mark Lukens notes that “Employees at the frontline collectively have the best knowledge of what customers want and what bothers them.” Input from a passionate and engaged frontline workforce can be one of your best assets. Supporting and listening to employees is important, but you should consider taking it one step further and empowering your employees. Empowered employees feel trusted. They are able to recognize problems immediately, and if they are empowered by you, they can resolve incidents on the spot, answer questions confidently and accept feedback openly.

The next time your senior leaders gather in search of improving your organization, try inviting a few of the people delivering the product, offering the service or handling your customer experience. Sincerely engage your frontline staff and include them in the solution. Do this ONE simple step and watch how behaviors will change to improve the overall engagement of your customers. 

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. 

Sparking Your Customer’s Imagination to Create Engagement

Service Value 3 at The Ritz-Carlton is “I am empowered to create unique, memorable and personal experiences for our guests.” The two stories below illustrate how empowered employees can creatively enliven a guest’s experience. In each story, the Ladies and Gentlemen—also known as the employees of The Ritz-Carlton—were able to transform a special event into a personal, unique and memorable occasion.

A PRIVATE SHOWING

The first story took place at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Singer Island. One of the owners was preparing to host his beloved granddaughters for the weekend. The Owner wanted to surprise the two girls with a special treat. He knew they had recently seen the Disney movie, Frozen, and had loved it so much they had talked non-stop to their grandfather about it over the phone. For their visit, he decided to reserve the theater in the Residences for a private viewing of the film so that he could surprise them and spend some memorable time together.

The Owner approached the Residence Concierge to make the reservation. He explained to the Residence Concierge what his plan was, and she could tell that he was very excited to spend time with his granddaughters. The Residence Concierge confirmed the reservation with the Owner for that weekend and then decided to start making some plans of her own to make the night one that the family would never forget.

DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOW THEATER?

After some planning and a trip to the store that week, the Residence Concierge came up with an idea to help her really “Wow” the Owner and his granddaughters. She decided to decorate the entire theater in Frozen décor. She purchased movie posters, princess wands, and of course, a treat for the Owner as well—his favorite dark chocolate candies. To top it off, the Residence Concierge researched the film and wrote a personalized note from each of the main characters addressed to the little girls.

When the time had come for the family to enjoy their movie, their jaws dropped when they entered the theater. The whole theater was a Frozen wonderland, complete with the special notes from the Disney princesses. The girls were so excited they could barely speak! The Owner was delighted and afterward said, “That was truly a wow moment!”

A RETREAT FROM WINTER

The second guest story took place at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester. This past year, the Northeastern United States experienced a very cold winter. In many areas, there were recording-breaking cold temperatures and higher than usual amounts of snowfall. In the midst of this long winter, two friends decided to take a weekend trip to try and forget about the cold weather. They wanted to meet someplace warm, but because it was a weekend trip, they could not travel too far away. The two guests decided to travel to New York City for the weekend and agreed to imagine that they were escaping to a tropical vacation in a warmer climate. To give themselves a taste of summer, they decided to book pedicure appointments in the spa—something they usually did together during the warmer months.

A few days prior to the their arrival, a Guest Relations member learned of the friends’ plans to treat their vacation in New York as though it were a tropical getaway. Seeing an opportunity to take extra care of these guests, the Guest Relations member contacted the spa to see if they could help deliver the warmth of the tropics to help the guests shake off their winter blues.

A SPA-TASTIC DAY

On the day of their pedicure appointments, the two friends were welcomed into the spa with gifts of fresh flower leis and soft, island-themed music playing in their treatment room. As they relaxed in the pedicure chairs, they were served a fruit plate arranged with a variety of tropical fruits, including mango, pineapple and fresh papaya. To top off the experience, the spa team ordered special island-inspired drinks for the guests to enjoy. The two friends were in complete awe of the detail and planning that went into their spa visit and were so glad to escape the cold winter—at least while in the spa.

UNIQUE, MEMORABLE AND PERSONAL

Creating a genuine customer experience begins with customer engagement. You must learn what the customer desires. Once you understand the specific needs of your customer, then you have the right motive and direction for crafting a customer experience that not only produces a “wow” moment, but generates a lasting memory. 

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. 

Guest Story: Impeccable Service

A couple was staying at Sharq Village and Spa, a Ritz-Carlton hotel in Doha, for a three-night stay. One morning while they were enjoying their breakfast at the hotel’s Al Jalsa coffee shop, the Restaurant Supervisor took the opportunity to engage with the couple. During their conversation, the Restaurant Supervisor learned that the guests recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, at the time of their 40th anniversary, the wife was in the process of undergoing knee surgery so they couldn’t enjoy their anniversary to the fullest.

MISSED ANNIVERSARY

The Restaurant Supervisor wanted to make up for the fact that they weren’t able to enjoy their actual anniversary and immediately began to make their stay memorable. While the couple was still eating, he quickly got to work and by the time the couple had finished their breakfast that morning, a plan was in place.

As the couple entered the lobby on their way back to their room, they were greeted by the Restaurant Supervisor, who had gathered many of the hotel’s Ladies and Gentlemen, and they presented the couple with a bouquet of flowers, a 40th anniversary cake, and a hand-written card signed by the team. They also invited the couple to enjoy a romantic meal that evening in the hotel’s Al Dana restaurant. Needless to say, the couple was blown away not only by the level of service, but by how quickly the Restaurant Supervisor was able to pull off the surprise—literally within minutes.

WARDROBE CHANGE

The following morning, the couple couldn’t thank the Restaurant Supervisor and the team enough. But the Restaurant Supervisor wasn’t done. He learned the day before that the couple was planning to visit a nearby traditional local market so they could experience Arabic culture. Before they headed out, the Restaurant Supervisor presented the couple with traditional Arabic clothing so they could truly embrace and experience the Arabic culture first-hand. The couple excitedly put on their outfits.

Upon checkout, the couple left the following note for the Restaurant Supervisor and the team. “Thank you for a truly fantastic three days. You personally made our stay the most memorable and enjoyable. You made us feel like royalty with friendly and impeccable service!”

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.