Seeking Directions

  • October 15, 2019

  • The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center

No one likes to be lost– literally or figuratively. When colleagues or customers are seeking directions, ensure what you provide actually shows the way.

Two ladies dressed in golf attire approach the clubhouse near the edge of the course. Although they are dressed for the part, they are guests at the club and do not know their way around. They let a young employee know they were seeking directions to the driving range.

Despite the newcomer-type question, the employee references other locations in the club’s property to get to the range, which is somewhat far away from the clubhouse. The ladies drive off in a cart only to return to the same area by the clubhouse seeking directions again. A manager approaches them and then provides a map and much more digestible directions. She apologizes to the ladies, “I don’t know what’s going on with him– his head is in the clouds today!” in reference to her junior colleague.

TAKEAWAYS

  • Never make assumptions about your customers. Regardless of how someone looks or acts, s/he may not be familiar at all with your business or how it works. If the customer is repeat, of course one should acknowledge that; however, it is particularly important to be thorough with new customers to form a positive first impression. If you’re not sure, spend time with the customer(s) and determine their level of familiarity.
  • No one likes to feel lost. When answering a question about directions, it’s always best to take the customer to his/her destination yourself. If this is not possible for whatever reason, ensure that the directions are very clear and appropriate for someone who does not know the lay of the land at all. Your customers are smart people, but clarity is of paramount importance.
  • Always show solidarity with your colleagues. Never, ever throw anyone “under the bus.” Not even in the context of a joke. Customers are impressed when employees work together in sync– something that the Ladies and Gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton do everyday. You’re all on the same team– apologize to the customer, yes, but coach your colleague in private. ∞

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