. The Transom .

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Ritz-Carlton drives the bus

On Friday, we invited Brad Cance, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, to speak to us about how the hotel company has built their reputation for excellence and amazing client service. There are a number of things in place that help perpetuate that kind of thinking, but overall, he said it comes down to the right people.

He quoted Jim Collins' book Good to Great about how you have to have the right people on the bus, and in the right seat. He spoke about how they expect the very best from their ladies and gentlemen, and in turn, treat their ladies and gentlemen with the utmost respect.

That model works for the Ritz-Carlton, it works for us, and it can work for every company regardless of size, offering or location. Problem is, too many companies don't invest the small amount of time it would take to really make it happen. Can you imagine what your reaction would be if you ordered a Big Mac and it was brought to your table instead of plopped down on a tray? What if the guy at Jiffy Lube took 30 seconds and cleaned your air filter instead of trying to sell you a new one? What if the Wal-Mart employee actually took you over to the kids shoe department instead of pointing a finger and saying, "it's on that side of the store."

Little things could go a long way.

Good service isn't expensive, it just requires you to think of your customers' experience and make it one that they will remember. That starts with getting the right people on your bus. Look around your office. Look at the people who serve your business. Should they be on the bus, or at the bus stop?


  • It never ceases to amaze me how much customer service falls through the cracks. It takes so very little effort on behalf of an employee to make a consumer experience memorable for the right reasons. But too often it's for the wrong reasons.

    When we encounter exceptional service, whether it is a waiter at a restaurant or a helpful operator on the other end of the line, I always try to let them know I appreciate their level of service. And when warranted, letting their supervisors know about it, too...

    One reason I think going the extra mile is overlooked is that it often goes unnoticed and unrewarded. While folks should take pride in their own work, it's always nice to be recognized for your efforts.

    If the Wal-Mart employee never hears a "thank you" from a visitor or a manager for leading someone to the department on the other side of the store, it can dissuade them from performing that level of service again in the future.

    By Blogger Jason Little, at Monday, June 26, 2006 6:31:00 AM  

  • Coming from a retail management background, I totally agree that it takes the right type of person to be on the "bus of exemplary customer service". I would much rather teach an employee how to sell an item/service than teach him/her how to give good customer service. You either have the genes of customer service or you don't.

    It's a shame that bad customer service gets noticed more than exceptional customer service. Statistics show that one negative comment by a customer can lead to the loss of 10 other customers just by word of mouth. A positive comment from a customer gains only one new customer.

    Bottom line---let someone know you appreciate their hardword, whether they are an employee of your own or not.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, June 28, 2006 7:04:00 AM  

  • Unfortunately, it is essential to teach not only good sales techniques but good customer relations tactics. It's amazing how the tiniest bit of grace can make your day. Sometimes it's an innate ability but in most, this must be taught. For example: Isn't it a nicer experience when someone asks if they can put you on hold rather than the usual abrupt, "Please hold" and endless minutes of wait time? This one tiny moment can be the difference between a positive or a negative phone call.

    By Anonymous Mary, at Wednesday, June 28, 2006 12:09:00 PM  

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