Today is the third session of Summer Term II of the 2013 GsD program with Applied Guestology 201, a review of some of the leading organizations who deliver exemplary Guest Experiences with application to ChurchWorld.
When it comes to refined service and exquisite hospitality, one name stands high above the rest: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. With ceaseless attention to every luxurious detail, the company has set the bar for creating memorable customer experiences in world-class settings.
The Ritz Carlton: Ladies and Gentlemen, Serving Ladies and Gentlemen
The brass lion at Ritz Carlton symbolizes excellence. Here’s a quick look at values statements – their Gold Standards – that are used to develop that excellence.
- The Ritz-Carlton is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission
- We pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guest who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambiance
- The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wished and needs of our guests
At the Ritz Carlton, “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” This motto exemplifies the anticipatory service provided by all staff members.
The Three Steps of Service
- A warm and sincere greeting, using the guest’s name
- Anticipation and fulfillment of each guest’s needs
- A fond farewell, giving a warm goodbye, and using the guest’s name
12 Service Values
- I build strong relationships and create Ritz-Carlton guests for life
- I am always responsive the expressed and unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests
- I am empowered to create unique, memorable, and personal experiences for our guests
- I understand my role in achieving the Key Success Factors, embracing community footprints, and creating the Ritz-Carlton mystique
- I continually seek opportunities to innovate and improve the Ritz-Carlton experience
- I own and immediately resolve guest problems
- I create a work environment of teamwork and lateral service so that the needs of our guests and each other are met
- I have to opportunity to continuously learn and grow
- I am involved in the planning of the work that affects me
- I am proud of my professional appearance, language, and behavior
- I protect the privacy and security of our guests, my fellow employees, and the company’s confidential information and assets
- I am responsible for uncompromising levels of cleanliness and creating a safe and accident-free environment
As the Ritz Carlton staff lives out these values every day, it’s easy to understand the following comment:
My name is Herve Humler and I am the president of Ritz-Carlton… and I am a very important person. But you are more important than I am. You are the heart and soul of this building.
– Herve Humler, addressing hotel staff shortly before the grand opening of Ritz-Carlton’s Hong Kong property
Diana Oreck, the vice president for Ritz Carlton’s executive training facility, was recently interviewed by Ashley Verrill from Customer Service Investigator. The entire interview is a must read, but one question in particular stands out.
Q. Ritz-Carlton puts a lot of emphasis on successful new hire orientation. Why is this important?
A lot of companies have a notion that employee orientation really needs to be a data dump of the company, and statistics and who’s doing what. It really isn’t. You are making a very big decision in your life to either start a job or change a job. So, we feel orientation needs to be a significant emotional experience. And the reason we do that is we know that this creates passionate advocates of our employees. We don’t think that it’s realistic to ask that your customer be a passionate, raving fan if your employees aren’t first.
The results from this passion and culture are very evident.
Ritz-Carlton Hotel has once again ranked highest in the luxury brand segment, for an impressive fourth year in a row by J.D. Power and Associates.
“We could not be prouder of our ladies and gentlemen all over the world for their commitment to excellence every single day,” said Herve Humler, President and CEO for The Ritz-Carlton. He continued,
The results speak for themselves. At a time when hotel guest satisfaction scores have increased to a seven-year high, The Ritz-Carlton plays a commanding role. It is an honor to be recognized by J.D. Power and Associates in their 2013 Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study with such outstanding results, leading our competitors in the luxury set, consecutively for the past four years. To achieve the highest ranking in Customer Satisfaction is a commitment of our service promise – to exceed our guest’s needs and expectations.
Application to ChurchWorld
It’s one thing to have a Credo, a Motto, Three Steps of Service, and 12 Service Values like the Ritz-Carlton. Many businesses go through the exercise of defining key values or composing mission statements. They might even display them in their literature, or in imposing art displays on the corporate walls.
How many organizational leaders understand the importance of regular and repetitive presentation of the core aspects of their business – not only to management, but also to their front-line staff?
Enter the “lineup” at Ritz-Carlton.
To truly appreciate the Ritz-Carlton leadership approach to repeated dissemination of their service culture, you would have to drop in on a section of the housekeeping staff as they prepare for their days work – or at the corporate headquarters – or in the kitchen of the fine restaurants that serve the hotel chain – or anywhere, and everywhere, throughout the entire organization.
You would observe that a meeting is taking place at the beginning of each shift. Not just any meeting, though: the leader in each group starts by sharing the Credo and talking about the importance of creating a unique guest experience. Another team member might share a guest story from a Ritz-Carlton hotel in another country. Another team member shares how what they do in their department helps create memorable guest experiences. Then a few quick announcements, special recognitions are given, and another team member closes the meeting with a motivational quote.
All in about 20 minutes.
On every shift.
In every Ritz-Carlton hotel and office around the world.
The magic of the lineup involves the following:
- Repetition of values – the core belief that values need to be discussed daily, and that values can’t be discussed enough
- Common language – shared phrases across all tasks binds the team together
- Visual symbols – The Credo is printed on a card that all team members carry at all times
- Oral traditions – Personal, direct, and face-to-face communication makes a huge impact in a world increasingly dominated by e-mail, text, and voice messages
- Positive storytelling – stories communicate life in a powerful and memorable way
- Modeling by leaders – the active, daily presence of the leaders communicates the importance of the time together
What would a “lineup” for each of your teams do to preserve the core values, communicate the importance of everyone on the team, and provide momentum for the day’s activities?
Recommended Reading for this session:
The New Gold Standard, Joseph A. Michelli
(for a complete reading list, see The Essential Guest Experience Library)
Guestology – the art and science of knowing and understanding your guests – is a term originated by Bruce Laval of the Walt Disney Company. The use of GsD is a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment that organizations that really want to understand and deliver a WOW Guest Experience need to study the best practices and principles in use today, and then adapt them to the context of their own environment.