What’s makes customer service memorable?
1: Chris Hurn’s son couldn’t fall asleep.
Their family had just returned from a vacation on Amelia Island, Florida. Joshie, the boy’s beloved stuffed giraffe, had accidentally been left behind.
“Joshie is fine,” Chris told his son, “He’s just taking an extra-long vacation at the resort.” The boy seemed to buy it and eventually drifted off to sleep, write Chip and Dan Heath in their terrific book, The Power of Moments.
Later that night, a Ritz Carlton staffer called and shared that Joshie had been found. A relieved Chris asked for a favor: Would someone take a photo of the giraffe by the pool to show he’d been vacationing?
The lost giraffe provided an opportunity for what Ritz Carlton calls a “plus one.”
Later that week, Joshie arrived with a binder full of photos. “One showed him lounging by the pool, another showed Joshie driving a golf cart,” Chip and Dan write. “Others captured him hanging out with a hotel parrot, getting a massage in the spa (with cucumber slices covering his eyes), and even monitoring security cameras in the control room.”
2: Earlier this year I had the privilege of taking a virtual course from Ritz Carlton titled: “Best Practices & Foundations of Our Brand.”
One of the key takeaways was how to elevate the service experience.
While each Ritz Carlton associate is entrusted with up to $2,000 per guest, per day to solve guest problems, the firm believes strongly it’s not about money. [Note: the average amount spent to resolve guest issues is $65 per incident.]
It’s about creativity.
Which requires us to slow down and take the time to anticipate and get inside the mind of our clients.
The goal at Ritz Carlton is not to deliver “customer service.” But “memorable customer service.” To create memories for their guests. To elevate each interaction like the story of Joshie above. To enhance each encounter by asking: What can we do right now to “plus one” this experience.
3: At Ritz Carlton, the aim is not “satisfied” clients. But “engaged” clients who have an active relationship with the brand. Loyal clients who can’t imagine a world without Ritz Carlton.
To create loyalty like this requires us to focus on the psychological component of customer service: the heart, the psyche, and creating an emotional connection with the brand.
Brands have functional and emotional benefits. The functional benefit is based solely on the attributes of the product or service. The emotional benefit is the positive feelings we get from purchasing and using the product or service.
Ritz Carlton believes their brand is not a product or a logo, but a story that is always being told. The Ritz Carlton brand is an experience in the mind of the client. It’s the emotion that experience evokes.
Reflection: What opportunities are there for my organization to “plus one” the experience of our clients?
Action: Discuss with a colleague or small team.