How does Ritz-Carlton “operationalize” memorable customer service?

1: How does Ritz-Carlton consistently deliver world-class customer service across more than 100 luxury properties and more than 40,000 staffers?

How does the firm “operationalize” its motto of “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen”?

Earlier this year I had the privilege of participating in a six-hour virtual training during which two answers became apparent.

Number one: “Employee engagement ties to client engagement.”  The hotel believes that memorable customer service does not happen without highly engaged, empowered Ritz-Carlton staffers.  

Number two: The firm has developed a set of highly specific “people practices” to select, develop, and engage Ritz Carlton staffers.

2: Today, we explore how Ritz-Carlton continues to develop associates after their onboarding day.

It begins with classroom training to teach “The Ritz-Carlton legendary manner of service to all Ladies and Gentlemen.” 

All new hires are taught “The Three Steps of Service.”

1: A warm and sincere greeting.

2: Use the guest’s name. Anticipation and fulfillment of each guest’s needs.

3: A fond farewell. Give a warm goodbye and use the guest’s name.

Next, a keen focus on practicing key service behaviors, empowerment, and problem resolution.  Throughout the onboarding process, “Learning Coaches” provide hands-on training. 

And finally: Practice, practice, practice!

Prior to joining their team, all new hires must achieve operational certification on specific skills and behaviors.  Legendary service requires flawless processes.  New hires are evaluated against the hotel’s Gold Standards.  During their first year, the newly hired “Ladies and Gentlemen” complete two evaluations to measure knowledge and performance.  All Ritz-Carlton staffers must be re-certified in their position every year.

3: There are three other milestone days for all new hires during their first year.  

On Day 21, new staffers participate in an additional day of classroom training.  Why Day 21?  It takes 21 days to form a habit.  The trainers aim to re-energize the Gold Standards and provide feedback to each new associate on what is working and what needs improvement.  The goal is to make corrections early.  There is also a “Gold Standards Philosophy and Culture quiz.”

There is another structured check-in with new staffers on Day 182, the half-way point of their first year.

On Day 365, there is a celebratory event rather than more classroom training.  Ritz-Carlton’s research shows that if a new hire makes it to the one year mark, it is likely they will become a long-time associate.

The goal throughout the Ritz-Carlton onboarding process is to engage each associate fully.  

More tomorrow.

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Reflection:  What specific ideas from Ritz-Carlton could my organization utilize to develop new hires?

Action:  Do it.

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