At Ritz Carlton, they differentiate between three levels of service.

There is the minimum level, essentially giving the guest what is expected.

There is a second level where the guest has a request and the request is fulfilled.

Then, there is the third level of service where the goal is customer delight.  This isn’t “customer service,” but a “memorable customer experience.”  Something unexpected.  Something that will be remembered.  This goal was repeatedly emphasized in the virtual class I took earlier this year from Ritz Carlton titled: “Best Practices & Foundations of Our Brand.”

To play at this level requires Ritz Carlton staffers to be fully engaged.  It’s the difference between being fully present and anticipating client needs vs. being robotic and going through the motions.   

It begins with empathetic listening where we listen with our ears as well as our eyes and our heart.  

This type of listening is very different than listening with the intent to respond.  To do it well, we must slow down.  The goal is to pick up on all that is being shared.  We are not in a rush.  Busy is the enemy.  We want to be fully present, to engage all of the senses, and focus on the details.  Doing so allows us to anticipate and then to provide a memorable experience.  This mindset makes all the difference between “customer service” and “memorable customer service”.

At Ritz Carlton, this approach is practiced by all Ritz Carlton team members up and down the organization.  A Ritz Carlton staffer is not just a server in the restaurant or a front desk clerk, but a critical element in a system designed to deliver a memorable moment to each guest.  

In every interaction there is always an opportunity to “plus one,” to go above and beyond.  

Ask: how can we elevate the experience just a little to create a memory?  

Some organizations over-complicate service.  Instead, keep it simple: it’s about people taking care of people.

More tomorrow.


Reflection:  How might my organization capitalize on the Ritz Carlton concept of “plus one”?

Action:  Discuss with a colleague or my team.

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