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The Little Things Make It Great: The Ritz Carlton Way


I recently watched a show detailing the Ritz Carlson customer service model, and was quite impressed with it. One particular tactic the hotel uses made me think about how the littlest things can make the biggest impact on your customers.


The show explained how the doormen and valets are responsible for making the experience great from the get go. As the luggage is removed from the car, the employee looks at the luggage tag to see the customer’s name. A quick contact with the front desk happens during this time so the desk attendant knows the name of the customer who is arriving.


When the employee opens the car door for the new guest, he/she is greeted by name. While this is happening, the front desk representative can pull up the customer’s file. When they get to the desk, he/she is again greeted by name and either welcomed back to the hotel or welcomed as a first time guest, depending on what their file reveals.
Such a small thing, but I can imagine many guests feel that their stay is very important to the hotel, and the visit is definitely getting off to the right start.


This led me to find other ways businesses can make a big impact with a small gesture. Here are some other examples I’ve found that are easily employed within a company culture:


Restaurants: reward your loyalty card holders in surprising ways. Offer priority wait lists when reservations are required, or randomly offer free desserts or appetizers after x number of visits. Don’t advertise this – just do it. It will create a surprise that will keep them coming back. According to a recent study, nearly 62% of survey participants said that special treatment was important to them, and yet only 16% said they got special treatment from loyalty programs.


If reservations or a wait list come into play, make sure the host staff ask if the guests are celebrating a special occasion. If so, alert the server so that the occasion can be celebrated at the table, perhaps with a free slice of cake, or other fun item.


Retail: when handling transactions, compliments can go a long way. You may get the customer involved in a brief conversation and learn why they’re making the purchase. If they’re purchasing items for an upcoming vacation, be sure to wish them a great time on their trip at the end of your interaction. If they are loyalty card users, address them by name at the end of the interaction. Anthing to personalize the experience will make it even more positive for your customers.


Just a few simple ideas to get the ball rolling – what steps can YOU take to make a difference?


To bring it full circle, I wanted to share a video I came across that shows the Ritz Carlton going above and beyond the call of duty when a young child leaves his most prized stuffed animal behind….