Once a year, we go to the Ritz-Carlton Lodge in Reynolds Plantation, Georgia. Being a Ritz property, you should expect, and we do, receive exemplary customer service.
If I had a dollar for every time we’re told “My pleasure…”
When we were last there in 2011, we had a “chiminea” dinner, which is when you are given a private piece of land on the bank of Lake Oconee, and Ritz staff bring out to you a three-course meal in front of a campfire. As you can see from the photograph, it is a glorious, peaceful, enriching experience.
Back in 2011, we stayed during the off-season, so there were not as many guests on property, and so, we were not rushed, and could take as much time as we wanted between courses.
Forward to this past weekend, when the Lodge was full, the chiminea situation was different. Having to move people through the process a little faster, we were not prepared to be as rushed as we were.
And we mentioned it to our “butler” who was taking care of us.
As you would almost expect, within minutes, a manager was at our site apologizing, and making right the situation. In the end, we still had a GLORIOUS time and would continue to recommend this experience to anyone.
But here is the thing I want you to remember:
We were not impressed with the manager and his fast handling of our minor complaint. Any manager worth his or her salt would do this.
I was impressed with the butler. He didn’t have to mention this to his management team. For as you would expect in some organizations, saying something to his boss might get him in trouble.
But he said something. And fast.
And instead of berating him, I bet management said something to the effect of “Thanks for letting me know, what can we do to improve this experience, and make the experience even better.”
Too many managers beat down, yell at, berate, and might as well back hand employees who perform subpar customer service. It is the American way.
This only results in bitter employees, who in turn, are hardly incentivized to provide better customer service.
Our butler continued to treat us with extreme courtesy and respect, and with a smile on his face. Not coldly as you would expect someone who might have gotten in trouble for not performing at his best.
If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times on the blog… Build a culture where your co-workers are teammates, and staff are ENCOURAGED to do what is necessary to make the customer experience a meaningful one.
Don’t smack employees for making a mistake. Reward them for coming to you to address a poor customer experience, and then together, work on making the experience a better one.
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