University of Missouri Extension Office
Q: I know customer service is really important for my business to succeed. What can I do with my employees to communicate this message?
My advice is to study businesses that excel in customer service and modify their procedures to fit yours.
Since I spent a decade of my life working in the hotel business, I have always been fascinated by the Ritz-Carlton. They are known around the world for their customer service. So when I found out that my husband had a meeting scheduled at the Ritz-Carlton in Cancun, I just had to tag along and check out the customer service for myself. Of course, I solely went to observe and research customer service. I had no intention of enjoying the beautiful beaches, the authentic Mexican cuisine or the awesome coral reefs. When we arrived, we were genuinely welcomed, and the staff performed to my high expectations. Doing a little research, I later found it was hotel practice for every employee to carry a card that includes the company’s mission statement, credo, three steps of service and the Ritz-Carlton Basics. I thought I would share part of this with you:
Three steps of service
1 A warm and sincere greeting. Use the guest’s name if and when possible.
Anticipation and compliance with guest needs.
A fond farewell. Bid them a warm goodbye and use their name when possible.
The Ritz-Carlton basics
The credo will be known, owned and energized by all employees.
We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.
The three steps of service shall be practiced by all employees.
Smile. We are on stage. Always maintain positive eye contact.
Use proper vocabulary with guests. Eliminate hello, hi, okay, no problem and folks.
Uncompromising levels of cleanliness are the responsibility of every employee.
Create a positive work environment. Practice teamwork and lateral service.
Be an ambassador of the hotel inside and outside the workplace. Always talk positively, no negative comments.
Any employee who receives a complaint owns the complaint. (Resolve it!)
Instant guest pacification will be ensured by all. Respond to guest wishes within 10 minutes of the request. Follow up with a phone call within 20 minutes to ensure their satisfaction.
Use guest incident action forms to communicate guest problems to fellow employees and managers. This will help ensure that our guests are never forgotten.
Escort guests rather than pointing out directions to another area of the hotel.
Be knowledgeable of hotel information to answer guest inquiries.
Use proper telephone etiquette. Answer within two rings and a smile. Ask permission to put a caller on hold. Do not screen calls. Eliminate call transfers whenever possible.
Recommend the hotel’s food and beverage outlets before recommending outside facilities.
Uniforms are to be immaculate. Wear proper footwear, clean and polished, and your correct name tag.
Ensure all employees know their roles during emergency situations and are aware of procedures. Practice fire and safety procedures monthly.
Notify your supervisor immediately of any hazards, injuries, equipment or assistance needs.
Practice energy conservation and proper maintenance and repair of hotel property and equipment.
Protecting the assets of the Ritz Carlton Hotel is the responsibility of all employees.
How you recruit, hire and train should be a system. You need to manage the process.
Your business is a school for your employees, so take responsibility for the integrity and curriculum of your school. Even a very small scale business can implement procedures and training that mirror what heavy hitters like the Ritz-Carlton do to educate their employees on customer service.