Last time, we gave you the Valet view of what it takes to keep your patrons happy. We listed five pillars of good customer service. Our focus was the pillar of tenacity. This time, we focus on “customer service excellence.”
Now, please keep in mind that excellence is like beauty—all in the eye of the beholder.
But at Valet, excellence means something quite specific. Especially customer service excellence.
“We define it as the constant mindset of wanting to perform customer service work exceptionally well,” says Valet customer service excellence guru Eric Dye.
Puttin’ on the Ritz
Ever stay at a Ritz Carlton hotel? Yes? Then you probably get Eric’s drift.
We mention the Ritz Carlton because it embodies many people’s idea of customer service excellence.
In fact, some say the Ritz is the gold standard of incredible customer service.
They really do bend over backward for you there, no doubt about it.
Valet’s own customer service excellence reflects that of the Ritz Carlton. You know this to be true if you’ve ever had occasion to call on us for technical support.
As you might expect, the Ritz employs valets. Not Valet, as in us, the WordPress concierge company. But, rather, valets, as in hotel-based personal attendants. From a recent help-wanted ad for valets at the Ritz in Key Biscayne, Florida, comes this description of what the job involves:
“Providing [a] high level of guest services to each guest.”
The ad goes on to explain corporate expectations of anyone hired for the position:
“The Ritz-Carlton culture believes in creating experiences where the associates never forget that they are creating guests for life. Top notch, genuine service delivery will be expected at all times.”
In a nutshell, customer service excellence at every Ritz Carlton aims to treat guests like kings and queens. The Ritz not only goes the extra mile for you, they also build the very road they intend to use for traveling that longer distance on your behalf.
Customer Service Excellence Exemplified
There’s one example everyone always cites when showcasing the Ritz Carlton’s devotion to customer service excellence.
Here’s how that story goes. A family vacationing in Bali checks into the Ritz Carlton. They bring with them special foods for their young son. Seems he’s allergic to regular eggs and milk.
So the family always must carry with them on vacations the type of eggs and milk the lad tolerates.
However, upon unpacking their suitcases on this particular trip they discover the eggs and milk have gone bad.
In a panic over the possibility of the kid ending up starving, they call downstairs and ask the concierge for help.
Immediately, the Ritz swings into action. The hotel calls around everywhere in Bali looking for a supplier of the specialized foods the boy needs.
Every staff member—from the manager on down—joins the search. But no luck.
Finding nothing, they widen their search beyond Bali.
Ultimately, they locate a shop over a thousand miles away in Singapore. It carries the exact right foods for the young guest.
The mother-in-law of the Bali Ritz Carlton’s executive chef happens to live in Singapore. They arrange for her to purchase the milk and eggs there in Singapore. She then hops a jet to Bali with the goods in tow.
You can well imagine the delight of the parents at the sight of the chef’s mother-in-law bearing these items.
Apparently, the family stays only at Ritz Carlton hotels now whenever they go places. Such is their gratefulness for that one single display of customer service excellence.
Genuine Caring is Essential
Our clients at Valet never ask us to replace bad eggs or spoiled milk. But, hey. We will if they really need us to.
Says Eric: “We continually think about our clients and their needs. We constantly try to anticipate client requests so that we can respond as rapidly as possible.”
As Eric likes to point out, going above and beyond expectations is standard operating procedure for Valet.
He promises you won’t go wrong by lavishing excellent customer service on you clients.
Oh, and one other thing. Bending way over backward for clients counts little if done insincerely.
“Customer service must always be provided with warmth, courtesy, and genuine caring,” says Eric.
On a side note, another way to promote customer service excellence is by making a point of celebrating the successes of your staff.
“Give a big pat on the back to members of your customer service team who do a fabulous job of handling a major problem,” says Eric.
Well, there you have it. Customer service excellence defined and illustrated.
Up next, a look at the third pillar of great customer service—humility.