A few weeks ago, my husband and I had the pleasure to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain in Tucson, AZ as a part of an industry recognition event. Just prior to staying at the Ritz, we were at a Hampton Inn in Dallas.
Both are hotels where their business is housing guests on a temporary basis. Both have a reception desk, a guest room, a cleaning service and other similarities. You could compare any hotel, in any city, just pick one you have patronized. One would expect the physical difference in the resorts: the Ritz is a true resort, with restaurants and Spa services where is the Hampton Inn does not have those same amenities.
What struck me so very deeply though, was the difference in the attitude of the employees to the guests and it made me wonder how that is so. Both hotels I stayed in had reception areas that were pleasant enough, but at the Ritz I felt welcome. I felt like they were glad I was there. At most places I feel invisible, like a number. There is an indifferent reception, ranging from pleasant to surly, and often I have to wait long periods of time to get any service in any area. There is no care about what would make my stay more pleasurable, convenient or comfortable. No one looks me in the eye and welcomes me. Employees are chatting amongst themselves, poorly trained, and indifferent to guests.
At the Ritz, when I went to the small restaurant in the lobby for lunch; the manager came by to make sure that each and every guest was having a great experience in his restaurant. Very nice touch. I asked him if he had a minute to talk to me, and he was generous with his time. I told him every employee in the resort was pleasant and made us feel welcome. Every employee looked me in the eye and wished me a good day, paid attention to me and anticipated any need I may have. I wanted to know how they developed that mentality and level of service universally in that resort.
The manager said it was training. They are taught a very simple but powerful lesson. They are all ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. That is how they act every minute while on duty, and that is how they make the guest feel every minute of their stay.
Think of the rewards the businesses adopting this philosophy would experience. Guests would want to come back, stay to eat or indulge in other services, shop in stores, spend more dollars. This simple but very powerful philosophy changes the feelings of worth not only for the guest, but for the employee. Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. It takes the relationship out of a subservient mentality and puts everyone on equal, but elevated footing.
Client experience is a major factor in determining whether or not customers will visit your business, purchase your product or pay for your service again. You may have the best prices in town, but without the appropriate experience, your clients are likely to look elsewhere.