Sometimes, we experience truly amazing levels of customer service. We call it over-the-top, or above and beyond, or “WOW!” customer service.
Many of my clients tell me they want to consistently create that experience for their customers. My response is that it’s an unrealistic – even impossible – expectation. Over-the-top service usually happens with isolated incidents, either problems or complaints, or recognition of an opportunity to create such levels of service.
As an example, the Ritz-Carlton is known for its outstanding service. Their system is excellent, and their team is superbly trained. Employees recognize guests and call them by name. They pay attention to the details.
Everything they do is just a little above the norm, which makes them stand out and explains why they can charge premium dollars for staying in their hotel. So, why does the Ritz-Carlton get praise for their over-the-top, exceptional levels of customer service? It’s not because of what they do every day. It’s because of what they do once in a while.
I just read an amazing story about a family that was staying at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto. The kids were playing floor hockey in the hall when the hotel received a complaint from another guest. One of the Ritz-Carlton’s employees politely informed the kids’ parents that they couldn’t play hockey in the hallway. The parents understood and were happy to comply. Problem solved.
In most places, that is where the story would end, but this was the Ritz-Carlton. While the employee took care of the guest’s complaint, he also wanted to take care of the family that caused the complaint. So, he contacted the banquet staff who set up a floor hockey rink in one of the empty banquet rooms.
And, to take it a step further, some of the hotel employees decided to participate and challenge the family to a floor hockey game. The story goes on to say that the family won the game, but in the end, it’s the Ritz-Carlton that won. They scored in the column of loyalty and accolades. Talk about a Moment of Magic©.