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The following is from Customer Love:  Great Stories About Great Service by Mac Anderson

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is the only two-time recipient of the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award in the service category. One of the big keys to their success is that they “plan for failure.”

For example, they documented and planned for 970 potential problem instances during interactions with overnight guests and 1,071 such instances with event planners. But here is where the Ritz-Carlton is different from any other hotel, or company, that I know:

Every day at every Ritz-Carlton, employees from every department worldwide gather for a 15-minute meeting called “the lineup,” where they review guest experiences, resolve issues and discuss ways to improve service. The meetings revolve around the heroic performance of a Ritz-Carlton employee known as the “wow” story. Here’s an example:

Carmine Gallo writes about a family staying at The Ritz-Carlton, Bali, who carried specialized eggs and milk for their son who suffered from food allergies. Upon arrival, the concierge saw that the eggs had broken and the milk had soured. The manager and dining staff searched the town but could not find the items. The executive chef at the resort remembered a store in Singapore that sold them. He contacted his mother-in-law and asked that she buy the products and fly to Bali to deliver them at once. The family was delighted. Because of The Ritz-Carlton’s impeccable system, the story is instantly circulated around the world to inspire, teach and remind the 36,000 employees worldwide.

We’ve all been told to plan for a rainy day. Ritz-Carlton has planned for more than 2,000. Thanks to their planning and systems, they are prepared to weather any storm.

If you’d like more lessons about providing exceptional customer service, purchase “Customer Love:  Great Stories About Great Service” at the Inspired Faith Gift Store from Beliefnet.

Reprinted by permission of Simple Truths (c) 2011. In order to protect the rights of the copyright holder, no portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent. All rights reserved.

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