MBA Mommy

Part MBA, Part MRS, Part MOM…..All ME

We are Ladies and Gentleman…..

Posted by mbamommy on May 26, 2009

It was my first day at work.  My first day at a *real* job.  Not ringing people up or waiting on tables.  But, a desk job, with a computer, a desk, a phone, staples, paper clips, pens….you get the idea.  I was going through the drawers to see what the previous resident had left and I came across a Ritz Carlton Credo card.  Now, if you ever run across a former Ritz Carlton employee, chances are they will be able to quote the entire Credo on the spot.  If they’re a current employee, chances are, they have the Credo on their body.  I, however, was about to start my career in a *former* Ritz Carlton hotel, newly re-named to The St. Regis Aspen.  So, I, unfortunately, can only remember the Motto: “We are Ladies and Gentleman serving Ladies and Gentleman.”  I learned that phrase and “The guest isn’t always right, but the guest is always the guest” that fateful first day.

Thus began my professional career. 10+ years later, those initial lessons still holds true for me.  Kind of like my professional version of Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  Granted, I’ve spent most of my career ‘life’ in a services function and mostly working with or for high end luxury hotels so Service (yes, with a capital ‘S’) has always been paramount.  But, it goes beyond that.  And, maybe it’s as simple as my belief in the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have done to yourself).  But, I simply do not understand how or why any company doesn’t instill these simple lessons in ALL employees.  Think about the last time you had a bad experience at a restaurant….say….your food came out cold.  Did you tell the server?  What did they do?  Did they fix it? Apologize? Comp something?  Or, was the server surly, uninterested in the mistake made and not willing to work with you on it?

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t care how good the food, the product, the widget, is; if customer service or the user experience is bad, I will never give that business my money again.   Moreover, I’ll be sure to tell anyone and everyone who’s willing to listen how bad it was.  On the flipside, if an employee went above & beyond, on top of letting everyone I know, know, I’ll make sure their manager knows.  And, as any first year marketing student will tell you: word-of-mouth advertising can make or break your business (or brand).

Everyone has countless examples of good and bad service.  I just don’t get why companies haven’t figured it out.  Actually, given all the Social Media out there and the ability for people to disseminate enormous amounts of information in real time (Twitter), I think companies are finally wising up.

Think back to that restaurant experience.  What would you have done if (a) The server apologized, took your meal back, pushed it to the front of the kitchen line and got it heated up within a matter of minutes. And then, (b) brought you a dessert or another glass of wine, free of charge?  And, how much did that service cost the restaurant?  $5 at most?  We know what I would’ve done.  I would’ve become that restaurant’s biggest fan, returned week after week, always asked for that server’s section and always tipped at least 20%.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are basic fundamental business practices required.  Make sure your product/service/widget is a good value: the price needs to be competitive and it needs to be a quality widget.  Above & beyond that, a company’s most valuable asset is their employees.  Make sure they know they’re Ladies and Gentleman.

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One Response to “We are Ladies and Gentleman…..”

  1. […] been catching up on my eMarketer daily emails and I came across this article about focusing on customer service.  As I said before, every Marketing 101 student will tell you how important trust and honesty are […]

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