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Edition 169 – Ladies & Gentlemen

At the tail end of our recent trip to the USA, my wife, Trish, and I decided to spend a couple of days in Miami. Some rest and relaxation was in order after a full week of meetings, learning and collaboration.

My flight from Washington arrived into Miami late, such that my arrival to our pre-booked accommodation was after 11pm. It had been a long day after a long week and the 11 hour commute through Atlanta was taxing. I was tired, thirsty and hot – dressed for a cooler Washington day but experiencing high 20’s in Miami at close to midnight.

In short, where we’d booked was horrid! Truly awful! The first indication of what my experience was likely to be was that I had to garner directions to the reception from some drunk holidaymakers hanging around the swimming pool – after 11pm, and with their children splashing away. As Trish’s Mum used to often quote, “it takes all sorts!”

I crashed for the night, but my fitful sleep was a combination of the heat, the dissatisfaction with the accommodation and my lack of feeling secure.

It was time to act, and the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne came to the rescue.

If you’ve ever stayed at a Ritz Carlton hotel or resort, you may be aware of their motto – “Ladies & Gentlemen, serving Ladies & Gentlemen”.

Here’s some observations I made from our three days in paradise.

  1. Let’s see what we can do for you – I booked the room online at 6.30am Saturday, then dropped by the hotel hoping to leave the bags with the porter for the day. Upon my arrival, and having explained my circumstances, the porter said “let’s see what we can do for you” and, goodness only knows how, I was checked into a room by 7.30am. What are you doing with your customers to go above and beyond?
  2. Overcompensate – at lunch by the beach on the Atlantic Ocean, my wife ordered a burger that arrived cold. Profuse apologies were quickly followed by some piping hot fries then, shortly after, a new burger, freshly cooked. Upon placing the new burger down, we were informed “no charge”, which was very gracious. An hour or so later, our next round of drinks was also “no charge”. Unbelievable. What are you doing to overcompensate for a poor experience with a big apology?
  3. Convenience – in a bank of 3 lifts in an enormous hotel, there was, almost always, a lift waiting on the ground floor. Happenstance? Maybe? More likely it’s what I observed – one of the lobby staff pressing the ground floor button as they walked by, when the lobby and restaurants were full of people. What are you doing to make life more convenient for your customers?
  4. Polite – everywhere you went, you were acknowledged with a good morning or good afternoon, with emotion and feeling. What are you doing to convey happiness and sincerity in your dealings with your customers?
  5. Comfort – Miami in April was hot. Throughout the resort, there were large urns of chilled water, available for you at no charge. There was also sunscreen (in case you’d forgotten to bring it) and aloe vera (in case you’d forgotten the sunscreen and not seen theirs). What are the little things that you could be doing for your customers to make their life more comfortable?

More than anything, our time at the Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne proved that it’s lots of little things that make the big difference between a stay in a hotel and a memorable experience.

What are the little things you are doing in your business to make it memorable for your customers?