3 Keys to Customer Service Training and Retention from Ritz-Carlton VP Diana Oreck

It’s easy to WANT to be like the Ritz-Carlton with a successful exceptional customer experience reputation. The hard part is HOW to do it. Until today.

Diana Oreck, Vice President for the company’s executive training facility,The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, was interviewed by the team at Software Advice, where we got some fantastic insight into how the Ritz approaches its customer experience training. Today I’m luck enough to share some additional insight from Diana you won’t get anywhere else.

3 Keys to Customer Service Training and Retention from Ritz Carlton VP Diana Oreck image ritz carlton customer experience

What makes up the Ritz-Carlton customer experience strategy?

It’s all about empowerment. The thing that our guests are most wowed about is that every single employee has $2,000 a day per guest to delight, or make it right. But we never use the money because that money is just symbolic. We are saying to our employees we trust you. We select the best talent. Just help the guest.

We’re very lucky because again, we really do believe that less can be more if you are choosing very powerful language. And so our three steps of service are straight to the point:

  1. A warm and sincere greeting, use the guest’s name.
  2. Anticipation and fulfillment of each guest’s needs.
  3. A fond farewell, give a warm goodbye and use the guest’s name.

Simple and to the point.

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And to us our service strategy applies to the internal customers as well, to our team mates, should apply to both.

What metrics or qualitative data does Ritz-Carlton use to measure customer service training success (How do you know it’s working)? How do you collect this data?

Oh yes, we poll our guests once a month. The Gallup organization sends out 38 percent of guests that stayed the month before. It’s done randomly with the hope we will get 8-10 percent return.

We live and die by that guest experience engagement number.

This is the sum of responses to about 30 questions, including How likely is that guest to recommend Ritz Carlton? Were they delighted and satisfied with their stay? If there was a problem, did we take care of their problem? We know that if that guest engagement number goes up, we know that our training programs have been successful.

Is customer service employee satisfaction and retention important?

It’s about engagement. I will give you an example. The lodging industry as a whole tends to run a 60-70 percent turnover in a year. Here at Ritz Carlton we run in the low 20′s. It’s a huge difference.

What we are looking for at orientation is passion.

We want to make sure that that new person feels they made the right decision in joining us. It’s all about them and it’s all about culture. We feel that orientation needs to be significant emotional experience. Because think about it – you are making a very big decision in your life to either start a job or change a job.

So our two days of orientation, they are solely revolving around our culture, which we call the gold standards. And the reason we do that is we know that the culture creates passion advocates of our employees.

About Diana Oreck

Diana is Vice President of the Leadership Center and leads The Ritz-Carlton, Leadership Center – a Corporate University open to the public since the year 1999. She brings over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry to her role.

Under her leadership The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. was named the best global Training Company in the world in 2007 as ranked by Training Magazine. Also in 2008, under her leadership, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. was inducted into Training Magazine’s Top 10, Training Hall of Fame. In October 2011, The Leadership Center was ranked #2 out of 235 large organizations in Leadership Development by the Leadership Excellence Organization.

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