Service with a Side Salad

Services for Real Estate Pros with

I had lunch today with a colleague at the River City Grill in the Cincinnati Marriot Northeast in Mason, Ohio. I ordered a Rueben and my lunch guest had a salad - ordinary working lunch, right? Far from it. Our lunch was an experience in delivering great customer service. My guest wanted a salad she had enjoyed at that same restaurant a long time ago. Not seeing it on the menu, she mentioned the salad to our server who informed us it was no longer on the menu. No problem, my lunch guest simply ordered something else from the menu and our server left to turn in the orders.

Here is where the story takes a twist. Marriott owns Ritz Carlton, a name synonomous with legendary customer service. Within seconds our server was back and politely informed us that if my guest would prefer the off-menu salad, the chef said it would be his pleasure to make it for her. My friend was delighted and within a few minutes was enjoying the salad, beautifully presented and served, not with a flourish, but with understated, unobstrusive professionalism - as if going above and beyond was standard, rather than exceptional, practice. From beginning to end, the service was extremely good, with each our statisfactory responses met by the classic Ritz Carlton acknowledgement "my pleasure."

And that brings me to what I love about Ritz Carlton training: the commitment to a higher standard of service with a consistancy that is unparalleled. It was not serving a salad that gave our server "pleasure." It was quietly and efficiently exceeding the expectations of two business people stopping in for a working lunch. We were not staying at the hotel, nor were we there for a 4-star culinary experience. In fact, the majority of the menu was rather pricey. But that is the crux of the Ritz Carlton training and the required commitment of everyone at every level of the organization: people are instrinsically willing to pay a little more for an experience that exceeds reasonable expectations.

Years ago, I was fortunate to work for an organization that recognized the importance of this philosophy. We worked with the Ritz Carlton Leadership Center to develop a culture of delivering great service beyond the wildest expectations of our customers. It was an amazing experience on many levels. First and foremost, you can apply this philosophy to any business, organization or department. Commitment to this concept also creates an awareness of service standards all around you - some inspiring, but most sadly lacking. In today's world of do-it-yourself, automated customer support, and self-serve concepts, we have come to accept poor and, worse, no customer service. When one experiences great customer service, delivered with a quiet confidence only possible through repetition and commitment, it hits you like a thunderbolt. You talk about it (or in this case, blog) with others, you set new standards (consciously and subconsciously) for your own performance and that of others. Can you identify someone right now who exhibits legendary service? I made a mental list today of some people in my sphere who are great examples of legendary service providers. My list included an auto mechanic, a librarian, a veterinarian, a nursing home housekeeper, a receptionist, an interior designer and my primary care physician.

So, the challenge is to evaluate your most basic services and customer interactions. For most of us, it goes like this: request, response, receipt. Now, ask yourself, where in this process can I inject a little something more? How can I insert a little extra into ordinary? That is the difference between good service and legendary service. And here is the best part: consistantly delivering legendary service has a ripple effect. It generates repeat and referral business, which ensures future production and growth.

And, finally, to the staff it the Cincinnai Marriot Northeast River City Grill... thanks for an inspiring lunch. The pleasure was mine!


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Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains

Isn't that a nice concept!  Going above and beyond as a standard and not an exception.  Inspiring post.

Sep 22, 2009 03:12 AM #1
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Linda Wasson

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