photo credit: Alina Sofia
Think for a moment about the various touch points customers have with your organization- maybe your website, maybe an automated phone recording, maybe a monthly account statement. But at some point in time, most of your customers will interact with a living, breathing ambassador of your brand. In a world where processes are becoming increasingly less personal, it truly makes a difference to receive individual assistance from a trained professional.
Take the Ritz-Carlton, for example. The hotelier empowers employees to go the extra mile for guests by offering monetary reimbursements for each customer issue they are able to resolve. To find out more about the Ritz’s creative employee recognition program and how to use promotional glass awards or other types of awards to motivate your staff,
According to “Marketers Can Learn From Hotelier’s Philosophy That Employees Are the Brand,” by Michael Bush, in all of the 75 Ritz-Carlton locations around the world, management and staff meet each morning to read from the Commitment to Excellence and Strategic Planning Process, a document containing the hotel chain’s 12 Service Values. They also review a brief article that addresses a topic like the brand’s strategic plans or a problem-solving tactic demonstrated by a Ritz-Carlton employee somewhere around the world. This daily forum reinforces companywide values and goals, in addition to providing a public setting for employee recognition.
From obtaining a photo of a regular guest’s pet and displaying a framed copy of the animal next to the customer’s bed upon check-in, to assisting a frequent guest with shipping a goat to a friend in Pennsylvania as a prank, Ritz-Carlton employees are encouraged to take extreme measures to enhance visitors’ experiences. For every staff member who finds a solution to a customer’s problem, the Ritz reimburses the employee up to $2,000, and managers typically discuss these interactions at morning meetings.
Along with giving workers the autonomy to resolve complaints independently, the hotelier may want to consider implementing an awards program to recognize brand ambassadors who best exemplify its commitment to quality. Perhaps a monthly search for the “Ritz-Carlton Rep Champion,” pitting Ritz employees around the nation or world against one another to fulfill the most outlandish guest requests, would help the chain retain and inspire top-notch staff. Simply sharing stories about noteworthy problem-solvers in front of their colleagues is one way to challenge workers to exceed expectations, but offering a tangible engraved trophy or award to these brand “superstars” may boost employee loyalty and dedication across the entire workforce.