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« A Capitol Idea | Main | Don't Be A Lame Doc »

Customer Service & The Ritz Carlton Bar

If you're in the service business, and aren't we all, set your sights on the Ritz Carlton.

My father in-law. Pete, recently turned 85 a few days before Christmas. For a present, my wife flew to Forida and took him and his girl friend (yes, there is hope for us all) to the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota for a few days. Pete grew up in Wimber, Pennsylvania, the son of a hard-rock coal miner, loves the Steelers and drinks Michelob Ultra. So, the Ritz Carlton was quite a treat.

When my wife made the reservation, she mentioned to the reservations agent that they would be celebrating a special birthday. In the ensuing 2 days, Pete enjoyed 3 brithday cakes, a frosty mug of Michelob Ultra waiting for him in the lobby, and greetings from the valet, who, noticing Pete's Steeltown licence plate decoration, mentioned he was a big Steelers fan as well, and, in fact, grew up in Wimber.

The Ritz Carlton Hotel organization is the only service company to win the Baldridge Award for Excellence twice. Joseph Michelli, bestselling author of "The Starbucks Experience" explains how they do it in "The New Gold Standard" and defines 5 leadership principles -define and refine, empower through trust, it's not about you, deliver "wow" and leave a lasting footprint.

I used to be a Baldridge examiner for the healthcare award and can attest to the rigor of the process. The criteria include visionary leadership, customer-driven excellence, organizational and person learning, agility, focus on the future, managing for innovation, attention to results and creating value, and social responsibility.

Using the Ritz as your benchmark for service will help your medical practice and well as  any para-medical or non-medical business you've created.  At, for example, we try to apply the Ritz lessons to anticipating the needs of our clients and exceeding their expections.

The Ritz Carlton 3 steps of service are:

1. A warm and sincere greeting. Use the guest's name.

2. Anticipation and fulfillment of each guest's needs

3. Fond farewell.Give a warm good-bye, and use the guest's name.

While the lion and crown are not the logo on my white coat, the Ritz Carlton service lessons are a great bechmark to emulate. Give them a try.

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