ritz carlton croppedI had an unexpected opportunity to stay at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Charlotte, NC over the weekend. This was my first stay at a 5-star hotel. It didn’t take long to see exactly what sets them apart.

As I enjoyed my stay, I was struck at how many businesses could benefit from truly understanding and committing to 5-star service. Whether you are a solo-prenueur with an outsourced team or you have a team of employees, I am clear that we can learn from their model.

Here are a few things I observed:

1. They thought through every detail. From the moment you drive up into their portico to the moment you check in at the front desk your experience is maximized. The gentlemen who greeted you as I drove up literally RAN to open my door. They were absolutely focused on servicing my every need. One even offered to throw out the trash I was gathering from the meal I had on the way to my destination.

2. Image was important to them. They removed every possible distraction down to the uniforms their employees were wearing. We spent some time down in the lobby enjoying live jazz music and I noticed that their female lounge staff had on little black dresses. They did not leave it up to the employee to get their own. The company provided them so they could look classy and consistent.

3. Cleanliness. I am one of those people who usually don’t walk in hotel rooms barefoot. But I did over the weekend. Even the warmed marble floors in the bathroom were spotless. I was walking around barefoot before I even realized it.

4. Luxury is in the details. They thought through every need of their target market. There was no need to use your own cord to charge your phone or iPad at night. They had every type of cord available on the market near the desk for you. Did you need a stapler? They had that. Did you need to jot a note down on a sticky note? They had that, too. I have always known that true luxury is in the details and in our ability to think through every aspect of our client’s experience. They truly nailed this one.

5. They were discreet. I had to laugh at myself because I could not locate a door sign to request privacy. They didn’t have any. It wasn’t until my second day there that I finally noticed that they have an electronic system that lets housekeeping staff know if you would like privacy or to have your room cleaned. There were no door tags, just a small red or green light underneath the room number on the door. I loved that it was discreet and gave all of the control to the guest with no interruptions or inconvenience of having your door sign fall off and be overlooked.

Oh! And last but not least. One of the doormen ran actually remembered my name from meeting him only briefly the day before. Needless to say, I was impressed. As if that is not impressive enough, they left two chocolate cookies on the seat of my car when the valet parking returned it to me.

Yes, the distinction in 5-star service was evident and I was reminded to make sure that I am doing the best possible job I can serving my clients, students and others with top-notch service. I’m working on it. Let’s start with being responsive to all voice mail messages and emails and we’ll keep building from there.

How can you improve your customer and client experience so you can also have 5-star service?

Dedicated to Your Success,