My wife and I recently spent an evening at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Toronto to celebrate a relationship milestone dear to us both. What we discovered much to our luck (but maybe not a surprise) is that the hotel, its amenities and staff are unparalleled when it comes to service. Now, I haven’t spent much of my time travelling and even less staying in hotels at the luxury class of the Ritz but I have seen enough to know what to expect and believe me, they met our expectations. I would think that anyone would agree that the most important thing, no matter what type of hotel you visit and regardless of locale, has to be how you are treated. The amenities, the image and style can vary but the service, attention to your needs and your experience is what makes the difference. Every time.
This time was no different.
After thoroughly enjoying a lovely evening, exquisite meal and nightcap in the lounge the following morning brought us back to the restaurant for a quick breakfast before getting on with our busy day. During the meal we overheard two gentlemen engaged in a breakfast meeting discussing business development. We couldn’t help eavesdropping because of their animated tone (and the fact that they were sitting right next to us). These two must have forgotten that they were meeting in public. We listened intently in between perusing and chatting about events in the local newspaper and our upcoming holiday plans.
What we heard next was a nice surprise.
They covered the topics of the RFP process, the relationship with their customers, building new business and managing their teams. We made a game out of trying to guess their industry. It sounded astonishingly similar to ours; both of us being with professional services firms in the architecture and design field. The discussion sounded similar to some of the issues we deal with on a daily basis. How hard it is to sustain business on the RFP process alone, who in the team was good with relationships and how challenging it was, in this market, to compete on the many customer service levels of their business. Funny thing is that they always cycled back around to the customer relationship angle. Hardly an angle they surmised but an essential business tool to maintain and grow their business. “You can’t just focus on RFP responses” one said. “You can’t spend all your time growing and nurturing the team” opined the other. “Hey, without clients there is no team, no business” they agreed. All the while, we nodded our agreement from our table. And on they went. For how long, who knows? We finished up and left them to their discussion.
We were surrounded by the example.
That conversation leads me back to the Ritz. The Ritz knows how to treat their clientele. Tourists, corporate retreats and events are likely their primary source of income. Regardless of how you slice it the endgame always comes back to people. They have figured out what matters most. The decor is a matter of taste and personal opinion. Luxury is certainly a driver for the Ritz in the clientele they attract, however, without the attention to you, their customer, the best style, decor and environment wouldn’t matter. This is not unique to any business, asset or product. Treat your employees with the utmost respect, train them well for the environment and they will reciprocate by treating their job and your clients with the utmost of respect. After all, doesn’t it cost you many times more to obtain a new client than to maintain an existing one? I bet that goes the same with employees.
Can you hear what I hear?
It’s amazing what you hear when you listen. No matter where you go or what you do you will hear this story told in many different ways over and over. Someone who is treated well will most often repeat their story as likely as a person who is mistreated. So, wouldn’t you want to hear the positive story more often than the critical one? I know, I know, it’s a redundant question but it’s good to ask yourself once in a while.
So, with that thought in mind:
- Rack up some points.
- Change some stuff in your life.
- Help someone.
- Do some good.
Or just buy a round.
It will make you feel good. It will make everyone else feel appreciated. And good vibes is what it’s all about. They will ripple back to you at the same amplitude that they went out. Infinitely.
What have you heard?