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WL USA – Day 2

The System Behind the Smiles at Ritz-Carlton Hotels

“You can have lots of smiles but unless you’ve got a system behind those smiles, those smiles won’t last very long.” It’s day two on Wavelength USA and Liam and Matt are back to tell us what they learnt about the processes behind great customer service from one of the premier hotel chains in the world.

At Ritz-Carlton Hotels the astonishing customer service is made to look effortless. In fact, relentless systems and processes underpin the organisation to make that great customer experience inevitable – the company is twice winner of the The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for process design, not for customer service. Liam and Matt discuss how to achieve unsupervised great service across a worldwide organisation so that every employee feels both empowered and that “the leaders always have my back”.

Key lessons of the “System Behind the Smiles” include:

  • The Line-Up, which takes place daily across the entire organisation, ensures that “local” and organisational-level information, wow stories and key service processes, such as the Credo, are communicated to everyone from top to bottom every day.

  • The power of storytelling within the organisation. As leaders, what stories do you tell to showcase the behaviours you want to see.

  • Using their intranet system to ensure those great stories are visible across the whole organisation.

  • True empowerment of employees to solve customer issues, such as access to $2,000 without supervisor sign-off.


About: With a 37% market share, Ritz-Carlton Hotels leads the ultra competitive luxury hospitality market. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company employs 38,000 people across 80 properties in 27 countries and has received all the major awards the hospitality industry and leading consumer organisations can bestow. With it’s motto, “We are ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen”, anticipatory customer service is driven into the DNA of every hotel. Read more about the Gold Standards by which the organisation operates.

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