My Week as a
Room-Service Waiter at the Ritz
The author went through a
two-day orientation and then spent a week as a room-service waiter at the
Ritz-Carlton/Boston Common. From
this experience it drew some lessons about encouraging outstanding customer
thing seems clear the great customer service should be based on that and
principles rather than a rigid formula. You
don't mind that employees say, "certainly, my pleasure," until it
feels right to them you don't nervously assumed every guest wants to be
pampered; this some people just want to eat their dinners.
recent study of hotel workers that researchers at Cornell's School of Hotel
Administration found that, while job satisfaction plays a major role in employee
retention, it isn't the key factor in a hotel's ability to provide excellent
customer service. Rather, it is
employees' emotional commitment -- which is achieved in part through symbols and
rituals that enhance employees' sense of identity with the company -- that
contributes most to superior performance."
This brings to mind Captain
Abrashoff’s efforts, as told in Its Your
Ship, to establish the tradition and history of the USS Benfold through
stories of the bravery of the former naval officer for whom she was named,
pictures of prior ships bearing that name, etc.
In this article, the offer
goes on to talk about how much effort to get splits into assessing job
candidates for the qualities the company believes a crucial to its success.
They have a standard interview format, with a scoring system.
"Since instituting its candidate assessment system in 1991,
Ritz-Carlton says it has reduced its annual turnover rate from 55%, roughly the
industry average, to 28%." What
procedures and instruments do school systems typically have in place to assess
the qualities of potential new teachers? Based
on the efforts of the Gallup
and the Haberman Educational
Foundation, it would seem many systems have very little other than the
experience and judgment of a principal or some human resources personnel to go
The article ends with the
dedicated to providing what might be called ‘extreme’ customer service may
need to recognize that -- like great military, government, or religious service
-- it is, in the end, they truly selfless endeavor.
They may need to establish such practices as the formal invocation of a
customer-centered credo. They might
even consider providing workers with a weeklong immersion in the experience of
being a customer! Whatever the
means, the aim would be getting employees to leave their egos at the door and
adopt the mind-set of the people they’re serving.”
If this is true for being a
room-service waiter, how much more so for being a teacher in any school in America
This note written July, 2003.