Last week I wrote about client service and the difference between my experience with my Apple Mac computer and my PC. Even though there are differences in the computers, for me the two computers function in much the same way. The real difference is the experience owning and using my Mac computer. It is the service at the Apple store at the Genius Bar, in the group training that is offered and in my one-on-one training. Apple isn’t the only company focused on providing extraordinary service. I recently came across a great Wall Street Journal article on service titled “Selling the Special Touch.”  
If you want to learn some valuable ideas about client service read the article and even consider going to the training Ritz Carlton offers on client service. I have experienced client service the Ritz Carlton way first hand.
In 2005 my daughter got married within a week of mine and Nancy’s 35th anniversary. So, we planned an anniversary trip to Hawaii in November. An extremely urgent client matter came up which required me to cancel our trip to Hawaii. We then decided we would take a three day weekend and go to the Ritz Carlton at Marina del Rey in Southern California. As a treat we decided to stay on the club level. (If you haven’t ever done it, stay at least one time on the club level at a Ritz Carlton.). Two days before our check-in I received a call at my office from Maria. She worked on the club level and she wanted to talk with me about my upcoming trip. She asked if I had any special requests. I reported we would be landing at LAX at about 8:30 AM and would really appreciate an early check-in. Then she asked if this was a special occasion. I told her it was a belated 35th anniversary trip.
Two days later we arrived at the hotel at about 9:15 AM. People were checking out. When we got to the front of the line to check in, the person behind the desk called Maria over to greet us. She told us she would check us in on the club level. She said there were two different rooms with different views that were available now. After we selected the room we liked best, Maria checked us in and introduced us to Tom who was the day manager of the club level lounge. At a point Tom asked if I had any questions about the club level. I asked what time they opened on Saturday morning. I think he said 7:00 on the weekends. Since that would be 9:00 Dallas time, I wanted coffee earlier in the morning. I asked where the closest Starbucks was. He told me and said they likely opened about 7:00 on Saturday also. I thought he was wrong about that, but I didn’t say anything.
In the afternoon, Nancy and I went for a long walk along the water. When we got back to our room we found a coffee pot, two Ritz Carlton mugs, enough Starbucks coffee to last a week and a couple of other treats from Starbucks. Tom’s handwritten note wished us a happy anniversary and told us to keep the Ritz Carlton mugs as an anniversary gift from the hotel. I was blown away. Tom had obviously listened to me and knew he could provide extraordinary service by finding a way for me to have coffee before he opened the club lounge.
For many of us as lawyers, when our clients come to us to help them, it is not a Ritz Carlton vacation. Instead we are helping them solve what may be a very difficult problem. How can we apply the Ritz Carlton service to that help we give our clients?