A few years ago I wrote a Practical Lawyer article: How a Law Firm Can Provide Ritz Carlton Service.
I I believe it is no accident Ritz Carlton is known for its outstanding service. The hotel hires the right people, trains them better than any other hotel, and empowers them to do something extraordinary for a guest.
In a book every lawyer should read: The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company the author writes:
In the culture Ritz Carlton, which emphasizes Service Values like ‘I am empowered to create unique, memorable, and personal experiences for our guests’ and ‘I own an immediately resolve guest problems,’ the choice to shift responsibility to someone else is not an option.
When I was coaching Canadian lawyers, I stayed at a hotel in Calgary. When I checked in I was given two breakfast certificates. I knew I would not be able to use the second one because I had to be at the airport before the restaurant opened and I would be eating breakfast on the flight. So, as an experiment, I asked the front desk clerk if I could possibly apply the amount of the breakfast certificate (about $12) to my dinner at the same restaurant.
She looked at me and said:
“I am sorry Mr. Parvin, these are breakfast certificates and can only be used for breakfast.”
Now, I was just trying an experiment to see what the response would be. It wasn’t really a big deal for me or the hotel. After all it was only $12. But, it pointed to one of the reasons Ritz Carlton shines. and other hotels do not.
At a Ritz Carlton hotel the person at the front desk would have had the authority to do something. She might say:
“We can’t let you use the certificate towards dinner, but how would you feel if we upgraded your room?”
Here is the sad thing: I believe if you asked clients which of these two experiences would best describe their experience working with your law firm, the majority, and perhaps the vast majority, would say my experience in Calgary is closer to the experience they have with their law firms.
I wonder what would happen to profits per partner at a law firm that matched Ritz Carlton’s approach to hiring, training and empowering their lawyers and staff?