Over the years I have written many times on Ritz Carlton service, including a recent post. I wanted in this post to share another Ritz Carlton story. Since Ritz Carlton is so different than a law firm, what will you learn that you can apply to your practice?
- Ask good questions
- Listen carefully to answers
- Provide an unexpected solution that your client will remember so vividly that he will write about it 15 years later.
In 2005 Our daughter Jill’s wedding took place within a week of mine and Nancy’s 35th anniversary. (This year she celebrated her 15th anniversary and we celebrated number 50)
We had planned an anniversary trip to Hawaii that year and postponed it to November. Just prior to our trip, I received a call on an extremely urgent client matter which required me to cancel our trip to Hawaii for a second time.
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.
Maria told us 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 us and knew he could provide extraordinary service by finding a way for me to have coffee before he opened the club lounge.
One other thing that impressed me: While we were at the hotel several staff members wished us a happy anniversary when they saw us. How did they recognize us? How did they know we were celebrating an anniversary? I was impressed.
For lawyers, when your clients come to you to help them, it is not a Ritz Carlton vacation. Instead you are helping them solve what may be a very difficult problem. How can you apply the Ritz Carlton service to anticipate a client problem and provide a solution to make your client a client for life?