John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog


The Best Customer Service Companies Are Also the Most Paranoid

One common characteristic of the world-class service organizations I have worked with is that they are never content with the level of service they provide. They are constantly trying to raise the bar a little higher and are never satisfied or content with their current level of service.

I recently had the pleasure of working with The Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota. General Manager Jim McManemon is an 18-year veteran of The Ritz-Carlton and has a passion for customer service that can rival anyone’s. He eats, sleeps, and breathes service and is an incredibly motivating leader.

In the weeks leading up to working with Jim and his property, I did my typical due diligence, having him and his leadership team fill out a thorough questionnaire to help me customize my presentation for their group and then having a conference call the week before. On the call with Jim, I asked about his top three objectives for this presentation—what did he want his team to take away. His answer was, “How do we go from good to great, how do we move our guests from satisfied to extremely satisfied, and how do we move our employees from engaged to fully engaged?” He felt that his staff had much more potential. He said, “It is not that we are not capable or not doing great things already, but we want to be doing them 100 percent of the time. We want to go from good to great. We want each employee to be totally engaged with every guest at our resort.”

What manager wouldn’t want that? But here’s the kicker: Just before I had this conversation with McManemon, The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota had just been named a Five-Diamond hotel, again. It had the third highest guest satisfaction rating of any Ritz-Carlton. And what was McManemon’s response to such a high ranking? “I want to know what we aren’t doing that is keeping us from being the highest ranked property.”

I have been a guest there twice, and each time I have been blown away by the service and hospitality I received from every employee. And trust me, as a customer service consultant, I may be the hardest person
to please.

Think about it: If Jim McManemon, whose property is Five-
Diamond, is not satisfied with his rating, what does that say about the rest of us? It may not surprise you that the following year, the Sarasota property ranked #1 in guest satisfaction of all The Ritz-Carlton properties.

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