Ritz-Carlton: Integrating Customer Service On and Offline

Full disclosure- this blog is not about an experience that happened to me. But it’s so remarkable, that I asked my friend if I could blog about it. (She said yes.)

My friend Lisa was recently at a wedding at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, FL. As you’d expect, she received the full-on pampered treatment: Fresh cucumber towels handed to her right at the end of her workout, perfect comfy beach chairs with umbrellas on the beach and yummy drinks with fruit hanging off the sides, etc etc.

As most people do, Lisa decided to post on Facebook about the amazing weather in Florida, her experience at the Ritz - Carlton, and her general satisfaction about her mini-vacation. She also “liked” The Ritz – Carlton Resorts of Naples Page on Facebook so she could tag her location.

At 6:23pm, she posted, “Room w/ a view & just chillaxin before the big wedding!!” with some cute palm tree, drink, and happy face emoticons to illustrate her mood. At 6:47pm (not even a half hour later), the Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples, responded by writing this on Lisa’s page “Dear Lisa - Welcome to The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples! We are delighted you are enjoying yourself and we are also looking forward to celebrating this special occasion. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make your stay even more enjoyable.”

Now, you may think ok that’s not so remarkable; they have a social media manager who responds when people tag them. To that, I’d say two things. 1. They did what all service brands know they should be doing, but most are not. And 2. Just wait, it gets even better.

In their response, the Ritz – Carlton Resorts of Naples did a couple of things well. They called Lisa by name to make the response feel more personal. They also acknowledged she was there for a wedding to once again make it personal. And finally they asked if there was anything else they could be doing. The Ritz - Carlton is known for customer service, so this reinforces one of their main value propositions.

When I was trolling Facebook that day, I thought: very smart Ritz – Carlton! Not only did you make Lisa feel even better than she already did by sitting on that beach, but you also showed all of Lisa’s friends how you service your patrons. (AND I might add, made all of Lisa’s Facebook friends insanely jealous).

The story could end here, and nice job Ritz – Carlton, everyone’s happy. But the next day, Lisa returned to her room after sitting on the beach for a few hours and enjoying their amenities to find two huge chocolate chip cookies, two bottles of water, and a note from the Ritz’s Communications Coordinator, saying “Thank you for following us on Facebook! Your photos of the resort are fantastic! We hope you enjoy the remainder of your stay.”

Immediately, Lisa posted a picture of the card and cookies on Facebook and raved that the Ritz - Carlton is the best. Everybody won in this scenario. Lisa won because she was being treated like a princess (who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies?!?), she was at a fabulous resort enjoying the sun and spending time with her friends for a happy occasion, she received an unexpected gift, and overall life was good.

The Ritz –Carlton won because all of Lisa’s friends commented on her post about how wonderful it was that Lisa received the note and cookies, so it was - in essence -free positive publicity for the resort. Plus, the Ritz - Carlton got to once again reinforce their superior customer service by integrating on and offline experiences. And let’s call it what it is, I am now blogging about this because from a social media and marketing perspective, it was so well-done. So Kudos to the Ritz – Carlton for going above and beyond and executing their level of expertise in another dimension.

Other companies who are not known for this excellent customer service should still take note of this story for a couple of good learnings:

1.     If you’re not known for great customer service, this is an example of one way to start to improve that. Attention to details is important, but staffing a social media person to make these experiences happen is crucial.

2.     Listening to your customers is key. Lisa was extremely satisfied, so this was an easy one for the Ritz – Carlton to take advantage of, but if she was complaining, you better believe that the Ritz would have done something on and offline to try to rectify the situation as soon as possible.

3.     All of your marketing should be integrated and work to enhance the customer experience.

Your Simple Social Media Guide for Business

1.     You should buy a vowel. A good checklist before you post is to run through the vowels -  Authority, Entertaining, Informative, Out of the Ordinary or Useful?

Authority –If you’re posting for your business, you should keep in mind that your posts are a reflection of your brand. To be seen as the authority in your industry, your posts should be used to demonstrate your leadership and knowledge, set you apart from your competitors, and show your unique selling propositions.  

Entertaining - People like to laugh, so using an entertaining post is always a good choice. If it’s a video that could double on America’s Home Video and is relatable to your business, (the boss is in it, your product is in it, etc) it will most likely be a successful post with people sharing it with their own connections.

Informative - If the post includes information that will make someone’s life easier, then it’s probably a good post. This includes traffic – (don’t take 76 because there are 36 accidents between Conshohocken & 676), weather (take an umbrella because it’s going to be wet one), and other breaking news (OMG –  Joan Rivers died.)

The best way to post this information is as soon as you know it, so you are first to market and not the 7,000th person to say the same thing. Once again the posts should relate to your business. If you are a venue or sponsor hosting an event, traffic news may be very helpful to your readers.

Out of the Ordinary – People like to see the unexpected. If there’s a picture of a bulldog “driving” your company tractor or a bus on fire on the highway while you’re driving to a conference, people will be intrigued to learn more about what’s going on.  

Useful – If the post explains how to do something related to your business (build a shed if you are a tool or wood company, put on smoky eye makeup if you are a makeup, wedding, or brush company, etc) then people find it helpful and are more likely to share or like the post.

 

2.     Does the post have a good image accompanying it?

People LOVE to see other people. Facial expressions make us feel something: happy, sad, mad, glad….all the “ad” words. Instead of showing a picture of an inanimate product, show people using and enjoying that product. If you are a service, it’s even more important to use people in your posts, so it humanizes your services and your brand.  If you show an inanimate product or place, make sure the quality is good and what’s being shown is clear and understandable.

Other things people love to see are adorable babies, cute animals, and celebrities. If you have a picture of Beyonce holding a chubby baby in one hand and a cute bunny in the other, it’s a winner! And if your CEO is posing next to Ms. B with his or her arm around her, it’s a REAL winner.

Posts with pictures have a substantially higher share rate than posts without. Images should be high quality and show your product and colleagues in a good and professional light.

 

3.     Does the post exude exclusivity?

People love to see behind-the-scenes. Anything that the general public cannot normally see would be a good item to post (unless you have rules or obligations under confidentiality agreements, etc). If you have a pic showing beautiful food being prepped by the chef, speakers being mic-ed, or a special packaging being used on a product, post it and explain what’s going on and why it’s important to your brand. Readers want to be the first to know, the first to share, and the first to see the inner-workings behind products, events, or occasions.  

 

4.     Is the post on-brand?

This is an important thing to keep in mind. Even if the post is humorous, exclusive, or informative, if it’s off-brand, it’s not a good post for your company. Brand Guidelines should dictate what the general brand tone, messaging and identity are, so they are a good place to start when considering if a post is on-brand or not.

Keep in mind what you want your company to be known for, what you want your business goals to be, and how your company is different from the rest. How can your posting ultimately drive traffic to your business? If you’re ecommerce, your beautiful pictures of your products should drive people online to purchase those products. If you’re B2B, your posts should show that you are the expert in that field.

A lot of this is common sense, but sometimes it’s easy to reactively post on Social Media, or scramble for content without actually taking time to ensure that you are posting for a good reason, eventually leading back to sales for your company.

Elysium Marketing Group can help you create the perfect social media strategy, minus the stress! Explore some of our work here.