Ritz-Carlton: “We fix any problem, even if it costs $2000”

President Herve Humler reveals leadership and customer service insights
In an interview in Forbes magazine, Herve Humler, president and chief operating officer of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, responds to questions about high hospitality service standards.
Interviewer Micah Solomon says: “The easiest way I know to terrify an audience of business leaders is to describe to them how the Ritz-Carlton allows any employee in your organisation to fix any guest problem, without asking for permission – even if it costs up to $2000,” asking Humler to discuss this.
Humler responds by talking about “empowerment”, or “the power of our employees to break away from the routine” to “bring value to the guest”. If a guest “expresses a desire for something different from what you are currently doing now, you cater to it”.
He stresses to employees: “You are not servants, because unlike a servant, I want you to be engaged with the customer – you have a brain, you have a heart and I want you to use them.”
The interviewer then says: “My impression is that every employee in your organization – and I mean housekeepers as well as executives – knows every one of your brand’s philosophical principles by heart,” in contrast to other hotel companies.
Humler replies: “I encounter executives sometimes from other companies who tell me, ‘Oh, yes. We have a mission statement – it’s about four or five pages long. It’s somewhere in the CEO’s office and accumulates a thicker layer of dust every year.’ The problem in these cases is that the vision or the mission of the company isn’t shared with the employees! The executive attitude they’re showing here is that employees don’t work to create excellence, they only work for a paycheck. I disagree with this wholeheartedly.”
Forbes
[pictured: Executive deluxe room at The Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur; courtesy The Ritz-Carlton]

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