I haven’t always had a stellar experience at Ritz-Carlton hotels. In fact, in a lifetime of hotel stays, I’ve had three very disappointing stays at three different Ritz properties. They stand out in the blur of my business travel, however, because they were aberrant — Ritz-Carlton personnel are trained to stretch the boundaries of fine customer service. We expect memorable moments and exceptional service from them.
Blake Davis, one of my Content Pilot colleagues and I stayed at the Philadelphia Ritz-Carlton on a recent business trip. Blake had a dress-shirt mishap (a brand new shirt from Banana Republic – he’s taking it back); the fabric ripped right down the front of his chest. He didn’t have a spare shirt in his suitcase. Before we had a chance to explore viable options that we could fulfill before our 10 a.m. meeting, a Ritz-Carlton employee quietly brought two neatly pressed dress shirts – blue or white – to our breakfast table. Blake chose the blue, quickly changed and we were on our way.
What can law firms learn from this?
The speed and deftness this employee demonstrated in solving Blake’s problem was stunning. This person didn’t detail the list of options, which could have included:
- Tape applied to the back of the shirt to hold it together (not being a seamstress, this is what I suggested).
- Convincing Blake that it wasn’t that bad.
- Finding a department store that opened early enough to squeeze in a shopping trip.
- Wearing yesterday’s shirt.
Lawyers are often inclined to search the enormous range of options when a client presents a problem. This can take hours and days – delaying the solution and resulting in client frustration, fear, anger and budget overruns.
Instead, anticipate client problems so you have some ready solutions in your back-pocket. Ritz-Carlton sees business travelers all the time. Sometimes we have wardrobe malfunctions. So they purchased a few extra shirts, pressed them and they are at the ready – just in case.
Know that the best option – the one that will make your client the happiest – is sometimes very easy for you and will cost almost nothing. Just solve your client’s problem.