It was the summer of 2012 when the Hurn family decided to spend their holidays at The Ritz-Carlton hotel on Amelia Island, Florida. The vacations were good: good weather, excellent service, very good food and unforgettable experiences.
But, everything that begins has an end, and so they left for home. Upon arrival, they noticed that something was missing: the most precious toy of one of the children, his stuffed giraffe named Joshie. When the child asked, his parents replied that, as it liked the hotel so much, it wanted to stay a few more days on vacation.
That same night, a hotel employee called to report that they had found a toy in the room where they were staying, the parents told him the story they had invented to their son and, to make it more credible, asked if they could take some pictures of Joshie in the hotel hammocks. The surprised employee replied that he would gladly do so.
The employee told the anecdotal request to his boss, who congratulated him for accepting the request and together they decided to surprise the client.
Days later, the doorbell rang and a package was delivered. It was sent by The Ritz-Carlton and it contained Joshie, and many other surprises: some documentation detailing the stuffed animal’s experience in the hotel; an envelope with a VIP card from The Ritz-Carlton with its photo and its name engraved on it: Joshie Hurn!At the request of the photo in the hammocks, they added sunglasses that made him look very cool and other pictures of him at the spa and with some friends (dolls forgotten in the hotel by other people).
The couple was so amazed by this that they told everyone about their experience with the hotel and the story was heard by a lot of people around the world.
Will that be valuable to the hotel? I have no doubt. Reputation and brand value is something that costs to win and, there’s nothing better than your own clients recommending you without you having to ask them for it. Nothing better than your clients talking about their charming experiences with your employees.
What did the extraordinary hotel employee do to create this emotional bond with the brand?
What he achieved with the Hurn family would not have been achieved even with thousands of dollars invested in advertising, the honest opinion of a satisfied client is not comparable with what contracted actors can say.
The “cost” of this experience was the time spent on Joshie —for the photos, packing it and sending it— and the love they put into achieving the smile of this family that, thanks to all this, now does not stop telling and viralizing their story around the world. We can pay for the employee’s time; now how do we pay for their love?
For this, it is necessary to ask the employee to go beyond the written protocol, not only to smile and provide answers on time, but also to listen to the clients’ voice every day -measure their level of satisfaction-, walk that extra mile to make their experience extraordinary, they should take more care about the customer than the business. This is what makes you get the most benefits; favor the employees’ personal development and emotional intelligence regarding contact with the client and thus achieve the transition from Customer Service to Customer Experience. Companies that implement these methods obtain benefits that are multiplied compared to organizations that do not place the customer at the center of the scene.
All of us as employees like to say “my client.”
Taking ownership of the client is taking care of that bond, connecting emotionally, and when that person transcends the business, we are in front of an experience more than in front of a transaction.
A manual and a care protocol can be written, but even if it is done and we look at it, we would not be looking at people. The customer experience arises from the employee’s “being”, not from his “doing”: if the employee follows a formula and works according to regulations, we are focusing on the attention concept and we are not transcending towards the experience.
Joshie taught us that it is happy employees who take action beyond the process that makes happy customers. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is in the culture of the company.