Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentlemen

I continue to lament the lost art of customer service in our country. When a ray of sunshine breaks through the dismal landscape of poor service, I have to celebrate it and will it to spread.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I had the pleasure to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain in Tucson Arizona.

Before you discount what I am about to say, thinking that not everyone stays at the Ritz, read on. Of course everyone cannot or would not stay at The Ritz. I myself stayed as a guest, as a performance award.

Just prior to staying at the Ritz, we were at a Hampton Inn in Dallas.

Both are hotels where their business is housing guests on a temporary basis. Both have a reception desk, a guest room, a cleaning service and other similarities. You could compare any hotel, in any city, just pick one you have patronized.

One would expect the physical difference in the resorts, the Ritz is a true resort, with restaurants and Spa services.

What struck me so very deeply though, was the difference in the attitude of the employees to the guests. I have stayed in hotels all over the world, and often. I can think of only two with the service levels of the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain, and it made me wonder how that is so. Both hotels I stayed in had reception areas that were pleasant enough, but at the Ritz I felt welcome. I felt like they were glad I was there. At most places I feel invisible, like a number. There is an indifferent reception, ranging from pleasant to surly, and often I have to wait long periods of time to get any service in any area. There is no care about what would make my stay more pleasurable, convenient, or comfortable. I am rarely even given the wi-fi code without asking. No one looks me in the eye and welcomes me. Employees are chatting amongst themselves, poorly trained, and indifferent to guests.

At the Ritz, when I went to the small restaurant in the lobby for lunch, they were so helpful with menu choices, and the manager came by to make sure that each and every guest was having a great experience in his restaurant. Very nice touch. I asked him if he had a minute to talk to me, and he was generous with his time. I told him that every employee in the resort was pleasant and made us feel welcome. Every employee looked me in the eye and wished me a good day, paid attention me and any need I may have had. I wanted to know how they developed that mentality and level of service universally in that resort. He said it was training. They are taught a very simple but powerful lesson. They are all ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. That is how they act every minute while on duty, and that is how they make the guest feel every minute of their stay. It is engrained in every single employee at that resort.

My observation is that this is so simple, and costs NOTHING. So why can’t the employees at every hotel, motel, resort, or restaurant have this same philosophy. It is free! Think of the rewards to the businesses adopting this philosophy. Guests would want to come back. The “feel good” benefits are limitless. Guests would want to stay there to eat, or indulge in other services, shop in stores, spend more dollars, if they had “ladies and gentlemen” serving “ladies and gentlemen”. Cudos to the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain for having the most amazing staff I have ever experienced. What a great job you have done training each of them and having each of them represent the Ritz so well.

This simple but very powerful philosophy changes the feelings of worth not only for the guest, but for the employee. Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. It takes the relationship out of a subservient mentality and puts everyone on equal, but elevated footing. I love it! Did I say it is FREE? There is no excuse for any level of hospitality establishment to NOT adopt this philosophy, and do a little training, to reap great rewards. I would bet their Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews would jump in stars!

To every hospitality business, I challenge you to aspire to this level of service. It costs you nothing, but I have to believe it will pay so many dividends. Why it is not already done, I cannot imagine. So very simple, so very effective, so cost efficient, so beneficial to everyone.