Service Recovery: Great Customer Service is a thing of Beauty


The Customers are Fighting Back

I dislike wearing glasses but would need a white stick and a Labrador if I ever lost mine. When they broke recently, I called into an optician in Exchequer street. He fixed the glasses and refused to take money, on the basis that he might secure future custom. He will. Done well, customer service is a thing of beauty.

The Ritz Carlton: Twice winners of the USA’s Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, customer service is legendary at the Ritz Carlton. When we stayed there they figured out it was Cillian’s birthday (passport date) and sent a cake up to the room. On an earlier visit, they’d placed disposable nappies in the room (for girls, aged 18+ months) in anticipation of our arrival. Brilliant attention to detail. Their view is that legendary service is simply three things: 1. common sense 2. common courtesy and 3. treating every customer as if they are a guest in your home. Ritz-Carlton does not want satisfied guests — they want engaged guests. To move a guest from satisfied to engaged they have to make an emotional connection with the service i.e. the hotel has to exceed their expectations. That’s the philosophy underpinning everything they do. Space considerations preclude a rundown of exactly how they deliver exceptional service. But one fundamental point is worth untangling. The Ritz Carlton provide an environment of trust, respect, and high commitment to staff. Central Point: take care of the emotional needs of your employees if you want them to take care of your customers. Simple really.

Walking the Talk: Now perhaps it’s unfair to contrast a leading 5 star hotel with the Regency (3 star) Hotel in Dublin, but here goes anyway. Every Christmas I am faced with the same dilemma. What to buy for 5 sisters? (my brothers are easy). I mean, how much Bailey’s can one small group of women actually drink? So last Christmas, I booked a show in the Regency Hotel. Sonny Knowles and Tony Kenny. We knew all the songs and hand movements (Sonny was a former window cleaner and the audience do a sort of side to side window cleaning mimic to accompany each song). It addition to the walk down memory lane, we all got food poisoning, bringing to mind the line ‘No good deed goes unpunished’.

Service Recovery: I called the hotel to tell them what happened. They said they would call me back. They didn’t. A week later I called them again. Spoke to a different lady. Very polite. They had initial indications that it was the Winter Vomiting Bug, brought into the hotel by a guest i.e. it was not their fault. They would call me back. They didn’t. So I wrote them a nice letter which said that they needed to refund the money for the tickets. They didn’t. So, now I’m telling you the story.

Irish Culture: The Irish culture is built for service recovery. We are full of forgiveness. If you screw up, apologize and make amends. Don’t outsource the blame. Your customers will love you for it. And come back to you to do business again in the future. But don’t take them for granted. The Empire can strike back.

Paul Mooney

The following questions and answers were collated from
British GCSE exams (16 year olds)! This one just keeps on giving…

Q: What is a planet?
A: A body of earth surrounded by sky.

Q: What are steroids?
A: Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.

Q: What happens to your body as you age?
A: When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.

Q; Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.
A: Premature death.

Q: What is the Fibula?
A: A small lie.

Q: What is the most common form of birth control?
A: Most people prevent contraception by wearing a condominium.

Q: Give the meaning of the term “Caesarean Section.”
A: The caesarean section is a district in Rome.

Q: Give an example of a fungus. What is a characteristic feature?
A: Mushrooms. They always grow in damp places and so they look like

Q: What is a turbine?
A: Something an Arab person wears on his head.

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About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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