Culture and Customer Experiences

May 2014

The other day, I attended a fascinating talk by Joe Quitoni, a “Director of Culture Transformation” for the Ritz Carlton Leadership Center. His presentation was of particular interest to me, as in the past couple of weeks I have facilitated client meetings on both customer service excellence and corporate culture. Thus, I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about how a company’s culture impacts customer experiences. One of the basic tenets of the Ritz Carlton’s view of service is that culture trumps strategies. You can have a great product, good processes, and a lofty vision statement, but unless your company culture reflects service values that come alive in each customer interaction, success will be elusive. The Ritz Carlton looks for employees who are able to build strong relationships with guests; who are responsive to their guests’ needs and wishes (even if unexpressed); and who understand they are empowered to create unique, memorable and personal experiences for guests. Actually, those three components speak to what is known as the “mystique” of the Ritz Carlton; they are what set the stage for the “wow” moments and experiences that the organization is known for creating.

One thing I noticed in Joe’s talk was the emphasis on employee engagement in order to help employees go from hearing about the culture the Ritz Carlton nurtures, to believing it, to living it. Each and every day, employees review the company “Credo” (which they also memorize and carry at all times). They share examples and stories of others who are delivering “wow” moments to guests (for a sampling of true stories, check out the company’s website It is worth noting that although every employee can spend up to $2100 per day to solve a problem for a guest, the average amount spent is less than $50 per guest. This is because employees are empowered to solve the problem before it grows (and becomes more costly to fix), and make decisions that result in guests feeling heard, cared for and responded to. Employees learn to listen deeply to a guest. Many of the stories you read about are born out of careful listening to what guests are thinking and feeling.

As a small business owner, I have been reflecting on how my own client service philosophy is embodied here at Coaching Concepts. I always strive to connect deeply through honest, long-term relationships with you, my client; to deliver powerful executive coaching that meets your unique needs and goals as a leader; and to exceed your expectations for responsive service and excellent value. Please call or drop me a note with any feedback or ideas about how I might serve you even better. And, I’m always happy to support you in ensuring that your own company culture is one of providing excellent customer experiences. Thank you, and have a wonderful month!

Warm regards,
Sharon Keys Seal

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