Answer: Customer Engagement.
As our 2009 Most Engaged Customers (MEC) study showed, luxury retailers like the Ritz-Carlton are masters of engagement. 65% of luxury customers are engaged, as compared with only 35% of cable and satellite TV customers. With most industries engaging less then half of their customers, luxury retailers and hoteliers lead the way in engagement. Today, we’ll explore how one company, the Ritz-Carlton, consistently earns high marks for Customer Engagement.
First, let me explain just what I mean by Customer Engagement. 80% of the Ritz-Carlton’s customers are engaged. This means that 80% of their customers agreed or strongly agreed on the following points:
- He or she will return to the Ritz-Carlton.
- He or she will go out of their way to do business with the Ritz-Carlton.
- He or she will recommend the Ritz-Carlton to friends.
- He or she feels love or passion for the Ritz-Carlton brand.
Any score higher than 60% is considered very strong, so the Ritz-Carlton’s Customer Engagement rating is especially impressive, and topped the 2009 Most Engaged Customers list.
The fact that the Ritz-Carlton engaged 80% of customers is especially remarkable given the past year’s economic meltdown. The international economic crisis has led to many luxury consumers cutting unnecessary expenses. High customer engagement ratings are especially hard to come by in today’s market, yet Ritz-Carlton customers wouldn’t dream of staying anywhere else. How does the Ritz-Carlton manage to consistently engage customers, regardless of the market?
Ritz-Carlton President and CEO Simon Cooper traces his company’s success to emotional connections. He says, “It’s all about the people. Nobody has an emotional experience with a thing. We’re appealing to emotions.” The goal, Cooper says, is to develop such a strong emotional engagement between the hotels’ staff and guests that “a guest will not consider staying anywhere else, if they have an option.”
In other words, the Ritz-Carlton is ahead of the curve when it comes to Customer Engagement. Shelves of books have been written about the Ritz-Carlton’s approach to customer service, but the ultimate key to their success is simple: forge a lasting emotional connection with customers.
~Monica Nolan, Account Manager