For the second year in a row, The Ritz-Carlton has won the top spot in PeopleMetrics' Most Engaged Customers study. The 2010 MEC study found that 79% of Ritz-Carlton customers are engaged--that is, they demonstrate high loyalty/retention, effort, advocacy, and passion for the Ritz-Carlton. That the Ritz-Carlton offers unparalleled service is not news. What this year's 2010 Most Engaged Customers study reveals is the reasons why the Ritz-Carlton continues to succeed, even as a luxury brand in these difficult economic times. By conducting interviews with over 5,000 customers, PeopleMetrics discovered that customer engagement is rooted in six different characteristics. The Ritz-Carlton's Credo contains all six factors.
This Credo is essentially a mission statement. It is the promise that the Ritz-Carlton Ladies and Gentlemen make to their customers. Unlike many mission statements, however, the Ritz-Carlton Credo is actually a part of employees' daily lives. Each morning, in a worldwide, all-staff meeting dubbed "the line-up," the Credo is read aloud. Moreover, a pocket-sized card displaying the Credo is part of Ritz-Carlton employees' daily uniform. Below, we analyze the Ritz-Carlton Credo according to the six factors the Most Engaged Customer study determined to be the crucial ingredients of Customer Engagement, or as we like to think about it, Customer Love.
The Offer. Before a customer can be engaged, he or she must be attracted to the brand by a compelling offer. The Ritz-Carlton's offer is a luxurious experience. As one customer explained, "It's a first-class experience." In our full 2010 Most Engaged Customers report, we list six additional types of compelling experiences that can draw customers toward a certain brand.
Care. The first step toward customer loyalty is to express care for the customer. Does the company care about my business? customers ask themselves. Customer Care is the Ritz-Carlton's highest mission, according to the company's Credo.
Consistency. A compelling offer and customer care can't guarantee long-term customer engagement and loyalty; for that, a company must achieve consistency. A single word in the Ritz-Carlton Credo, "always," promises that Ritz-Carlton employees will deliver a caring, luxurious experience every time.
Trust. With the three traits listed above, a company can achieve customer satisfaction. To earn customer loyalty, the company must achieve customer trust. The 2010 Most Engaged Customers study found that trust is like the silver-lining of company errors; every service mistake is really an opportunity to win customer trust by making things right. One Ritz-Carlton customer explained how the hotel won trust: "Years ago, I had a problem with a room at the hotel in Cancun. I was given 2 free nights to make up for it." Clearly, Ritz-Carlton employees follow through on the Credo's pledge to "fulfill even the unexpressed wishes and needs" of customers.
Effort. The final two ingredients in Customer Engagement are challenging to acheive, but absolutely crucial in attaining Customer Engagement. Extraordinary employee effort is one step toward Customer Engagement. Employees who go above and beyond their duties show the kind of effort that engages customers. This is where Employee Engagement contributes to Customer Engagement. Ritz-Carlton employees put extra effort into providing "the finest personal service" for their guests.
Genuine. Full Customer Engagement is achieved when customers find a company's performance genuine. Customers can spot fake smiles. They love it when employees know them by name. They love it when employees treat them as a friend would. The Ritz-Carlton Credo prioritizes genuine service as the hotel's highest goal, and Ritz-Carlton employees follow through on that promise. As one Ritz-Carlton guest put it in the 2008 MEC study, “Everyone, including the maid, addresses me by name every time they see me. I always feel special, and always feel like I’ve come home again.” (Ritz-Carlton Guest)
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Posted on 10-27-2010