A Dash of Curry Blog

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A messy problem at the Ritz Carlton gives their customer service an opportunity to shine.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the annual gala for the National Federation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) at the Ritz Carlton on 22nd Street, NW in DC. After the event, I retired to the Ritz bar with several of my friends and associates to watch the Washington Capitals hockey game. (If it were Bennigan’s I’d just say “we went to the bar,” but at the Ritz you “retire” to the bar.)

Suddenly we noticed that in a small hallway just off the bar a dark liquid began leaking from the ceiling–first just a drip, then a steady stream. After a moment or two we began to smell something terrible. (Because this is a family blog, I will spare you any further details on the liquid and stench as well as the somewhat crass comments made by some of my friends.)

In short order, several folks from the Ritz maintenance and janitorial staff arrived to investigate and remediate the situation, and the bar manager scurried over to figure out what was going on. But my point isn’t about the problem itself but what happened next.

My friends and associates and I began speculating on how the Ritz’s vaunted customer service operation would respond to make sure its customers did not go away unhappy. In fact because of the Ritz’s great reputation, we wondered if we’d leave talking about their response, not just the leak itself.

Here’s what the Ritz did:

  • They make their presence felt. The bar manager didn’t run and hide, but rather came over and apologized immediately.
  • The manager also brought over a fresh bunch of fragrant flowers to help mask the odor caused by the leak.
  • The bartender took it upon herself to offer a round of drinks on the house–which we quickly and graciously accepted.

It says a lot about their response that after the incident we didn’t just leave altogether. Instead we hung around watching the Caps game and talking about how impressed we were with the manager and the Ritz’s overall approach.

The bottom line is that the Ritz lived up to their reputation. Kudos!

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