There are over 100 Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts scattered across the world. The brand is commonly associated with luxury, but did you know that the Ritz-Carlton has one of the strongest customer experience reputations going around?
Let me explain why with a simple story.
A few years ago, a couple with a young son travelled to Florida for a holiday.
Family holidays - gotta love them.
They decided to ‘live it up’ on the trip by staying at the Ritz-Carlton. After an unforgettable vacation, they arrived back home only to realise that they forgot one important thing…. Joshie!
Who was Joshie?
Joshie was the name of the son’s beloved plush toy giraffe.
For those of you with kids, this is probably what you look like right now...
The tears started flowing from the son. Faced with a situation that every parent fears, the dad decided to make up a few white lies. He told his son that Joshie was still at the hotel having an extended holiday.
Time started ticking.
He called the hotel and explained the situation (including the lies he told his son) and asked if the hotel staff could find Joshie and send him back as soon as possible.
A few days passed and a package arrived in the mail.
The package was from the Ritz-Carlton. Not only did they find Joshie and send him back, but they also included a few memorable photos.
The dad now had the photos to prove that Joshie did indeed have an extended vacation. Forever grateful, he decided to write an article about this ’wow moment’ and it went viral. The positive impact on reputation from this one gesture proved to be far more powerful than spending millions of dollars on marketing could have ever been.
Customers love to share their positive and negative experiences with family, friends and colleagues. 95% of people that have a bad experience with a brand, product or service will share that experience with someone else. In turn, 87% of people that have a great experience will share their story. No one talks about the experiences between the bad and the great because they're having their expectations met.
To put it simply, as a business you want to decrease these customer experiences:
And increase these customer experiences:
According to a CX Transformation Benchmark study, eight out of ten customers will switch companies due to poor customer experience. The study also found that 70 percent of these customers are willing to pay more for a product or service that has a positive reputation when it comes to customer service.
Zappos is a leading customer-centric company. They regularly provide their customers with ‘wow moments’, as evidenced by their surprise shipping upgrades. If a regular customer places an order online before midnight, they will receive the package on their doorstep before they leave for work the next morning. This leads to these customers sharing the positive experience with people they know.
Word of mouth continues to be a leading revenue generator for businesses with 74% of consumers identifying word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.
As Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos) explains, this is a very expensive ‘wow moment’ but their “philosophy has been to take most of the money we would have spent on paid advertising and invest it into customer service and the customer experience instead, letting our customers do the marketing for us through word of mouth”.
Given their customer-focused approach, it should come as no surprise that Amazon acquired Zappos in 2009 for over $1 billion.
In a recent study, Bain and Company found that while 80% of companies believe they deliver “super experiences,” only 8% of customers actually agree. Companies are none the wiser.
A big reason for this is the lack of feedback that customers provide after negative experiences. Only one out of 26 unhappy customers will make a complaint to a company when they have a bad experience. What happens to the other 25 customers? They look for another provider.
If your company is serious about enhancing the customer experience, then consider the following:
It takes twelve positive experiences to counteract just one negative experience with a company.
We live in a world where every customer wants to be treated as if they are the most important and if they don’t it is easier than it has ever been for them to switch to a competitor. It is not too late to start providing your customers with positive experiences that they remember and more importantly, experiences that they want to share.
This report draws on our work driving change at large companies as well as from thought leadership in the space of not just management literature, but also evolutionary biology, psychology and sociology, because in order to see things clearly and influence human behaviour, we need to think holistically.