Ritz-Carlton: “Wired” To Be a Service Hero

I don’t always get the opportunity to stay at The Ritz-Carlton, but when I do, and when I have a choice in Washington, D.C., I really enjoy the 14th street hotel. I love its location, and I really enjoy the adjoining fitness club and spa that is available to those staying. It was nice that when I checked in, they upgraded me to a complimentary suite. Not traveling to D.C. much in recent years, I haven’t stayed very often, but when it first opened over 10 years ago, I had stayed a few dozen times. It’s a favorite.

Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C.
Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C.

After my stay the other day, as I was heading to the airport this evening from a week spent with one our clients, I realized I had left two chargers in my room. I love all things Apple, but the charger for the Apple Watch is painfully expensive. I thought perhaps I might have time prior to my flight to go back into D.C. and pick it up. I called the hotel and asked for lost and found. Once connected, I explained my dilemma, but informed him that if he could find it right away I would have time to drive by and pick it up.

They called back within a half hour and informed me that housekeeping could not find it. I asked if they could mail it to me once they found it, and they took the necessary information to do so. I went on to check my car back in at the airport. Afterwards, as I was walking toward the terminal I received another call from the gentleman in lost and found. He informed me that housekeeping had finally found the devices, and that he would gladly have a driver bring it out to me at the airport.


I’m not easily wowed, but for those of you who have lost a thing or two in a hotel, you know that it generally takes several days to get any word that the item has been found–if they find it! And by then, you’re offering up a debit card number to have it shipped to you. Here they were willing to bring it to me by Cadillac Escalade. When was the last time you had your power cord delivered by Cadillac Escalade?

Service recovery is legendary at Ritz-Carlton, but usually the stories are when something big went wrong, and the ladies and gentleman of the hotel stepped up to the plate to address it. This wasn’t a die for, but it was needed as I was turning around to another trip, and really didn’t want the hassle and price of purchasing another power cord for my Apple Watch.

In our book, Lead With Your Customer, we discuss being a service hero even when it’s not the organization’s fault, but when it really is important to the customer. We talk about a child dropping an ice cream cone at Disney, but Disney replaces the cone. It’s not Disney’s fault that the child dropped their cone, but to the child it was important in his/her eyes, and so Disney easily comes to the table and comps a second ice cream. In my eyes, it was important that I get back the cords in a timely basis. And even thought it wasn’t the fault of the hotel, Ritz-Carlton really stepped forward and made my day!

Have you had a similar experience when you stayed at a Ritz-Carlton? How were they a service hero? How could you be a service hero in your own organization to your customers? How do you “wire” your organization to provide that kind of exemplary service?

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