Sweet Customer Service

He had me at “Ritz.”

My husband recently invited me to join him on a business trip staying at the Ritz Carlton Lodge on Lake Oconee in Georgia.

Um, yeah. I can work from there.

Upon arrival, the only thing that moved me more than the serene setting was the service. Oh how I love the Ritz Carlton service experience.

My first night there, I found myself chatting with the staff and asking my favorite question, “What’s your favorite place for pie around here?” They were eager to answer with the not-to-be-named-here diner featured in a national magazine for it’s “Best in the South” buttermilk pie.

I frowned.

I shared with them that I had done my pie research before arriving and had in fact visited the recommended place earlier that day only to leave deeply disappointed. Their pie was in fact NOT the best buttermilk pie in the South. Far from it.

One of the staff, named Tyler, mentioned that he thought the Ritz had a pretty good buttermilk pie. I told him I might try it before I left town. (But to be honest, I no longer trusted their pie judgment and had no intention of trying out their pie. I mean really, what could the Ritz Carlton possibly know about buttermilk pie?)

About 10 minutes later, back in my room, I heard a knock at the door. I was surprised to find a smiling room service server holding a plate with a slice of the most beautiful buttermilk pie I had ever seen. She proceeded to say, “Tyler shared with us your disappointing pie experience at the ____ today. And well, we thought maybe you would like to try ours. We hope you enjoy it!”


This sweet surprise* gesture was totally unnecessary. Which is why it worked in winning my undying devotion to Ritz Carlton.

Which one of your clients or partners could use some sweet customer service today? How could you empower your team to make these sweet surprise gestures part of their everyday?

Share your ideas with us in the comments below!

*After I recovered from the sweet service shock, I tasted the pie. Heaven on a plate. In fact, it’s one of the best buttermilk pies I’ve ever eaten. And believe me, I’ve eaten a lot of buttermilk pie.

**If this is the first time you’ve heard me go on about pie and you’re wondering why I’m so pie crazy, check out my Humble Pie post or my thoughts on How Pie Made Me a Better Leader. 


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