Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ritz Carlton Magic

Well, the New Year has started with a bang. We celebrated New Year in Auckland with a drop in from Italy. Renzo Rosso, the founder of Diesel, and 5 companions descended on New Zealand on a whim to escape the freezing cold of Europe. They had a great time in Queenstown and the Bay of Islands, the highlight of which was a fantastic New Year's Eve celebration on the Viaduct of Auckland with fireworks and fun aplenty courtesy of Simon Gault, Robert, and Euro. One of the best restaurants in the Southern Hemisphere.

Things heated up quickly with Saatchi & Saatchi New York winning a global assignment for Lenovo and Adam Werbach’s sustainability team winning a British Gas solar energy project.

I left New Zealand on Tuesday evening on our great national airline only to arrive in San Francisco to find all flights to New York cancelled because of an impending snowstorm. Nothing was going into Kennedy, LaGuardia, or Newark for the next 24 hours at least.

Rather than going into the city (I forgot to mention I dislocated my knee over the holidays and I'm having trouble walking), I found the Ritz Carlton had a beautiful isolated property about 25 miles from the airport in California farm country at Half Moon Bay. They were gracious enough to find me a room and then (as I'm the lucky recipient of one of their privileged cards) upgraded me into a private Scottish looking cottage complete with roaring fireplace on the golf course overlooking the ocean. The people here have been warm and friendly and have gone way over the edge to make this walk-in's stay as comfortable as possible. Anya, the receptionist, even called me 15 minutes after my arrival asking solicitously "Would you like a pot of hot tea?" I responded that I must have looked distressed and despondent and she did say that it looked as if I might have had better days.

This personal touch was much appreciated but paled in comparison when later that evening housekeeping turned down my room. After they left I went into the bedroom to see a beautiful framed 8 x10 photograph of Stella and Chloe. A miracle. A beautiful deluxe gold photo frame with that magic photo of Stella holding Chloe in the hospital. My heart skipped a beat and my whole world changed.

Talk about intimacy. This had nothing to do with customer service. This had everything to do with customer delight.

The Ritz Carlton are known throughout the world for flawless customer service. But this was heart touching, heart moving customer service.

Chapeau, chapeau to Bernd Kuhlen and his staff at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay.