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The Story of How One Bad Employee Harmed a Bank's Reputation (Told by the Ritz-Carlton Founder)

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
February 15, 2024 3:04 am

The Story of How One Bad Employee Harmed a Bank's Reputation (Told by the Ritz-Carlton Founder)

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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February 15, 2024 3:04 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Ritz-Carlton founder Horst Schulze reshaped how service and hospitality are defined in business. He tells a short story about how great service wins - excellence wins - and bad service kills businesses.

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Here's Horst. Forgive me, but that's a fact. You define yourself and it is up to you what you define. I'm not telling you what you have to do, but understand you define yourself every moment. I tell the story about the bank there in the book. I lived in Chicago and I knew the bank very well.

They advertise. I've never been in a bank. But in the meantime, I have started here in Atlanta and I was invited by them, by that bank, to talk to the 300 managers, I'll never forget it, about customer service, customer satisfaction, service. The day before, I still had my apartment. I tried to rent and went to look at the apartment, go around. Again, I knew them well. They advertised service all the time.

On the radio station, I've sat in my car. But the day before, I thought, gee, I've never been in a bank. Tomorrow, somebody is bound to say, have you been in our bank?

And I better be able to say yes. So I went to that bank. Now, walking into this outside building already, magnificent, stately, and you walk in, I mean, marble floor, marble pillars, you can feel the money all around you.

It is very impressive, very wow. And all the way over there, a long counter to tell us and in front of the maze. So I walk into the maze. Now, what is service? We have to establish here what is service.

One more time. It starts with welcome, compliant to the wishes, and farewell. That's service.

Welcome, comply, farewell. What's the expectation of the customer when they come and buy anything? We must understand that. You or I or anybody has the same subconscious expectation, no matter what you buy.

If it is legal service, or a bottle of water, or a car or radio, you have the same subconscious expectations. You want no defect. You want your product to be right. You want timeliness. You don't want to wait for your bottle of water.

You want when you want it. And you want the people who give it to you to be nice to you. Those are the three things. So if I know as a business, this is what people expect from me. I build processes to deliver it. So I'm in the maze.

Not long timeliness now. Number one, I look left and somebody on the right screams next. That was the first step of service. I come to her teller. It was a woman.

By the way, men are usually worse in service. It was a lady. As I reached her teller, she looks down, finishes some transaction for one second or two. I see her face. I don't know her. She doesn't know me. But when she looked up, it was very clear that she hated me. And she said yes. Yes, I just want to change $50. She exercised. And she said 10, 20, 45, 50, next. And I look at my product.

My change is a product. No defect. The timeliness was good.

But the individual service was non-existent. What could she have done? She could have said the next gentleman, please. Come to tell her. Welcome, sir. How may I help you? Just want to change $50. That's my pleasure.

10, 20, 45, 50. Have a wonderful day. Bang. What happened to me? I was dissatisfied. Or there could have been a third way of serving me. She could have said the next gentleman, please. When I come to her teller, ideally, she would have called me. Welcome, Mr. Schulze.

No, in this case, she wouldn't know my name. I understand that. But that is the ideal service, personalized.

Welcome, Mr. Schulze. How may I help you? Just want to change $50. Ideally, she would have said 10, 20, 45. And here are four coins, five coins.

Because I know you collect coins. Individualized to me. Now that is great service. Then I would have moved immediately to a level of trust and loyalty. But what should she do? She did the first thing that I explained. She said next. And she treated me as if she was angry that I was there. So what did I do?

For the next 15 years, I used them for an example as lousy service. What happened here? She defined the bank. She defined her fellow workers. That can't happen. You can't let that happen in an organization. That one employee defines you. And I didn't say she mistreated me.

I said that bank is a poor bank. And a thanks to Greg Hengler for the production and editing on the storytelling. And a special thanks to Horst Schulze for sharing his wisdom with us.

Excellence wins. A no-nonsense guide to becoming the best in a world of compromise is his book. By the way, we have a bunch of stories by Horst on our website. Go to our American stories dot com and just type in his name. Just put in H-O-R-S-T and you'll get story after story, including his life story, which is a stem winder and a real beauty about the American dream and about excellence.

And it's so hard to find these days when you can just be really good at something. It stands out. The story of how to treat people. Horst Schulze here on Our American Stories. Lee Habib here, the host of Our American Stories. Every day on this show, we're bringing inspiring stories from across this great country.

Stories from our big cities and small towns. But we truly can't do the show without you. Our stories are free to listen to, but they're not free to make. If you love what you hear, go to our American stories dot com and click the donate button. Give a little, give a lot.

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