A while ago I wrote an article about ‘Living the brand’ and one of the examples I chose was the Ritz-Carlton. Their credo of ‘Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen’ struck a chord in me. I had experienced the brand when dining or attending conferences, never as a guest.
But I made a careful note that I would one day, and my resolve toughened last week.
I was on a business trip to Shanghai, and I dropped in at the Ritz-Carlton for a nice coffee break after visiting the Apple flagship store in Pudong. The coffee was lovely, the service thoughtful and impeccable. Around 6.30pm, one of us said we were hungry – the staff advised us that their ciabatta sandwich would be 50 per cent off at 7pm.
Now get this.

When we said we were too hungry to wait and did not mind paying full price, they offered to serve it to us first and then proceeded to only key in the order at 7pm so that we could enjoy the discount.
Amidst this, I detected a familiar accent from one of the wait staff. I asked if he was Malaysian and he lit up and said yes. He was from Johor Baru and had left his last posting in Singapore for Shanghai. I then asked him about their credo and values and he promptly showed me his pocket-sized card.
But the best was yet to come.
The evening ended with him adding a complimentary item to my bill, saying that it made his day to see a fellow Malaysian. That gesture made my day — and made me a fan.
Living the brand is never better demonstrated than in the small gestures performed by an empowered employee. Will this make me want to stay at their establishment? Next time I am in Pudong, look for me there!

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