Being ’emotionally intelligent’ is our ability to recognize our emotions and the emotions of others. Using this information, we adjust our emotions to adapt to the environment around us. Ideally, we manage our emotions to achieve our goals.
The Ritz-Carlton is clearly an ‘emotionally intelligent’ company. I mean, just look at their Tanning Butler…
A picture of a Tanning Butler from The Ritz-Carlton South Beach for this article perfectly illustrates the secret ingredients of Emotional Intelligence (E.I.). The service creates an excellent opportunity for emotional engagement between its employees and customers, in the most unique way.
Clearly, this experience gives a pleasant surprise to countless sunbathing guests. It’s not only the ultimate in pampering but also a great story to take home. They even had a girl called and asked the tanning butler to be her prom date!
I have designed a 3-Step Basic E.I Guide to help you kick-start your thinking process towards Emotional Intelligence.
Step 1: Inspire your employees, not train.
For us to change someone’s behavior, we must first change the way they think.
Inspiring your employees cannot be trained in power-point slides because it touches the emotional experience of your employees. It is a constant culture reinforcement of your company’s values and these values must coexist in your employees’ day-to-day working principles.
Daily inspiration sessions do not need to be long, just a few minutes will do. Essentially, it must be a heart-to-heart session where each employee take turn, daily, sharing true motivational stories that they themselves experienced when serving the customers on the day before. Another important element is that, your employees must relate their true stories to the company’s values. Also, avoid your supervisors turning this session into fault-finding session.
Inspiring your employees need to happen as early as the orientation of the new hire. For example, new employees at The Ritz-Carlton learn about the mission, vision and values throughout orientation. They are given Credo cards on the first day and are asked to memorize the Credo. On the third day of orientation, new employees are asked to recite the Credo in front of the group.
It is important that you emphasize on the “emotional experience” of your employees rather than on their “working experience”. By focusing on emotion, inspire your employees to do all they can in their power to make customers feel special.
Emotional experience will create a passionate support and commitment of your employees. If you want a passionate and supportive customers, you must first have a passionate and supportive employees.
Step 2: Empower your employees to be spontaneous.
There are a lot of things at work place that we can do spontaneously. But it needs empowerment from the company we work for. As leaders, you need to empower your employees to be spontaneous. Empower your employees to identify emotional information about the customers and allow them to proactively use that information to give your customers a personalized experience – a unique experience that make customers feel special.
At The Ritz-Carlton, everyone has $2,000 per day per guest to make it right or delight. But the money is symbolic – a symbol of employee empowerment. No one is walking around with $2,000 in his or her pocket.
What it means is that the employees are being able to use their best judgement to create lasting memories for guests or resolve a guest issue and have the confidence that the company supports them 100% in their effort. Sometimes the most delightful ‘wow’ moments happen in the blink of an eye. In this spontaneous moment, if employees are not empowered and need to get layers of approval, these moments could be gone forever.
Step 3: Engage with your customers, emotionally.
Before engaging with our customers emotionally, we need to know their emotional information – the information that touches their emotions. Find out their “soft spot”.
For example, The Ritz-Carlton uses favorite colors to create that special emotional experience like how they did for Winston Churchill where the room’s fabric on the furniture was redone in red, as it was his favorite color.
Another personalized experience example by The Ritz-Carlton is when the hotel employees address their guests by name. While this is impressive for someone like me, who is not a famous celebrity, addressing by name may not be as impactful for the rich and famous like Hollywood celebrities. Addressing by name is already expected because everywhere they go, people know them. Celebrities are so accustomed to special treatment where ever they go, red carpets and all that extravagances. So, how can The Ritz-Carlton impress their rich and famous customers?
The Ritz-Carlton’s chief operating officer and president, Simon F. Cooper, explained this. Conceptually, the rich and famous can buy or get anything and everything they want, but Cooper believe that there are some things in life that money just can’t buy. Things like love, smile, hugs, companion and kind gestures, which create more lasting memories compared to material things.
Therefore, before engaging with your customers emotionally, get as much emotional information as possible about them, and then personalize your customers experience to create lasting memories by giving them money-can’t-buy experience.
That’s all for now.
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