Table of Contents
2.0 Company History
4.0 Gold Standards
5.0 Empowering Employees to Implement an Award Winning Approach
6.0 Using TQM to Drive Change and Improve Customer Service
7.0 Challenges and Benefits
Total Quality Management: A Case Study of a Quality Award Winning Organization
In today’s society, consumers are often seen more as numbers than actual people. Customer service is talked about frequently, but rarely delivered upon. Customer’s requests or needs that go beyond what employees typically experience often fall upon the deaf ears of apathetic employees. Complaints are often handled equally as careless. One company, however, has a reputation for being different – Ritz-Carlton Hotels.
The corporation’s commitment to customer satisfaction and guest services is apparent in every facet of their business. It is an employee’s duty to go above and beyond the call of duty with each and every customer they service. This two-time winner of the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award has truly taken customer service to a level head and shoulders above their competition.
This superior level of service did not simply happen by chance, however. The Ritz-Carlton organization has molded their employees into superior service providers with a variety of intensive trainings, merit-based appraisal systems, and continuous reinforcement of the company’s commitment to these ‘Gold Standards’. This commitment by both the organization and each and every team member has allowed Ritz-Carlton to take the theory that ‘the customer is always right’ and evolve it into the ultimate customer service experience that is the cornerstone of their success.
In addition, by using Total Quality Management (TQM), Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has not only been able to maintain superior customer service, but drive significant and sustainable change. This adaptability, while still maintaining the highest levels of quality, has propelled Ritz-Carlton to the forefront of its industry.
2.0 Company History
The Ritz-Carlton is among the grandest hotels in the world. Each guest that passes through their doors experiences their renowned indulgent luxury, sumptuous surroundings, and legendary service (“About Us”). The legacy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company began in Boston “with the celebrated hotelier César Ritz...the ‘king of hoteliers and hotelier to kings.’ His philosophy of service and innovations redefined the luxury hotel experience in Europe through his management of The Ritz in Paris and The Carlton in London” (“History”).
In 1983, William Johnson, real estate mogul and former CEO, acquired the rights to the Ritz-Carlton name, as well as the Ritz-Carlton, Boston property (Najjar). It was the Ritz-Carlton, Boston that revolutionized the hospitality industry in America, setting the bar for what luxury hotels should be. Their innovative standards of service included formalizing the staff’s appearance with white tie and apron uniforms for the waitstaff, black ties for the Maitre d’, and morning suits for all other staff members. Fresh flowers were prevalent throughout all public areas of the Ritz-Carlton, Boston. Gourmet cuisine was offered at the dining facilities, and an intimate lobby offered a more personalized experience for guests. In addition, hotel policy demanded that each guest’s privacy was meticulously maintained, drawing the wealthy and famous to the hotel (“History”). All of these standards, and many more have been propagated throughout the now worldwide Ritz-Carlton chain.
The cobalt blue signature goblets found in all Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts, restaurants and cafes worldwide began at the Ritz-Carlton, Boston as well.
These goblets were designed to match the blue Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers in The Dining Room where they still hang today. Coincidentally, blue glass was considered a status symbol in 1920s Boston. Window glass imported from Europe underwent a chemical reaction when hitting the Boston air and turned blue. Blue glass windows meant the homeowners could afford imported glass. The Ritz-Carlton, being quite fashionable, ordered glasses in this color (“History”).
This is just one of many examples of the tradition of luxury that sets Ritz-Carlton apart.
Ritz-Carlton Hotels grew quickly from its one hotel in Boston in 1983. In 1995, Marriott International purchased a 49 percent interest in Ritz-Carlton hotels. Today, they have now own an interest of 99 percent (“History”). Today, the chain employs approximately 25,000 people. They have 57 hotels worldwide, several located in historic landmarks, preserving these architecturally important buildings. Locations include: Bahrain, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Egypt, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, U.S. Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and the United States (“Fact Sheet”).
The quality that César Ritz built his business on is still alive and well in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company chain, thanks to TQM. As a confirmation of this outstanding quality, the organization has “received all the major awards the hospitality industry and leading consumer organizations can bestow” (“Awards”). The most prestigious of these awards is the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award presented by the United States Department of Commerce. They are the first and only hotel company to win this award twice, for revolutionizing the service industry (“Awards”).
In addition, the Ritz-Carlton emerged with the highest ratings in the luxury segment of their industry in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2003 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study. Many of their lodging and dining facilities have been awarded the American Automobil Associations Five Diamond Award, for 2004. Business Travel New rated the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company as #1 in its 2003 Top U.S. Hotel Chain Survey, and also received their World Award for Best Business Hotel Brand (“Awards”). And the accolades go on and on.
4.0 Gold Standards
These awards did not simply appear by chance. The Ritz-Carlton has built their organization, from top to bottom, around customer service, implementing TQM into every level of the organization. Their ‘Gold Standards’ are the foundation of all they do. This four-pronged set of standards “encompass the values and philosophy by which (Ritz-Carlton) operates and includes The Credo, The Motto, The Three Steps of Service, The Basics, and The Employee Promise (“Gold Standards”).