A Guide to Memorable Customer Experiences: Forget Heroism – Focus on Thoughtful Collaboration

Memorable experiences result in positive customer storytelling.

To support the connection between memorable experiences and customer storytelling, let’s take a journey with “Joshie the Giraffe” and the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, Florida team.

A Child’s Crisis and An Unforgettable Team Response

When writing my book, The New Gold Standard about The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Chris Hurn told me about his son’s cherished stuffed animal, Joshie. Unfortunately, Joshie was left behind at the Amelia Island hotel, and his loss left Chris’ son inconsolable. Once Chris realized Joshie was left at the Ritz-Carlton, he had little hope that he or his son would see Joshie again.

To Chris’ surprise, upon notifying the team at Amelia Island about the accidentally abandoned stuffed giraffe, Chris started receiving pictures of Joshie enjoying his extended stay at The Ritz-Carlton. Those photos (including Joshie driving a golf cart, laying on a beach chair, and visiting with the security team) entertained Chris’ son as Joshie was shipped back to him. Joshie was returned safely to Chris’ jubilant son, along with a scrapbook of Joshie’s adventures and some Ritz-Carlton swag.

So, what can we learn from the adventures of Joshie the Giraffe?

Actionable Takeaways for Your Business:

  • Celebrate the Small Acts: While heroics often steal the limelight, consistent, small acts often make a customer’s day. A kind word, a thoughtful gesture, or even genuinely listening can significantly impact a customer’s experience.

  • Foster Team Service: Teams across the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island collaborated to stage Joshie’s extraordinary adventure. By encouraging inter-departmental communication and collaboration, we often deliver customer experiences with far more significant impact than we could achieve individually.

  • Build a Customer-Centric Culture: The Ritz-Carlton has a culture where team members are empowered to take ownership of guest experiences. As leaders, we set the stage for what shows up from front-line team members. For example, by rewarding individuals who elevate customer experiences, we foster an environment of customer-centricity.

  • Consistency is Key: While exceptional stories stand out, consistent service builds brand loyalty. Ensure your team understands the value of consistently excellent service created through small acts.

  • Spread the Word Together: A shared positive story is a testament to memorable service and reflects your organization’s ethos. Celebrate and share your team’s victories – especially those shared by customers.

Research shows that a holistic approach to customer service, focusing on individual initiative and collaborative effort, leads to higher customer satisfaction.

Chris Hurn’s story illustrates that when team members pool their resources and creativity, customers are satisfied and feel compelled to share their experiences in ways that encourage others to seek service from your company.

Extraordinary customer experiences often reflect an interplay of individual initiative and a team’s collaboration. Every member, from front-line staff to management, has a role in turning even the most minor opportunity into an unforgettable memory.

As you reflect on the Ritz-Carlton’s ‘Joshie’ story, ask yourself:

What unique experiences are waiting to be crafted by you and your team?

To learn more about how you can drive memorable experiences, please contact me at josephmichelli.com/contact.

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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