Is your service visionary or just your hallucination?

My friend Terry Paulson, author of the Optimism Advantage, says the difference between a vision and a hallucination “is how many people see it.”  In order for service to be “real,” leaders need to create a roadmap for its delivery.  At the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company that vision starts with a”credo” which is placed on a “credo card.”

The credo card is part of the employees uniform and is referred to every day.   Specifically, the Ritz-Carlton credo highlights three central targets for the guest service experience  (“enliven the senses, produce well-being, and fulfill stated as well as unstated needs and desires.”)    You know your not hallucinating your service vision when, you have your customers share:  “My stress melted away at the Ritz-Carlton.  Not only did the staff treat me in such an exceedingly nurturant way but they created a perfect and relaxing environment.  This was particularly true as I drew myself a bubble bath in the huge marble-filled bath tub. The towels in the room were not the small, rough pieces of linen that are so common in hotels. No, these were large, soft, terrycloth towels and the soft robe and slippers were laid out with care.”  When leadership defines a powerful vision and clearly communicates that vision to staff, real service experiences are delivered.

What’s your service vision?  How do you assure that its not a service hallucination?

As a side note, it has been a pleasure being a part of Bathroom Blogfest 2010 this week.  More than 30 bloggers from around the world (from very different backgrounds) have been including “bathrooms” into some of their blog content while still making it relevant to their audience (please take a peek at their blogs via the list below).  Learn more about the blogfest at  Your going to love the skillful and often playful lessons of the “loo.”

Blogfest 2010 Participants:

Susan Abbott – @susanabbott

Customer Experience Crossroads –

Paul Anater – @Paul_Anater

Kitchen and Residential Design –

Shannon Bilby – @shannonbilby

My Big Bob’s Blog –

From The Floors Up –

Big Bob’s Outlet –

Dolphin Carpet Blog –

Carpets N More Blog –

Toby Bloomberg – @TobyDiva

Diva Marketing –

Laurence Borel – @ blogtillyoudrop

Blog Till You Drop –

Bill Buyok – @AventeTile

Avente Tile Talk Blog –

Jeanne Byington – @ jmbyington

The Importance of Earnest Service –

Becky Carroll – @ bcarroll7

Customers Rock! –

Marianna Chapman – @ResultsRev

Results Revolution –

Katie Clark – @practicalkatie

Practical Katie –

Valerie Fritz – @Awarepoint

The Awarepoint Blog –

Nora DePalma – @noradepalma

American Standard’s Professor Toilet –

Leigh Durst – @LivePath

LivePath Experience Architect Weblog –

Iris Garrott

Checking In and Checking Out –

Tish Grier – @TishGrier

The Constant Observer –

Renee LeCroy – @ReneeLeCroy

Your Fifth Wall –

Veronika Miller – @Modenus

Modenus Blog –

Arpi Nalbandian – @TileEditor

TILE Magazine Editor Blog –

Maria Palma – @mariapalma

People 2 People Service –

David Polinchock – @Polinchock

Polinchock’s Ponderings –

David Reich – @davidreich

My 2 Cents –

Victoria Redshaw – @scarletopus

Scarlet Opus Trends Blog –

Sandy Renshaw – @purplewren

Purple Wren –

Around Des Moines –

Bethany Richmond

The Carpet and Rug Institute Blog –

Bruce Sanders

RIMtailing –

Steve Tokar

Please Be Seated –

Carolyn Townes – @SpiritWoman26

Becoming a Woman of Purpose –

Stephanie Weaver – @experienceology

Experienceology –

Christine B. Whittemore – @cbwhittemore

Flooring The Consumer ­

Simple Marketing Blog

The Carpetology Blog

Smoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog

Linda Wright

LindaLoo Build Business With Better Bathrooms –

Smoke over black background

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


  1. Becky Carroll on October 30, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Thank you for sharing about how to “make it real” – it definitely takes a plan! Thank you also for participating in the Bathroom Blogfest; it is always an interesting discussion to ponder how even the forgotten spaces contribute to the customer experience. You rock!

  2. C.B. Whittemore on October 30, 2010 at 8:34 pm


    It’s been a pleasure having you take part in the fun. Thanks so much for sharing in the Bathroom Blogfest 2010 enthusiasm!


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