A Stay at the Ritz: Challenging the Status Quo

Anticipation had eclipsed its peak as they entered the banquet room. They were greeted with an extremely genuine and most warm smile by their hosts. The ambiance set the tone. Their hosts were dressed “to the nines” in their impeccably pressed and tailored uniforms with every detail illustrating “Best in Class.” Collars were angled perfectly; shiny and classy cuff links were set in place; shoes were shined and ready for action; and every Ritz-Carlton instructor was positioned to serve. Every detail in the room showed it was prepared for serving, teaching and challenging “students” on the benefits of the “ultimate customer experience” from every industry imaginable.

Two BluSky executives converged in Florida, challenging Ritz-Carlton’s training school to teach and show them so much more about “leading culture in customer service.” Kent Stemper, CEO and Mike Erekson, vice president of operations, were challenging 14 straight years of “96 Proof” customer service statistics. Fourteen years running, 96 percent of BluSky’s customers said they would hire us again.

To ‘Be Different,’ you have to ‘Do Different’

Stemper understands that thriving companies need to continually challenge the status quo. “Although our service standards and performance are solid and already industry-leading, I know we are better, and we can raise the bar much higher. As companies grow, the stakes are bigger, and the standards and processes must be questioned and improved. To ‘Be Different’ you have to ‘Do Different.’ That is exactly why we decided to attend the training,” says Stemper.

Erekson says, “this is one of the best trainings I have ever attended.  Ritz-Carlton puts its primary focus on the customer, but first they infuse the service into their employees.  They then deliver constant reminders to their employees about their mission, which is completely directed toward the satisfaction of their customers.”

Both Stemper and Erekson summarized several of the key takeaways below from this world-class training. Stemper added, “regardless of your industry, truly applying these principles will certainly take your company to higher levels.”

  • Focus and study the best. That is the reason BluSky executives attended the Ritz-Carlton training. To see and understand what the BEST does and how they do it is revealing to anyone or any company on how they can be better.
  • Create alignment with employees at every level. The service culture that is taught, embraced and LIVED at Ritz-Carlton is evident in their every action. Instead of sending departmental leaders to the training, BluSky’s CEO wanted to show extreme importance to the entire organization that we will be committed and aligned, which is why he wanted to be there himself.
  • A culture of teamwork and a culture of genuinely caring about your teammates is paramount – even before the customer. Attention to detail for how teammates show up, interact with each other and understand the goals and initiatives for the day were the focuses. The customer then receives the best service because of this commitment to team. The famously known Ritz credo, “We are an organization of ladies and gentlemen, serving ladies and gentlemen,” exudes in everything they do as a team.

Stemper concluded, “the training was incredibly inspiring, and it is challenging us to be the very best. We are accepting this challenge and we are implementing many new ideas. We are excited!”

With “A Stay at the Ritz,” are you challenging the status quo?  Thank you, Ritz-Carlton, for inspiring others to be great!


Photo Credit: Alpha Stock Images – https://alphastockimages.com/

Candace Johnson

Corporate Marketing Manager

Candace is a veteran marketer, who specializes in bringing out the best in companies. Responsibilities for BluSky include content creation and editing, brand management and consistency, website management, public relations writing, advertising, and social media management. Candace lives just south of Chicago with her husband Eric and three children.

Candace Johnson

Corporate Marketing Manager
Candace Johnson headshot