VOLUME 4 • NO. 2 • 2008
an international author talks about his new book, which spotlights the Ritz-Carlton.
Author and speaker Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., has become a sensation. In his second book, The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary (McGraw-Hill, 2006), he revealed to the world how the retailer empowers its employees to transform the coffeehouse experience. Now, Michelli goes inside the workings of The Ritz-Carlton with his third book, The New Gold Standard (McGraw-Hill, 2008), where he discusses the luxury hotel company’s commitment to a transformational guest experience. Here is what Michelli has to say about his travels, research and experiences at The Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world.
Why did you choose The Ritz-Carlton as the subject of your new book?
I was looking to study a business that had an extraordinary reputation for staff satisfaction, empowerment, engagement and service excellence. While many businesses excel in employee care or customer service, few businesses master both. On the top of the list was The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.
What do you think the potential is for the book to be a global best seller like The Starbucks Experience?
I believe that The Ritz-Carlton name garners great respect from corporate leaders and business book buyers. Its “Mystique” of excellence, quality and class intrigues even those who have never had the good fortune of experiencing its offerings. And for the record, The New Gold Standard offers rich, easily accessible strategies for corporate culture development, service excellence, operational execution, corporate social responsibility, staff selection, training, empowerment and retention. I am optimistic about its prospects.
What was your favorite “wow” story retold in the book?
This may seem like I am avoiding the question. But in truth, I love every “wow” story that I had the opportunity to include (and the book is full of them). It isn’t the specifics of any story that stand out to me. It’s the fact that “wow” service is in the DNA of the company. I was consistently moved by a lady
or gentlemen (or a team of them) producing tangible impact through innovation, creativity and selflessness.
How important do you think it is for the company to continue its evolution as a brand, introducing initiatives like the Service Values, the new advertising campaign, short films and Community Footprints? Do you think we risk losing the loyalty of traditional customers?
The Ritz-Carlton initiates new programs for the right reasons. The leadership is not creating change simply for change’s sake. Each initiative emerges from listening to the needs of staff, customers, owners and other stakeholders. While there is always a risk to losing core customers with change, the risk of
not changing is typically greater.
With all the competition in the luxury marketplace, how do you see the future of our brand?
Others can compete with opulent buildings and dynamic environments, but I see no competitor with regard to the consistency of The Ritz-Carlton service experience. I truly view The Ritz-Carlton as the new gold standard not only in the luxury market but in service excellence across all business sectors.