Response Crafting

Use your client’s first name

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Dear Ritz Carlton,

My significant other and I spent several nights on the club level at a Ritz Carlton resort in Mexico. It was my first experience with your brand, and will likely be the last.

While the grounds were technically beautifully-landscaped, the linens luxurious, the food delicious and generous, and the beach a gorgeous setting, you fell flat on one very important thing: recognizing me as a guest.

Over the course of several days, from the moment we checked in until the moment we walked out, I was greeted – and addressed – as “Mrs. (my boyfriend’s last name.)”

Since we’re not married and I, in fact, have a different last name – one that is very real and very much my identity – I find this appalling. I was sitting next to him the entire time your staff checked us in. You served us mimosas before we’d even gotten our room key, and yet you couldn’t think to ask me one very simple question: “what is your name?” It’s an oversight that communicates an utter lack of consideration.

(Perhaps I’m wrong, but my understanding is that this sort of treatment is reserved for gracefully addressing all of the many “Mrs. (unfaithful married man)” that come through your hotel. Whether that’s true or not, quite frankly, I didn’t appreciate it. Having been in a relationship for several years now and the only possible female guest accompanying my significant other, I am as much of a valued guest as he is – not somebody whose identity he’s hiding.)

If you think I’m exaggerating the magnitude of your mistake, let us not forget Rule #3 from Dale Carnegie’s infamous “six ways to make people like you:”


“Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

When you don’t use their name, you strip them of something very dear to them. You imply that their identity is inconsequential to you.

When, however, you insist on calling them a name that is not even theirs, you commit an even worse offense: you communicate that they are, in your mind, a mere shadow of somebody else’s identity.

You are obviously familiar with this rule, given your emphasis on using guests’ names to begin with. But you should know, Ritz Carlton, that your practice of limiting this treatment solely to those individuals who hand over their credit cards is repulsive. And you are catastrophically delusional if you think it is “good customer service.” (Quite frankly, I’d rather your staff not have greeted me at all.)

On your website, you proudly boast being “the Gold Standard of Hospitality.” Well, here’s a reality check: your gold standard doesn’t mean anything to the people who are made to feel they don’t exist.
A guest with a name to remember,

KG

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