They are the epitome of class and luxuryeven Fred Astaire paid tribute to them. The Ritz-Carlton is one of the nation’s most successful hotel chains and if you’ve ever had the privilege of staying there you know why. Lucky for us, the Ritz publicly shares insightsor their Gold Standardson how they execute a legendary customer service experience.  

Here are three key takeaways I’ve found from the Ritz customer service approach that can apply to other businesses as well.

They create a vision for what the Ritz experience should look and feel like. In their company Credo, they use language that helps conjure up an image of sophistication and luxury, “We pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guests who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambiance. The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.” This sets the bar high for how employees should carry themselves and deliver on service.

They outline clear, practical customer service expectations for their staff. Going beyond a vision, the Ritz standards give real-life application to how employees should interact with guests. They identify three steps of service that are required from employees:A warm and sincere greeting, using the guest’s name; anticipation and fulfillment of each guest’s needs; a fond farewell with a warm good-bye using the guest’s name.” This simple, three-step formula is specific so that all employees can deliver a consistent experience; it’s also straightforward enough to be easily internalized and put into practice.

They think of potential customer pain points and give solutions proactively. In the Ritz-Carlton blog, they offer a Dos and Don’ts list of greeting customers. This list aligns with their Gold Standards and takes them a step further. “DO look for clues. A customer may be in a hurry or wet from the rain. What can you do to improve your customer’s experience right from the start?” Anticipating a customer’s needs and finding a solution before they ask for it is a great way to delight and “wow” that person from the get go.

The Ritz’ standards are tailored to fit their brand, but there are points that apply to any business large or small. At their core, these values put customers first and give helpful and thorough ways that employees can execute on the level of service that is expected. This approach can be customized to work for your team and can allow you to deliver a five-star experience to anyone that comes your way.