The Ritz-Carlton has a formidable name and reputation, but at the same time it is not immune from the above stated challenges. The company is continuously working on achieving higher goals in providing quality services more than ever before, and it is truly obvious as stated by their mission. They describe it as a place where the genuine care and comfort of their guests is their highest mission. They also pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for their guests while ensuring that all who stay at their facilities will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, and refined ambience. The Ritz-Carlton experience ensues to enliven senses, instill well-being, all while promising to fulfill unexpressed wishes and needs of their guests.
When the company initially achieved their goal, they were awarded one of the most prestigious awards attainable for this type of industry, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which is usually presented annually by the President of the United States to any organization that show quality and performance excellence in their respected industry. However, before applying for that award, the company went through a strict self-examination of their operations through measuring quantities and qualities of service they provide. Nineteen processes were measured starting with the moment the guests initially call in to make a reservation, along all other amenities in the process up to and including the food and nutrition, valet parking and so forth. They obtained data on every working process, cyclic time spent on the above services, then measured their efficiency, trying to compare against similar industries, and then placing targets and benchmarks to achieve an end goal of 100 percent customer satisfaction. During the process they empowered managers and their teams in each area to implement thorough training programs, self-editing and allowance of applying corrective measures for any qualities which needed improvement to allow for any and goals to be obtained.
Competition from the other hotels in the industry, and shortage of trained personnel with hotel expertise, improper and ineffective communication, lack of execution of their goals and visions and deficiency of proper training on up to date technology, all can be major challenges to the Ritz-Carlton management company during the process of implementation of these goals. To solve the previously stated challenges, the company organized its employees into self-directed work teams. These teams represented an innovative approach to organizational design by the Ritz-Carlton company leadership to have managers and workers take ownership that would make them go above and beyond quality metrics or problem-solving. These teams were working groups that did things together, performing a function to produce a product or service for different parts of the industry. They also took on the management of specific work functions, which were formerly performed by supervisors and managers. This process allows managers to be freed up to teach, oversee, develop and facilitate problem solving and solutions rather than simply impose and direct workers, which can lead to low interest in performing these tasks. In implementation of these processes, the company was able to achieve all the targeted goals and in turn was able to achieve the success in obtaining the Malcolm-Baldrige national award.
Efficiency implies a level of performance that uses the lowest amount of structured inputs and information to produce the highest amount of outputs. In the above scenarios, Ritz-Carlton was able to achieve more efficiency by allowing the team members all the technological tools, all while giving the employees the sense of ownership of all projects. Defined communication and expectations between team members is also part of their great success. Each team member are empowered to identify their own strengths and weaknesses as well as the positive attributes of each other in order to help one other reach intended goals, and furthermore have team members continually practice team building exercises in a great working environment.
Quality is something that can be easily quantified, in our health care industry for example, we can monitor our success with patient care in various ways. For example, we can identify the needs, wants and preferences of patients and then evaluate how the offered services will satisfy the wants of these patients and their family members. Second, we monitor success by developing ratings tools based on customer feedback, then preparing quality reports monthly to provide information needed for operations. If the Ritz-Carlton implements the above tools, they can monitor their won shortfalls and success, some examples are as follows:
If the customer is satisfied by the services of Ritz hotel he or she will definitely be back over and over, that repetition of stays can be used as a practical measure of achieving good quality.
We also can look at it by the number of complaints, where there are fewer complaints usually means more success.
As we discussed earlier, Ritz-Carlton has a mission statement which prides itself on having a core value that provides the best quality of services. Perhaps, through setting the companies operational goals around that mission and slogan, it will in turn push each self-directed team and member to work toward achieving their mission and what the company has promised to its customers. I have seen this happing currently in our hospital, where the slogan is “Your health starts today not tomorrow”, where there is a guarantee that services can be done the same day as the request is made.
“Doing things the right way the first time will also attract more guests who take precedence of quality over cost and are willing to pay more in order to get quality services (Bakker, 2007).
There is also a saying ‘a dime spent on prevention is worth a million spent on treatment’, that is our philosophy in the health care industry. The Ritz-Carlton will be able to reduce its costs of operations due to various reasons. Practicing measures and implementing solutions such as superior employee training and self-auditing, will ultimately result in superiority of services, making it less costly, and reduce time spent, which in turn will make the company more efficient and profitable. Another desired goal which can be achieved at the client level is prevention of variation of services, so no matter what hotel a customer stays at, the experience never changes, thus leading to even higher customer satisfaction.
Doing things right the first time, definitely will reduce variation and costs, since it is very expensive and time consuming to implement new programs and train personnel. Once it there is a realization that products or services are not right makes it very costly to evaluate and re-invent these programs and do it again. Any negative customer experience can unfortunately result in loss of clients and consequently produce less than full capacity and occupancy therefore resulting in less revenue.
The Ritz-Carlton, as any other hotel in the industry, has its own set of quality measures needed to be monitored, such as the level of customer service in quality of room cleaning, food at the restaurant and so forth. These specifics can be put in a charting format that contains both bars and line graphs, so the value can be assessed in descending orders. If we take the quality of food as an example, and the company decides to improve customer’s satisfaction by 30 or 40%, then they can use this information to solve the first three reasons related to this issue. Ultimately after a set period, customers can be surveyed again to re-assess results. These charts and diagrams are extremely useful in helping the hotel management team identify problems in the daily operations and activities and allow for any and all repairs to be implemented.
As the Ritz-Carlton intends to achieve the highest quality of their services, they must consider using all of the elements of total quality control and management, starting with benchmarking, cause and effect diagrams, to parto charts and so forth, all to achieve financial goals. This will also allow for intangible measurement of customers satisfaction, loyalty by rate of return, and hopefully increase customer to customer recommendations. Encouragement of feedback on the services rendered, such as the cleanliness and ambiance of the facility, to the quality of pillows and bedding, and any other amenities and extra qualities will only increase in repetition of customers, enhancing loyalty and in turn the overall revenues achieved.