Welcome to Service
It is possible, providing you have an extra 35 grand, to book an overnight package called “You Can’t Buy Me Love … But You Can Try!” at the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, which includes a private chef, rivers of Champagne, a helicopter ride around Manhattan, a “bath butler” to prepare a jacuzzi-for-two, pillowcases monogrammed with your initials, and, as if you needed a nightcap at that point, a customized fireworks show right over the Statue of Liberty easily viewed from the bay window of your penthouse suite.
“We don’t sell that package every night,” says Kevin Schiesz with a conspiratorial smile and a glance upward towards the top floor, “but we’ve got one tonight.” Schiesz, director of training at the Battery Park Ritz-Carlton, is leading a group of awestruck business leaders on a tour of his bustling hotel, just six blocks from the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan. The businesspeople, ranging from retail and restaurant managers to insurance company executives, have each paid $5,000 for something much more than a one-night stand. They’re spending a week with Ritz-Carlton’s top trainers, looking “outside the box” of their own industries to learn the secrets of high-end customer service from a company who’s managed to create a world-renowned service brand, all with a team of employees whose daily duties are, for the most part, neither high-profile nor highly compensated.
“We sell sleep! And we scrub toilets!” says Diana Oreck, vice president of the Ritz-Carlton’s Leadership Center and lead trainer for the Executive Education series. “But we still find ways to make a memorable impression. It’s all about emotions, really, and the connections you’re making with your customer. I wish it weren’t so warm and fuzzy, but it is.”