Today, more and more leaders and companies are coming to the realisation that digitisation is the ‘new normal’. This is especially so with the COVID-19 pandemic causing havoc with the world economy. Thanks to the latest and greatest technologies, businesses are able to maintain at least a decent form of customer service and in some cases, even effectively boost the customer experience through innovative digital strategies. However, we mustn’t forget that the customer experience does not rely on technology alone.
The customer experience is a long and arduous process that begins when a customer recognises a need for a product or service. This process will continue through customer support following the acquisition of said goods or services. It is a continuous process which will never end once the customer is aware of it. Brands offering a decent experience to their customers make a great difference among their competitors also, they can boost their customer loyalty to higher levels. Defining positive moments that add value to customer experience is essential to design a better customer experience journey.
This leads us to the story of Joshie the giraffe. Back in 2012, American author and entrepreneur, Chris Hurn, was on a family vacation. Together with his wife and two children, they spent a cheery vacation at a Ritz Carlton hotel. However, upon their return home, they discovered a huge problem. One of their children had left his favourite stuffed animal doll at the hotel. This was Joshie the giraffe.
In order to ease the mind of the restless and understandably upset child, Hurn devised a common white lie to help his son overcome this trouble. He tells his son that Joshie was taking “an extra long vacation at the hotel”. Fortunately, his son bought the story and calmed down.
Later that night, Hurn receives a call from the hotel and was informed that Joshie had been found in the laundry and was no worse for wear. Hurn shared the story of his white lie with the management team of the hotel and asked if he could get a picture of Joshie relaxing by the pool in order to convince his son.
The Ritz Carlton, which is a brand that is already known for its exceptional customer service, accepted Hurn’s request, but took it a step further. The hotel management turned Hurn’s request into an opportunity, and returned Joshie to the family a few days later. To the family’s surprise, the box containing Joshie also included several free gifts as well as a photo album of Joshie’s extended vacation. They even made Joshie an honourary member of the hotel’s Loss Prevention team.
It goes without saying that the Hurn family were very impressed by the hotel’s staff and service. Ritz Carlton and the Hurn family have established a warm relation that will last for years thanks to a little doll left at the hotel. The brand’s image improved even further when Hurn contributed an article to the Huffington Post, recounting his experience with this exceptional service.
Ritz Carlton assured customer loyalty through a phenomenal communication practice and customer experience in a competitive industry of substitutable services. In the case of Joshie the giraffe, Ritz Carlton employees employed perfect communication work with regards to the family’s request, and certainly deserves their seat in the spotlight.
Sometimes a stuffed giraffe left in a hotel, sometimes a small favour in a family dinner:
There are opportunities everywhere that can be turned into an excellent experience for both businesses and customers. Everyone should take these little chances in order to establish such great communication successes for your brands.