INSIDE ACCESS: REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK
Culture Wins at Ritz-Carlson
"We don't believe that culture is part of the game; it is the game," Brian Grubb said emphatically during his
presentation at Call Center Week. Grubb is the corporate director of learning and content delivery for
Carlson Hotel Company. "Why do people want to work at the Ritz-Carlton? For excellence."
And, it seems, excellence is why people want to stay there as well. "We believe that it's that one interaction with
one customer every day; one on one on one," Grubb said, explaining that at Ritz-Carlton each and every interaction
is an opportunity to deliver a compelling experience. Great service is a blend of "random acts of kindness and
resolving defects," he said.
"We sell a product people don't need with assets we don't own. How about that?" Grubb asked rhetorically, noting to
a surprised audience that the company owns exactly none of its properties. The product and processes create the
platform, he said, but having enlightened leadership and engaged employees create the outcome: service
excellence. And, of course, booked hotels replete with engaged customers.
-- Ginger Conlon
Slow and Steady Influences Adoption
General Binding Corp. (GBC) decided to implement a mobile CRM solution with its field technicians, it knew
there would be some adoption issues. Not only was new software involved, but so was a whole new gadget. Up until
then, the techs used only clamshell pagers as their communications tool. "We're a low-tech environment and
we were concerned that they wouldn't adapt well," says Tim Spencer, vice president of technical support and
service for GBC.
So Spencer gave employees new pocket PC devices a few months ahead of the CRM rollout and encouraged
them to use the phone, email, and Web features as much as possible. This tiered adoption gave techs time to get
comfortable with the hardware so the software rollout would be less painful. Now, he says, all 200-plus reps are
onboard and comfortable using the system, and GBC has seen a 28 percent reduction in telecom costs since its
-- Elizabeth Glagowski
INSIDE ACCESS: READER FEEDBACK
Re: Sprint Customer Firings Good for the Long Term
Issue Date: July 23, 2007
Sometimes you can't fire customers if your organization is like mine, a quasi-governmental agency with a mission to
provide universal postal service. We are financially strapped by having to add more infrastructure and human
resources to accommodate the growing number of residences or deliveries as the population continues to grow. We are
mandated to serve everyone and don't have the freedom to "fire" customers.
That message boards and others would criticize Sprint for "firing" 1,000 customers, suggests how little these folk
understand not only about business but about human nature. Why not suggest there is something not quite right
about 1,000 people calling to complain 25 or more times in a month rather than just "fire" the service provider (there are other choices), demand a refund, etc.? More firms should do what Sprint did and recognize that a miniscule
number of customers can not be satisfied and that to move on their relationship needs to end.
Having been on the receiving end, for more hours than I care to count, of Sprint's poor customer service, I have to
say that their fired customers should consider themselves lucky. They probably wanted out of their Sprint contracts
and Sprint wouldn't let them out without them paying an outrageous fee.
Kansas City, MO
*Letters may be edited for space or clarity.