Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company was a recipient of the 1992 and 1999 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA), which is the first hotel which was awarded this award (Ritz-Carlton News Room, n.d.). The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program are managed by NIST, under the U.S. Department of Commerce, with the goal of improving performance of U.S. companies (NIST, 2021). Ritz-Carlton has prioritized quality and improvement, implementing the Total Quality Management program, and continuing their reputation of outstanding service.
What Ways Could the Ritz-Carlton Monitor Its Success
Ritz-Carlton, a hotel brand known for opulence and amazing service, improving processes toward a 100% customer satisfaction goal, has some key metrics to monitor. Key metrics are number of complaints, responses to service requests, customer satisfaction scores (from surveys), customer loyalty, employee turnover rates, and growth of revenue as a result of increase in quality (NIST, 2017). These metrics are measured through financial data, surveys, service request data, and complaint data.
Ritz-Carlton also measures check-in time, room inspection results, room maintenance frequency, deep-cleaning service frequency, and use of other services such as laundry service, room service, and spa services. Check-in time has been the subject of improvement projects and has even improved as much as 50% in the Osaka hotel as a result. Measuring maintenance activities is a part of their CARE (Clean and Repair Everything) program., where types of activities are measured, as well as how often they occur. There is a maximum of 90 days between every deep cleaning and room maintenance (Ritz-Carlton News Room, n.d.).
In monitoring these key metrics, they can check for improvement in number of total defects to the customer, evident from survey results, maintenance data, service request data, and complaint data. This allows them to track trends and verify that they are improving.
Quality: More Than a Slogan?
Any company that has prioritized quality should have proof in the pudding. Ritz-Carlton’s Gold Standards do an amazing job of describing the mission of giving genuine care and comfort to their guests, providing the finest personal service, and providing anticipatory service. The Gold Standards explain the corporate citizenship of the employees of Ritz-Carlton and their service values (Ritz-Carlton, n.d.). Ritz-Carlton is exemplary in providing quality, as is evidenced by the independent survey showing that 99% of guests were satisfied with their overall experience, and more than 80% answered that they were extremely satisfied (NIST, 2017). When a company says that they deliver quality, they should go out of their way to make sure that their products and services are as defect free as possible, as is evidenced by the survey results. Companies stating that they deliver quality should have a program like Total Quality Management in place to monitor, improve, and control quality.
Visualization Tools to Manage Quality
In order to visualize and manage data and trends in Total Quality Management, Ritz-Carlton can (and most likely does) use control charts, Pareto diagrams, and cause and effect diagrams to monitor processes, identify patterns, and perform root-cause analysis.
Control charts are useful for plotting data and identifying whether it is within the upper and lower limits of the process (Reliability Analysis Center, n.d.). For example, if the mean time for check in is four minutes, the lower limit is one minute, and the upper limit is seven minutes, then a busy surge of check-ins leading to a dozen guests with check-in times upwards of twelve minutes would indicate an out-of-control process. Likewise, if a dozen check-ins were less than one minute, there are most likely process failures (steps skipped) or the measurement data is inaccurate.
Pareto charts help draw attention to situations where a few causes are responsible for most problems (Reliability Analysis Center, n.d.). For example, if maintenance issues (defects) were plotted on a chart as a function of causes, such as filter replacement, sink servicing, lighting, and carpet service, and other factors, Ritz-Carlton could identify that most maintenance-related defects were due to only a few causes. This information could inform Ritz-Carlton’s improvement projects and process controls.
Non-Financial Measures of Customer Satisfaction
Ritz-Carlton uses many measures to identify customer satisfaction (or lack thereof). These measures are independent surveys (NIST, 2017) including J.D. Powers (Jacobsen, 1996, p.38), measure complaints and service requests (Jacobsen, 1996, p.30), external audits on hospitality (Jacobsen, 1996, p.37), reduction in cycle times (Jacobsen, 1996, p.37), and incidents recorded on the incident form (Jacobsen, 1996, p.43). They also measure customer retention, with a 100% goal (Jacobsen, 1996, p.42).
Ritz-Carlton is to be applauded for implementing statistical process improvement and process management techniques such as Total Quality Management in addition to empowering employees to deliver amazing service, backed by the mission and values of the company. Stories like that of Joshie the Stuffed Giraffe left at the hotel room by Chris Hurn’s son resonate with guests and strengthen the understanding that Ritz-Carlton not only delivers great quality and service, but their employees care and want to deliver excellence (Hurn, 2017).
Hurn, C. (2012). Stuffed Giraffe Shows What Customer Service is All About. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/stuffed-giraffe-shows-wha_b_1524038
Jacobsen, A. (1996). Measuring the effectiveness of service management on priority assessment: A Case Study for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Thesis, Rochester Institute of Technology. RIT Scholar Works. Retrieved from https://scholarworks.rit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=8426&context=theses
NIST. (2017). 1999 Baldrige Award Recipient, Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. Retrieved from https://www.nist.gov/baldrige/1999-baldrige-award-recipient-ritz-carlton-hotel-company-llc
NIST. (2021). Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Retrieved from https://www.nist.gov/baldrige/baldrige-award
Reliability Analysis Center (n.d.). Quality Tools, The Basic Seven. Retrieved from http://profsite.um.ac.ir/~ahad/QualityTools.pdf
Ritz-Carlton. (n.d.). Gold Standard. Retrieved from https://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/about/gold-standards
Ritz-Carlton News Room. (n.d.). The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Retrieved from http://news.ritzcarlton.com/the-malcolm-baldrige-national-quality-award/