Popsicle Moments: Finding A New Flavor of Customer Service | Darren Ross | TEDxSantaBarbara

2020-01-03 01:05:05 00:15:04 [ • ] [Applause] there was never a shortage of cookie dough in my house it’s the early 80s and my dad is the president of Famous Amos cookies I’m 12 years old and he takes my brother Danny and I with him to a food trade show in Miami and we stay at the

Legendary Fountainbleu hotel while I have some vague memories of this trip there’s one memory that stands out clearly we go to dinner and as we’re leaving my brother and I notice right by the hostess stand this beautiful fountain but instead of water inside this fountain it’s filled with Hershey’s

Kisses and we don’t know what to do I mean it’s right there in front of us and there’s thousands of them the hostess comes around and she hands us each an empty brown paper bag and she says go ahead fill it up and we look at each

Other in disbelief but wasting no time we filled these bags to the very top and I remember running back to our hotel room feeling as though I had just gotten away with something and it wasn’t until years later that I appreciated how important that moment really was what

Was this ordinary setting became an elevated experience which would become a guiding principle throughout my career create a moment earn a memory and to me a moment is something that touches me I know it when it happens and it’s magical there’s something about someone slowing down for me just for a minute

That can be unforgettable my wife and I experienced this in 2005 she was pregnant with our first child and it’s the day we’re finding out the gender of our baby and we want to celebrate it’s such an exciting day and we’d always wanted to go to Mastro’s steakhouse in

Beverly Hills but I did not make a reservation so I called the restaurant and of course they are fully booked so we decide to head down there in peak rush hour Los Angeles traffic see if we could get a table and so we get there we

Put our name in and we wait and we wait and we wait to the point we actually got up to leave but then they called our name and it was the manager he escorted us to her table he allowed us to sit down he presented us with our menus and

Took us a step back and he said I would just like to take a moment to tell you what a pleasure it is to have you with us these were such simple words yet hearing them that night was moving he slowed down and created an experience using nothing but words and toned

He created a moment and that moment earned a memory that all have for the rest of my life now I wish I had hundreds of these stories and I bet you wish you had hundreds of these stories too companies slowing down for us to focus

On us and when they do we’ll share this with people we like spreading good news but it’s so common for companies to spend so much time and resources trying to persuade people to become customers but when they get them through the door they squander this precious opportunity by completely fail

To create any sort of positive memory smile say thank you answer the phone within three rings the customer is always right these are bullet points that so many customs so many companies consider to be great customer service the problem is this isn’t customer service at all this is nothing service

It leaves us with nothing now any company could give bad service on a given day from fast food to high-end restaurants from retail to five-star hotels it comes down to the employee working on a given day at a given moment but I’m not here to talk with a human struggle with 5-star hotels

We all have our pet peeves when it comes to customer service we all have what bothers us for me for instance that’s that it seems not too long ago every single restaurant owner and their managers in the world must have gotten together in a room it was a big room and conspired they

Conspired to have all their servers stopped asking their customers how is everything and switch over to how’s everything tasting hey Dad this is way too narrow of a question yes Lexi thank you everything tastes great however my martini glass has been empty for 25 minutes and I’m eating my steak

With a spoon thank you but uh but it tastes great no thank you you know we all we all have our things the question companies should be answering for their customers is would I return based on the service and for me the answer is almost always know

How sad my company operates the Magic Castle Hotel in Hollywood California and when I got there the hotel it just wasn’t operating to its potential it was a converted apartment building with exterior corridors it’s built in the late 50s it didn’t have an elevator room service a restaurant great views to sell

And we realized that if we were going to move this hotel forward we would have to create an extraordinary experience for our customers and now sixteen years later we are a convert apartment building with exterior corridors we don’t have an elevator we don’t have room service a restaurant

Great views to sell yeah we are one of the leading hotels in Los Angeles in terms of guest experience we’re typically in the top five on TripAdvisor we’ve won multiple awards for customer service dozens of articles have been written about us and multinational companies stop by to see what we do Chip

And Dan Heath mentioned us in their book the power of moments they say our lives are measured in moments and defining moments are those that endure in our memories at the hotel we actively seek out opportunities to create moments for our guests we are a customer service

Company that functions as a hotel and it’s within that mindset creativity flourishes and memories are earned when we lead people through our process they love it we slow things down for them when they’re checking in we come around for the front desk and we hand them champagne glasses filled with Italian

Lemon soda and we give them the welcome speech and the welcome speech could be anything the staff member wants it to be except for the opening line which is I would just like to take a moment to tell you what a pleasure it is to have you

With us throughout Thursday we are a moment creating machine laying by the pool use our popsicle hot line just lift up the red phone that will answer popsicle hot line and out comes a white beloved employee with your free popsicles have laundry to do we’ll do all your laundry at no

Charge we’ll even wrap it up tie it with twine put a sprig of lavender on it never a charge want a snack you know we have two dozen snack items the front desk full-size chocolate bars candy chips cookies 24 hours a day unlimited whatever you want I want

People to feel what I felt back at that Hotel in Miami that they’re getting away with something and experiencing something that’s unheard of for the companies out there who are you know they could do better and want to do better I invite you to picture what it

Looks like and sounds like for your customers to experience mind-blowing service if you were a customer service company how would that shift your operation what sort of progress could be made by simply slowing down for your customers and focusing on them moving a company forward in this regard doesn’t

Have to be expensive words are free and attitude is free so how do we get customer service from being nothing to something we develop our service reflex the first step is to decide to transform literally over night a company can decide to become a customer service company that functions as whatever it is

They do that’s what we did we didn’t have an exact roadmap but we had a general direction you don’t have to have a plan on day one and it doesn’t have to be overwhelming reward for getting on board our employees have to be motivated to go on that customer service ride with

A company we give our staff and not to upsell people to larger rooms or sell merchandise but we want them to create stories for our customers and we want our customers to feel compelled to share those stories with others a story can be creative thoughtful playful all

Of the above but they have to be impactful and we encourage our employees to share these stories with the management team and they are financially rewarded for doing it so maybe we learn a guess is leaving the hotel to go down to Hollywood Boulevard to see Marilyn

Monroe’s star when they get back there might be a picture of Marilyn on their wall with a note from Marilyn welcoming them to Hollywood or maybe a guest is going around the corner to the Hollywood Bowl for a concert that night we might make them a card and put the performers

Image on the front and then incorporated throughout the greeting our song titles from that performer it’s fun for the guests to receive these things and it’s fun for the staff to be able to create them listen carefully respond creatively this is how a company develops a sharp service reflex and with the develop

Service reflex a company can deliver high levels of customer service more consistently that can differentiate themselves with something other than the products or services they sell it becomes their competitive advantage so for companies who are ready to take these steps decide to transform you don’t have to have an exact plan on day

One reward for getting on board so we could celebrate the employees who embrace our mission and listen carefully we spawned creatively to develop a sharp service reflex we are all customers with a lot of power why settle on nothing service instead we should reward those companies who take

That moment for us to engage and focus on us create a moment earn a memory may everybody here find your fountain of Hershey’s Kisses and now I would like to just take a moment to tell you what a pleasure it’s been to present to you today [Applause]

When was the last time you experienced truly exceptional customer service? Darren Ross has made it his life’s work to redefine what it means to give the gift of a memory to customers. Starting his career in hospitality at Hyatt West Hollywood in 1995,Darren would win the 1997 California Tourism Award for Employee of the Year from the state.

In 1998 he was a part of the opening management team at Beach House Hotel, Hermosa Beach,where he implemented service standards for the hotel.

He left Beach House in 2000 to start a secret shopping company.One of his clients was the Magic Castle Club in Hollywood. Darren worked closely with the property owners, who also owned the Magic Castle Hotel.He was offered the G.M. position at the Hotel. Soon after accepting, he became manager of all three properties the owners held.Today, He leases the hotel and created his hospitality management brand, Service Freak Hospitality,LLC. The hotel transformed from a no-frills experience, to a multi award-winning hotel with their unique approach featured in books,podcasts and on TV.

Darren has spoken to groups such as Nike and Harcourts Realty on the importance of creating service moments. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx
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0 Reviews

19 thoughts on “Popsicle Moments: Finding A New Flavor of Customer Service | Darren Ross | TEDxSantaBarbara”
  1. Darren -thank you for sharing your expertise and experiences that has transformed your property and can offer any hotel property or company the opportunity to enhance its customer service and leave a lasting positive impression. Those impressions then lead to positive word of mouth (free advertising) and referrals which are ultimate rewards for a job well done.

  2. This is so spot on! As a return customer at Magic Castle Hotel, I can say in all honesty they offer the absolute best in service. My daughter has a picture in her room of her and her BFF sitting on lounge chairs, by the pool, eating all you can eat ice cream. The fact that she has this hanging along with pictures of her friends and family, tells me this is a huge and happy memory for her. We stay twice per year, as I work for a publicist during the major awards season. I bring my daughter along just for the experience of Magic Castle hotel. Wonderful job, Darren. In the words of Bob Hope, thanks for the memories ♥️

  3. i truly hate your mentality that you want to impose to the world. the only thing that you care of is buying something. Always talking about business, money, profit, customer service etc. those ideas meant nothing during the pandemic. it did not help you.
    Try to think of something not material.

  4. I have just listened to this video as part of my BUS 140 Customer Service class in college. This was a well-spent 15 minutes that should and will help me in any of my work experiences, even though I don't work in customer service.

  5. A book mentioned on this speach, Power of moments, is one of the best CX, CS books of all time. It can be compared to this Ted talk. You are reading it, time flies and while it does, you absorb tons of meaningful insights. It is one of the books I've gifted and recommended the most. Do yourself a favor and read it.

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