In EXCELLENCE WINS: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise (Zondervan/HarperCollins, 3/5/19), Horst Schulze explains how the act of caring is the key to exceptional customer service – and success – in any industry today. A dedicated advocate for customer service excellence, Schulze has elevated the customer experience across a six-decade career in luxury hospitality by truly caring, a passion demonstrated to his guests, teams and colleagues alike. He believes customer care is the most undervalued (and overlooked) elements in business today.
Schulze spearheaded Ritz-Carlton’s unprecedented multi-billion dollar growth, setting the elite global brand’s winning vision and people-focused standards from its inception. The universal truth that guided his successful career is the practical belief in caring for people above profits. It was Schulze who established 24 Service Standards for all employees, empowering anyone on his staff to spend up to $2000 to solve any guest problem or issue. He now urges leaders of every age, career stage, and industry not to settle for secondary goals like meeting a budget or even safeguarding jobs, so as not to miss the most important work. This disruptive principle, he argues, can take service and leadership to the highest level. The power of caring for others is the key driver of success.
In an interview, Schulze can discuss how his model of leadership merged with service at the highest level. His disruptive leadership model and passionate, personalized, “no excuses” approach has included short 10-minute “stand-up” meetings to start each shift, and the rollout of 24 principles printed for each employee to espouse – both on-duty and off-the-job. Stressing the importance of language, Schulze has urged employees to respond to customers’ routine thanks not simply with “you’re welcome” or “no problem” but with “my pleasure.” Customer service is in the details, and the smallest touches never go unnoticed. These principles helped reshape today’s concept of service, and now transcending hospitality, they’re applied in every industry seeking competitive advantage.
Detailing his life-long admiration of caring and respectful service, Excellence Wins reveals the power of caring for others to determine our success. How we care for people is paramount: “Service always implies caring,” Schulze remarks. “If we settle for lesser goals—meeting the budget, for example, or safeguarding our jobs in a tough economy—we will miss the most important work.” It is excellence in service that secures our future, Schulze contends.
Horst Schulze is Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Capella Hotel Group, and Co-founder & Former COO of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. His visionary and disruptive principles have reshaped excellence, service, and competitive advantage, transcending divisions of industry across the business landscape. Schulze left Ritz Carlson in 2002 and founded The Capella Hotel Group, an ultra-luxury hotel brand with hotels in Europe and Asia. Schulze crafted the company’s iconic mission statement — “Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen” — which reflects the value of respect for one’s team, instilling a respect for others (our customers, clients and guests). A dynamic keynote speaker, Schulze is a frequent consultant for global businesses and organizations. He and his wife, Sheri, live in Atlanta, Georgia.