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How to Be a Customer Service Rock Star

What lessons can we learn from rock stars in the world of customer service and customer experience, like Ritz-Carlton?

Shep Hyken interviews award-winning training and development expert, international consultant and speaker, former VP of Ritz-Carlton Leadership and current Executive VP of Owner Experience at NetJets, Diana Oreck, about the traits that make for good customer service.

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First Up:

In Shep Hyken’s opening comments, he relates an experience from the customer service workshops his company conducts for client companies. In these workshops, attendees are asked, “What is a quality that all customer-focused employees possess?” After a list is tallied, an interesting observation can be made. While a few of these qualities, are the skills required to do the job, the clear majority of the qualities are attitudinal traits. What Shep then challenges you do to is to make a list of all the attitudinal traits that you think would be required for a truly customer-focused employee, specifically in your organization. Then choose ten of them. Combine this top ten list with the skills that an employee must have to do their job. When you find a candidate that possesses all the qualities on the list (both attitudinal qualities and skills), you will likely have your next amazing employee!

Featured Interview:

Shep begins his interview with Diana Oreck, who served as the Vice President of the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, and is currently the Executive VP of Owner Experience at NetJets, about what makes customer service and the customer experience at Ritz-Carlton so special.

Oreck says it all stems from their often-quoted motto: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” We should all expect respect and kindness. That’s how the Ritz-Carlton treats people, both internally and externally. They have truly hardwired the concept of the most important word, which is always. Because always leads to consistency, which leads to trust, which leads to profitability. That spirit to serve, regardless of your role in the company, is wired into people’s DNA. And management at the Ritz-Carlton is fantastic, because they walk the talk.

Top Takeaways:

  • If you are in a service industry, competence is the price of entry. We left the transactional economy years ago.
  • Easy to do business with has now become a greater predictor of customer loyalty than customer satisfaction.
  • We shouldn’t be calling them “soft skills.” There is a connotation there that they aren’t really that important. They are. We should call them “real skills” instead.


Diana Oreck is a nationally and internationally recognized, results-driven, creative, senior executive with 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. Additionally, Oreck is an international consultant in corporate culture, branding, leadership, employee engagement and legendary service.  She was named 2011/2012 Professional Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women. After a 12-year career at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Oreck is currently the Executive Vice President of the Owner Experience for NetJets.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, best-selling author, award-winning keynote speaker and your host of Amazing Business Radio.


“Regardless of your title or wealth, always be gracious and remain humble, because you are here to serve. It is never above any of us to take care of a customer in such a way that preserves the dignity and respect of both sides.” – Diana Oreck

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This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions… and more:

  1. What makes the customer service at the Ritz-Carlton great?
  2. Why is consistency so important?
  3. What are the qualities of a customer-focused employee?
  4. Should you hire for skills or attitude?
  5. Are “soft skills” important?

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