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Excellent Decisions from the Cofounder of the Ritz-Carlton

Shep Hyken interviews Horst Schulze, the cofounder and COO of Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. They discuss Schulze’s new book, Excellence Wins, and how he succeeded in creating one of the best hotel companies in the world by developing and sustaining a culture of excellence.

The Interview with Horst Schulze:

  • Schulze shares the story behind the famous The Ritz-Carlton Credo, which is “We are ladies and gentleman serving ladies and gentlemen.”
  • There are three things customers want regardless of the industry that form the foundation of every customer interaction. Schulze calls these the Three Universals, and they are a flawless product, timeliness, and kindness.
  • The most important of the Three Universals is kindness. Customers may forgive you for minor flaws in the product if you are nice to them. However, they will not forgive you if you are unkind, even if the product is flawless.
  • The next step is to individualize and personalize the Three Universals to each and every customer. Bringing this human connection into the customer experience is what creates above average and excellent customer service and ensures customer loyalty.
  • If you take pride in what you do and always strive for excellence, you will not only create excellence, but earn the respect of your colleagues and your customers.
  • It’s crucial to get every employee into alignment on the standards and mission of your company. This begins with the initial onboarding process and continues every single workday; training must always continue to ensure alignment and company prosperity.
  • You should not simply “hire” employees; you should instead select individuals who you are a good fit for your culture and the specific role within the larger organization. Selecting the best possible people for each position will ensure success for your company.
  • Everything you do in life is a decision. Actively decide to be excellent and pursue it relentlessly.


“You can define yourself as excellent if you create excellence, no matter what your job is.” – Horst Schulze

“The greatest driver of customer satisfaction is to be nice.” – Horst Schulze

“We are here to serve, but we are not servants.” – Horst Schulze

“If you don’t keep on training, sooner or later somebody will better than you are.” – Horst Schulze

“Everything you do in life is a decision. Decide to be excellent.” – Horst Schulze


Horst Schulze is the founder, chairman, and CEO of the Capella Hotel Group and co-founder and former COO of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. He is also a highly sought after keynote speaker and renowned business leader.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning keynote speaker, and your host of Amazing Business Radio.

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

  1. How can I create a customer-focused culture?
  2. How can I hire the best employees?
  3. What’s the best way to satisfy my customers?
  4. How can I define my company’s culture?
  5. How should I train my employees?

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