Don’t tell a story. Be the story.

Written by Chris Hewitt, Chief Storyteller

7 July 2022


As we enter the summer holiday season, I’m reminded of a story from a few years ago which, despite being seven years old, is worthy of being remembered and retold today. Here’s why …

The holiday was over, and it was time to go home. Mum and Dad had finished packing and the hotel’s taxi was ready to take them to the airport. “Where’s my Thomas?”, piped up Tommy, their four-year old son who was already getting separation anxiety. Two members of staff from the Ritz Carlton Hotel hurriedly searched everywhere for Tommy’s beloved Thomas the Tank Engine toy. But no joy. It was time to go or miss the plane.

If you have kids or sometimes care for them, you’ll know this drama well.

As the family left, the two members of staff took it upon themselves to drive to the local toy store where they bought a new Thomas. They returned to the hotel and took pictures of Thomas working with the concierge, at the reception, by the swimming pool, in the restaurant and helping out in the kitchen. They wrote a story about how busy Thomas had been that he completely forgot about the time and missed the flight.

They packaged the words and pictures together with the shiny new Thomas and sent it by DHL to the family where it was gratefully received.

This story is one of hundreds collected and curated by the Ritz Carlton group which has won more than its fair share of customer service awards. And the more stories they tell like this, the more the staff want to deliver on the promise.

Stories become a self-fulfilling prophecy when you deliberately use them to reinforce your core message.

Instead of telling us about their great customer service, the Ritz-Carlton IS customer service. And here I am spreading their word. Clever, isn’t it?

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