The other day someone told me a poignant story about Horst Schulze, the original owner of the Ritz Carlton.

Schulze required that all guest complaints from all of his many locations come directly to his desk.  If he received the same complaint twice, he would investigate.

In London, he received the same complaint twice.  From two separate elderly women.  On two separate occasions.

They were not happy with the temperature of the water for high tea.  Too cold.  And mind you, this is London – the place for high tea, where elderly women can tell you the temperature of the tea within a degree simply by using their tongue.

So Schulze did what he thought was reasonable.  He got on a plane to London and gathered together all of the employees at the hotel – every last one of them.  He then read the complaint cards and asked, Does anyone here know why the water for the tea is not the right temperature?

After a few minutes, a man in the back raised his hand.  And he said, I know exactly why the water is too cold.  A few months ago we moved the cups from this section of the kitchen to this area.  In the new area whenever the refrigerater is open the cool air flows over the cups, and makes them cold so that even if the water is the right temperature it becomes too cold as soon as it is poured into the cups.

Schulze asked everyone to grab some cups and move them back to where they used to be stacked.

Surprisingly simple.  Customer complaint resolved.  Employees included and empowered.  Company saves an inordinate amount of money and time by not guessing and implementing wrong solutions.

Your employees knowledge base is a tremendous resource.  Treat it as such and you will be surprised 🙂