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CX Lessons from Jeanne Bliss Part 1 – The Dorchester Hotel Collection

Five-time Chief Customer Officer Jeanne Bliss is an industry expert in customer-centric leadership and a noted author and speaker. Here in the first of two guest posts she shares inspirational case studies from her latest book Would You Do That To Your Mother?

The book is based on the simple idea that you need to take how you are treating customers personally if you want to elevate the experience. So, when taking customer service decisions, imagine your mother as your customer. Would she be happy with the outcome and experience? Using this lens helps focus what you do – and this case study highlights exactly how listening to customers and empowering your people will #MakeMomProud of your team and your company.

#1: A Case Study to #MakeMomProud: The Dorchester Hotel Collection Decided to Rethink the Laundry

Decision Intent: Move Past Function to Desire. The Dorchester Collection includes iconic properties, such as The Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, and Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris.  Their luxury services are developed with a blend of both precision and intuitiveness to cater to customer preferences and desires.

For example, delving into a pattern of social media reviews and consultations with kitchen staff in their restaurants uncovered that 80-90% of breakfast customers customize their order to cater to their dietary restrictions or lifestyle. Now at the Beverly Hills Hotel, there is no breakfast menu.   The waiter asks what you’d like that morning – and whatever your palette desires – it will be yours. Just reading complaints might have driven action to change menu items, rather than the breakthrough action of no menu at all. Ana Brant, who is the Global Director of Guest Experience and Innovation at the Dorchester Collection, calls this the “relentless pursuit of disruptive insights.”

A further example of using disruptive insights from the Dorchester Collection is how it reinvented its laundry service.

In her article in the Harvard Business Review, Ana describes a similar path that led to the complete reinvention of their laundry service. Digging in after complaints about ‘laundry services’ and a spike in replacement costs for items sent to the service, the question to be answered was not “how to make laundry service better,” but “what do guests really need and desire?”  Again, starting with just the complaint might have led to incrementally changing a process…but starting with the lives of their guests completely reoriented and elevated the purpose and experience.

Redesigning this experience began by understanding the importance of wardrobe, quality and status of clothing items by guests. This knowledge moved the Dorchester Collection hotels to elevate what was previously seen as a ‘chore’ and a relatively low-level task into a prestigious service experience.

Impact: The Dorchester now delivers a wardrobe experience, not a laundry service…elevating the outcome for both guest and their staff. To ensure this experience, they invest in expert craftspeople to develop and run this service.  Staff members are given education, training and context for guests’ lives – by visiting high-end stores where they might be purchased. Packaging and delivery of the garments was elevated, and a personalized note and signature from staff to guest describes the care taken for their garment. With these and other guest-inspired actions and gestures, the Dorchester Collection’s guest experience index has increased by 22% worldwide and it has won multiple awards.

Come back in two weeks for the second and final case study selected by Jeanne for our blog. In the meantime, if you want to learn more read the first chapter of Would You Do That To Your Mother here.

About Jeanne Bliss

Jeanne Bliss is a leadership and customer experience advisor and keynote speaker who motivates and guides the worlds’ most beloved companies to become unforgettable; earning growth and admiration through their elevated business practices and the humanity of their people.

For over 35 years, Jeanne has led companies to earn business growth. As the inaugural Chief Customer Officer at Lands’ End, Coldwell Banker, Allstate and Microsoft Corporations, she led the achievement of over ninety-eight percent retention rates. As a strategic advisor, she’s guided over 20,000 leaders on using her 5-competency framework proven to achieve customer-driven growth. As a keynote speaker, 1,500 of the world’s largest companies have asked her to address their audiences on how to elevate their position with customers and in the marketplace. Visit her website, or follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn to learn more.

Published in customer experience Customer Experience Management customer service