Newsletter Richard Ratliff

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, May 2019, Professional Standards of Performance

Professional Standards of Performance: Application #15

By Richard L. Ratliff 

Today’s Issue: Promotion of the Profession

Scenario: I recently visited a friend and his wife, who are living in an upscale retirement facility near a large city in the Western United States. The facility is beautifully designed; immaculate; with luxury apartments, professionally landscaped grounds, guest quarters, a large private dining room for luncheons and dinner parties, and ample parking space, including garage service. It houses a movie theater, a quiet, well-equipped library, a chapel, an exercise room and personal trainer, and is well-located for various activities such as golf, tennis, hiking, concerts, theater, gourmet dining of every imaginable type, shopping, and outings to scenic locations in the region, even wilderness and seaside hikes, river day trips, freshwater and deep sea fishing, and cruises. There is ready access to commercial and private airports. Maid service is offered once a week, as is personal transportation service for its residents. Gourmet meals and any-time snacks are prepared by an expert kitchen staff, including a highly accomplished chef and two sous chefs. Residents have formed groups for various activities, from volunteer service, book clubs, discussion groups, to music, sports, and dancing. You surely get the picture—an upscale lifestyle suitable for well-to-do, active, retired seniors desiring independence without the responsibilities of maintaining large households. Nearly perfect!

Nearly. With all of these amenities, there still was opportunity for a butler’s touch of luxury in ambience and quality of service.

Standards: The Butler’s Professional Code of Ethics encourages not only the practice of superlative service in one’s own employment, but extends the butler’s responsibility to promoting superlative service in other professions through “mentoring, promoting industry standards, and active involvement in professional relationships and organizations.”

Recommendations: My friend arranged a personal tour for me with an assistant manager of the facility. We discussed the butler’s relationship-based approach to staff and service management, the manner and delivery of perfect moments, the importance of setting the stage for the pleasure, safety, and success of others while remaining in the background ourselves, and other principles of successful butling.

Our tour has led to possible training opportunities for management and staff of this facility in the basic principles and techniques of modern butling that can be easily employed in a modern, new professional and living environment to enhance the life style and comfort of a large “household” of people.

A complimentary booklet on the standards of service, upon which this column is based, and also written by Professor Ratliff, is available for download in electronic format.

Professor Ratliff is a retired butler who co-authored Volume 1 of Serving the Wealthy and has published three other books and over thirty articles. He can be reached via the Institute.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.