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Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen to Achieve Excellent Nonprofit Customer Experience

Updated: Mar 18

Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. This is the heart, soul, and vision of Horst Schulze, the founder of Ritz Carlton. It was his vision as a young manager in the hotel-hospitality business years ago. I came across his one-liner in his book Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise (Zondervan, 2019).


This book is about providing the best possible customer experience in your business or organization. Every business and nonprofit organization has customers, both internal and external. You may call them clients, residents, members, associates, or patients but in essence, they are customers. They spend or give their money so that something might result, and in the process, they receive service, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but they always have an experience with your company or nonprofit. So, what does good customer service look like? What about an excellent nonprofit customer experience? Hear what Schulze says about the investment into caring for people and aligning teams for a greater purpose.

My first exposure to customer service was as a 9-year-old boy working in our family business. We owned grocery businesses, laundromats, and a wholesale candy distribution company, not all at the same time. All these businesses were successful and effective. But why? Because my mother, Gloria Garcia Reyes, and my dad Gus Reyes, majored on serving customers to the best of our ability. We operated fresh meat markets in both of our grocery stores, and I worked everything from the meat market (beef, pork, poultry, and fish) to stocking merchandise, checking customers, and all duties as assigned. I later majored in business management at Angelo State University before I went to seminary. While in seminary, I worked in national customer service for a company called US Tel, US Sprint, GTE Sprint, Sprint, and today it is called T-Mobile.


Customer service (good, bad, or excellent) needs no explanation. You know it when you see it. This is the vision I have for Buckner International. It is challenging when we are spread across 14 cities in Texas and six countries outside the USA. But it all starts with intent, vision, and a sense of direction. Our mission is to “Follow the example of Jesus by serving vulnerable children, families, and seniors.” Our vision is to “Set the standard of excellence in serving vulnerable children, families, and seniors.” I am on a personal mission to make this true across all Buckner locations: “Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.”

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