Paul Rutter: Could you Live with Your Customers and Colleagues, 24/7?

Could YOU or YOUR company survive if you had to live and work with your customers and coworkers? Hearing every bit of praise, every complaint, and every…everything? That’s what life is like for the cruise industry, where crew and customers live together for weeks in the middle of the ocean. And it’s why my guest today, Paul Rutter,  helps land-based companies apply the lessons he’s learned from the cruise ship industry to create exceptional customer experiences.

Today, we talk about what he learned about both customer experience and culture from working in the cruise industry, and how to ensure your employees are supported so they can show up with the right attitude and deliver great customer care. We discuss what to look for in hiring, how to empower employees to solve problems right away, why gossip is a culture killer, the importance of top execs getting in the trenches, and the link between empathy, innovation, and risk-taking.  Paul even shares how to deal with extreme customer disappointments – like weddings canceled due to hurricanes – and how empathy helps turn those experiences into lifetime customer value, loyalty, and referrals.


To access the episode transcript, please click on the episode title at 

Key Takeaways:

  • Hire for attitude. Skills can be trained (and training is so, so important and should be done regularly), but without the right attitude having the right skills won’t matter. 
  • Learn about and celebrate the differences of those onboard your team. You need to take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers. You want your employees to be your raving brand ambassadors. 
  • If you’re in the C-Suite, take time to work how your lower-level employees work each day. It is important for the employees to see and for the executives to know what your employees are dealing with every day. 


“We have one goal on board a ship. That’s it. And it should be the goal of all of your listeners as well: Create such an exceptional experience that exceeds expectations that they will come back because they’ve had such a great experience.” —  Paul Rutter

About Paul Rutter, Chief Experience Officer:

After three decades as a global cruise director who lived with his team and clients, speaker, trainer, and author Paul Rutter knows that “perfect” is just a starting point. He knows that with today’s abundance of options for customers, every single experience they have is critical to running a successful business. Paul helps companies around the world set a standard for unmatched customer service.

Recognized by USA Today, ABC, NBC, MarketWatch, and FOX, Paul Rutter is a customer experience expert, speaker, bestselling author, and founder of the More Than Perfect service model.  Paul is the author of the bestseller You Can’t Make This Ship Up, a hilarious look at the lessons he’s learned at sea and now applies to land-based businesses.  He is also the creator of the strategic guide, Repeat Business Inc: The Business of Staying in Business.

Connect with Paul Rutter:

Smooth Sailing Communication, Inc: 



Book: You Can’t Make This Ship Up; Business Strategies, Life Lessons and True Stories From 40 Years at Sea

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