Several months ago, the Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur, introduced a "techno-butler" to help guests get their E-mail, configure their laptops, and access the Internet. The idea seems to have caught on. The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago (which, despite its name, is run by the Ritz-Carlton's archrival, the Four Seasons), recently debuted a "compcierge" service. Here's how they compare.
|Name and age||Hansan Lim, 25||Joe Tesfai, 39|
|Hotel||Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur||Ritz-Carlton, Chicago|
|Birthplace||Johor, Malaysia||Asmara, Eritrea|
|Qualifications||Bachelor's degree from Hawaii Pacific University; a year in customer service at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco; assembled problem-solving manual for the Kuala Lumpur hotel.||Computer science degree from the University of the District of Columbia; designed a 160-user network at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai; manages the 120-user network in Chicago.|
|Typical advice||"You have to push the ON button, sir."||"You need to double-click faster, sir."|
|Heroic rescue||"Many Americans have America Online, but Malaysia doesn't. This is a challenge. I've learned I can access AOL's Web site from the hotel account and give guests a special program to check their email."||"Before a big presentation, the C drive on a guest's Dell laptop died. I had the office email me the presentation, and I put it on my laptop for him to use. I had Dell FedEx me a new hard drive, which I installed the next morning."|
|Gratuities||"So far, I haven't been tipped. Malaysia's not a tipping culture. I don't mind. I don't see myself as a computer genius. I'm just helping guests with simple office appliances."||"People are quite generous. I always explain that tips are unnecessary, that the service is free. But guests can't believe it. Some try to get me to come to their houses."|
|High-tech ambition||To watch the internet industry continue its expansion in Malaysia: "When I came back after being in the States, I was so surprised to see my five-year-old cousin playing video games on the Net."||To prepare the Ritz-Carlton for the millennium bug: "We will have spent $600,000 by year's end. It will be a moot point if there's no electricity. We have an in-house generator, and we've stockpiled barrels and barrels of diesel."|
|If you could ask the competition one question, what would it be?||"If technology butlers caught on in the States, they'd get pretty good tips, right?"||"What kind of training do you need to be a technology...butler?"|
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