One thing I think is underappreciated in the frustration some members have with Marriott’s loyalty program is that while there have been implementation problems — with Marriott’s website, customer service, accounts integration, and getting hotels to implement the program correctly — some of what a legacy Starwood Preferred Guest member may be experiencing is just adjusting to how things actually work on the Marriott side of the fence.
You see, when it comes to customer service legacy Marriott members have just come to accept what the second President Bush once called “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” Starwood customers used to getting phones answered on the first ring and agents – by phone or email – who fixed problems can’t understand why Marriott isn’t doing it yet. What they miss is that Marriott didn’t do that before, either. And so holding them to that standard misses the point.
A reader emailed Marriott for help with transferring points to airline miles. After a wait they received this non-sequitur of a reply:
The reader didn’t reply. Then six days later they got another response as though the first one hand’t been sent. It’s apparently not possible to transfer Marriott points to miles online.
My point is this: many Starwood customers simply aren’t used to Marriott customer service, and they think what they’re experiencing is something wrong with the program. Marriott, for its part, doesn’t see as much wrong as customers do because they are delivering normal service.
This is, in my experience, fairly common for interactions with Marriott. I’m still waiting for a response to an email from back in September, by the way.
When you have a frustrating interaction dealing with Marriott over a simple matter you may think you’re getting Bonvoyed when really you’re just dealing with Marriott.
For a contrary take though Loyalty Lobby suggests that Marriott has gutted its customer service centers.