It seems I have a never-ending supply of stories from mainline companies who just can’t get their customer service act together. Here’s my reasoning for sharing them: since I try to highlight the good and innovative things companies do, it’s only appropriate that when there is a customer service failure, I call that out, as well.
I am a faithful and loyal customer to Marriott. Unless it’s just not feasible, if I’m staying at a hotel, it will be one of the Marriott properties. After a recent stay, I was unable to locate the email of my receipt. You used to stop at the front desk and get a paper copy when checking out, but email has become so prolific, and typically reliable, that I don’t even go to the front desk at all anymore. I can simply leave, and a PDF of my hotel charges is in my inbox before the end of the day. If you don’t have that receipt, you cannot get reimbursed by the client.
So I went online to Marriott.com, logged in, and looked for the option to get my receipt. Although I use this feature on many other sites related to my business travel, Marriott has elected to not use it, though maybe it is so obscure within their web navigation it’s unfindable. Either way, I call this innovation failure number one. How is it not an option for someone who has an account and properly authenticates to get their receipt on the website? So, I called Marriott to get a copy of the receipt, and the Marriott service representative I spoke with said I had to call the actual hotel to get my receipt copy. This is innovation failure number two–why is it that Marriott cannot have access to the electronic copy of my bill?
So, I called the specific Marriott hotel and the clerk was very friendly, but tried multiple times to send the bill to me via email with no success. I even gave them three different email addresses to try, but it never came through. I knew emails were coming in on those other accounts and was confident the problem was not on my end. After being on the phone for more than 50 minutes, the clerk put me on hold, and a new representative picked up the call. I explained I was on hold and being helped, but this individual had no knowledge of the other person, and seemingly could not reconnect me. So, we started all over– unbelievable! This is innovation failure number three. Your phone system and how you manage it cannot be this antiquated in 2018.
Why can’t Marriott allow me to access my receipts like every other travel site? Why is their customer service for this feature so poor? Their online and call center reservation systems are nothing like this, nor are there issues when I stay at their properties. It is a total failure, and the only way it can be fixed is if someone with enough power at Marriott decides this part of the customer experience is important enough to address. I’m guessing if Marriott executives had to deal with service issues like these themselves, they would get addressed very, very quickly.
Eventually, I was able to get my receipt, and my total time on the phone was one hour and five minutes. I cannot bill Marriott for this time and I cannot recover it; it’s just wasted. Marriott has built up enough CX bank with me that I would not abandon them over this one issue, but I wish Marriott would take a hard look at this and simply provide their online users the ability to access a bill from a Marriott property. Good self-service beats out great personal service and it is vastly superior to sub-par service. What type of service gaps does your business have, and what are you doing to identify and remediate them?
Also published on Medium.