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Marriott's Customer Service : General Discussion Thread

Marriott's Customer Service : General Discussion Thread

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Old Jul 16, 18, 9:59 am
  #61  
 
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Has Customer Service Declined - Excluding BRG

So events recently with dealing with SPG have made me think there has been a quite substantial decline in the customer service from SPG, especially when things go wrong. My Ambassador left Starwood / Marriott recently joining from what I can tell is a long list of people to leave not so much since the merger but since they figured what life was like under Marriott, some I am sure made the choice for themselves, others I am guessing Marriott were happy to loose due to role duplication.

What I am finding however is that there is essentially brick walls now in place that never used to me. It seems that if you have an issue no matter how much the Ambassador or supervisor you speak to would like their hands are tied and there is little form of escalation which from what I can tell is on purpose. You can never speak to anyone with authority directly and even when you wait 48-96 hours to speak to a supervisor after multiple failures they call you not having read up on the issues and when it is explained basically can do nothing apart from say they will speak to their manager and call you back and when they call you back and they don't have the answer required they again have to speak to their manager and call back once more! What happened to the days when a manager would call, listen, understand and have authority to actually take control!

This may just be my experience hence reaching out on FT to see if others have experienced this brick wall that appears to have been created between the customer facing representatives and the people with actual decision making powers. Issues at hotels seem similar, you raise an issue with your Ambassador or Starwood and it used to be the hotels would take note and act, whereas now they barely bother trying. I am referring to hotels where they have this attitude as I would always have reached out to a hotel directly before trying to raise a formal complaint, but generally it seems like hotels are held to account much less than they used to!

Since the merger I have actually had some very good stays at Marriott properties, but if this is the way things will be going forward I am certainly going to be increasing my stays elsewhere, I am just finding the level of service is declining to a level I don't feel is acceptable and is such a shame its going this way! Hoping others tell me however its an isolated thing and things will get better but I am basing my thoughts over the last 6-12 months overall and in that time I had a great Ambassador but he could only do what the superiors allowed him!

* As I mentioned in the title really don't want this to become a BRG is terrible thread, the BRG thread covers that already!
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Old Jul 16, 18, 10:56 am
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Originally Posted by UKTraveller4Fun View Post
Yes it has! My experience as well.
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Old Jul 19, 18, 2:24 pm
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Sent an email to Starwood CS three days ago. Today still no response. No reponse from Marriott two weeks ago about something else. At least I received a confirmation email from mailing Marriott with info they are experiencing tons of things to do, but still? I spend lots of money on Marriott/SPG every year, I'm platinum, what's going on? I'm expecting premium service as I'm spending premium money on the company.
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Old Jul 20, 18, 12:53 pm
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Maybe this is something Marriott members are used to? I've no idea as I'm not a loyalist with them

That said, all my personal stays with MAR brands so far have all be excellent and nicely upgraded.
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Old Jul 20, 18, 4:40 pm
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My feeling is that it has dropped big styles. Especially the BRG team. They were incompetent at best before, now they are incompetent combined with lazy. I dont even bother now because the staff are no different than insurance claim adjustors. They deny without even reading a sentence to completion.
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Old Jul 21, 18, 1:19 am
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Ugh. I'm bummed that I find this thread timely and accurate.

I checked out of the Sheraton NY Times Square earlier this week. At 6 am I stopped by the desk to check out. Prepaid stay, so only destination fee and a few lounge charges. And the destination fee credited back, against the lounge charges. Agent was weak, but the numbers looked okay to me. A few hours later another invoice was emailed. Different numbers, same destination fee.

Long story short, both invoices were charged to my Chase Marriott card. So, I was billed for 2 x the destination fees. Called the hotel. Was told that they cannot see my charges once I've checked out (a flat out lie) .Transferred to Marriott Customer service. MCS insisted that one of the charges was simply "pending". It was not, but she would have none of what I was saying. After 30 minutes I hung up and called Chase to dispute one of the charges. Chase confirmed that both charges had posted, which was very clear to me when viewing my online account.

Later on I called the Sheraton NY back. Spoke to a manager. She had NO TROUBLE looking up my folio.......actually, folios. There were two separate ones, it turns out. One was under the name of the additional guest in my room. She was EXTREMELY knowledgeable and I have confidence that she will fix the mess.

I'm very disappointed that my first call to the hotel was met with the LIE that they cannot view my charges. Completely disgusted at the waste of my time spent on the phone with Marriott Customer Service.
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Old Jul 21, 18, 12:23 pm
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Do not use Front Desk for billing issues

Originally Posted by clublounger View Post
Ugh. I'm bummed that I find this thread timely and accurate.

I checked out of the Sheraton NY Times Square earlier this week. At 6 am I stopped by the desk to check out. Prepaid stay, so only destination fee and a few lounge charges. And the destination fee credited back, against the lounge charges. Agent was weak, but the numbers looked okay to me. A few hours later another invoice was emailed. Different numbers, same destination fee.

Long story short, both invoices were charged to my Chase Marriott card. So, I was billed for 2 x the destination fees. Called the hotel. Was told that they cannot see my charges once I've checked out (a flat out lie) .Transferred to Marriott Customer service. MCS insisted that one of the charges was simply "pending". It was not, but she would have none of what I was saying. After 30 minutes I hung up and called Chase to dispute one of the charges. Chase confirmed that both charges had posted, which was very clear to me when viewing my online account.

Later on I called the Sheraton NY back. Spoke to a manager. She had NO TROUBLE looking up my folio.......actually, folios. There were two separate ones, it turns out. One was under the name of the additional guest in my room. She was EXTREMELY knowledgeable and I have confidence that she will fix the mess.

I'm very disappointed that my first call to the hotel was met with the LIE that they cannot view my charges. Completely disgusted at the waste of my time spent on the phone with Marriott Customer Service.
Most FDAs at *wood are just trained on the basics - check in and check out. Turnover is so high that there isn't much time/use to do more. If you ever have a possible billing issue, don't try to get an FDA to figure it out. Depending on the level of access they have (yes, not all have access to all tools), they may indeed not be able to see how something was charged. As a supervisor awhile ago, I could see things that my FDAs couldn't. Also, when something is past 24 hours, the Front Desk can't do anything - it has to go to Accounting. Don't call the FDA a liar - it may be all they could see. On the CMS system where I work now, I can see things that others also can't - I can see if a CC transaction was a "sale" (i.e. a charge), "authorization" (pending) or "increment" (additional authorization). Nightly, I get guests calling down, asking why they were charged; I look at the transaction report and can see that they were NOT charged, but an authorization.

Just so you know...
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Old Jul 21, 18, 12:32 pm
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Originally Posted by slidergirl View Post
Most FDAs at *wood are just trained on the basics - check in and check out. Turnover is so high that there isn't much time/use to do more. If you ever have a possible billing issue, don't try to get an FDA to figure it out. Depending on the level of access they have (yes, not all have access to all tools), they may indeed not be able to see how something was charged. As a supervisor awhile ago, I could see things that my FDAs couldn't. Also, when something is past 24 hours, the Front Desk can't do anything - it has to go to Accounting. Don't call the FDA a liar - it may be all they could see. On the CMS system where I work now, I can see things that others also can't - I can see if a CC transaction was a "sale" (i.e. a charge), "authorization" (pending) or "increment" (additional authorization). Nightly, I get guests calling down, asking why they were charged; I look at the transaction report and can see that they were NOT charged, but an authorization.

Just so you know...
I'll tell you what I know, which you don't seem to have grasped from my post - I called the hotel and was told that they cannot see anything about my bill once i've checked out and that she needed to transfer me to a Marriott customer service agent, who turned out to be as useless. They handle billing issues and the agent there insisted one of my charges was only "pending". WRONG! I called back to the hotel and someone there (not accounting, as it was evening and they were closed) had complete access to my bill. AND she is fixing it. I WAS LIED to.

Why you feel the need to defend a lie I cannot comprehend.
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Old Jul 21, 18, 9:16 pm
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Originally Posted by clublounger View Post
Why you feel the need to defend a lie I cannot comprehend.
I think you may not have completely understood slidergirl's comment. This is the key that I think you might be missing:

Originally Posted by slidergirl View Post
Most FDAs at *wood are just trained on the basics - check in and check out. Turnover is so high that there isn't much time/use to do more.
If the Front Desk Representative you talked to wasn't fully qualified to fix your problem, she or he may not have known which screen to check. Or, she or he may not have fully understood what was on that screen because of lack of training.

I'm thinking Hanlon's Razor is the explanation: Never attribute to malice [a lie] that which is adequately explained by stupidity [lack of training].

I spent over a decade working in hotels. The Front Desk is the public-facing area of the hotel. As such, most guests expect them to be able to fix every problem. Even a seasoned Front Desk Representative can't fix some problems, simply because they don't have access to the proper tools.

In most hotels, there are pretty clear temporal lines regarding "ownership" of a problem. Anything issue prior to arrival is usually handled by the Reservations Department. Starting the date of arrival through the date of check out, the Front Desk takes over. After that, the Accounting Department is the area that typically handles all billing issues, as slidergirl notes.
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Old Jul 21, 18, 11:19 pm
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Originally Posted by writerguyfl View Post
I spent over a decade working in hotels. The Front Desk is the public-facing area of the hotel. As such, most guests expect them to be able to fix every problem. Even a seasoned Front Desk Representative can't fix some problems, simply because they don't have access to the proper tools.

In most hotels, there are pretty clear temporal lines regarding "ownership" of a problem. Anything issue prior to arrival is usually handled by the Reservations Department. Starting the date of arrival through the date of check out, the Front Desk takes over. After that, the Accounting Department is the area that typically handles all billing issues, as slidergirl notes.
I tend to agree with this, what does jump at me however is you would expect Marriott Customer Service to be able to do better than this and I think possibly it is they who Clublounger feels lied to them as they told him the charge was pending and thus not an issue, which clearly wasn't the case. Fair enought the FD agent not being able to do anythign about it but its a weak showing by Customer Service!
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Old Jul 22, 18, 9:39 pm
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Originally Posted by UKTraveller4Fun View Post
I tend to agree with this, what does jump at me however is you would expect Marriott Customer Service to be able to do better than this and I think possibly it is they who Clublounger feels lied to them as they told him the charge was pending and thus not an issue, which clearly wasn't the case. Fair enought the FD agent not being able to do anythign about it but its a weak showing by Customer Service!
Yeah, none of it should happen. If the person doesn't know the answer, that should be the response. And the follow-up by that person should be an offer to 1) connect you to someone that can help, or 2) provide the information on who to contact if not available or transferring is not possible. Customer Service in general is not great in the hospitality industry when it comes to fixing problems.

Perhaps Marriott is completely different, but in the chains I worked, neither the Corporate Office not Central Reservations could see any billing systems for individual hotels. Hotels are technically separate businesses from the chain. I worked at corporate owned and operated hotel and our billing system was still walled off from the folks at the Corporate Office.

I'd say that the best practice for addressing a billing issue is to contact the hotel directly during normal business hours. Doing anything else increases the chances of speaking with someone who isn't fully equipped to fix the issue.
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Old Jul 23, 18, 9:23 am
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Originally Posted by writerguyfl View Post
Yeah, none of it should happen. If the person doesn't know the answer, that should be the response. And the follow-up by that person should be an offer to 1) connect you to someone that can help, or 2) provide the information on who to contact if not available or transferring is not possible. Customer Service in general is not great in the hospitality industry when it comes to fixing problems.

Perhaps Marriott is completely different, but in the chains I worked, neither the Corporate Office not Central Reservations could see any billing systems for individual hotels. Hotels are technically separate businesses from the chain. I worked at corporate owned and operated hotel and our billing system was still walled off from the folks at the Corporate Office.

I'd say that the best practice for addressing a billing issue is to contact the hotel directly during normal business hours. Doing anything else increases the chances of speaking with someone who isn't fully equipped to fix the issue.
I recently had a billing issue with an awards stay at a Sheraton. When I received my credit card statement I noticed that I had one charge on the date of check-out which agreed with the folio. I had another charge a day later for which I knew nothing.

I called the Sheraton hotel and went through their telephone response tree and selected "Billing Issues". I then had to select whether the billing issue pertained to 1) a check-out within the past 30 days or 2) one that was older than 30 days. My check-out was 36 days prior to my call so I selected Option 2. I was automatically transferred to a line which was answered by a computer as "Marriott Customer Service". I was on hold for 27 minutes before I hung up and redialed the Sheraton hotel and this time selected the "within the past 30 days" option. My call was answered by the local property's accounting department and the charge was reversed about four minutes later. Yes, you've probably guessed it. The unknown charge was the amount that should have been charged to Starwood for reimbursement of the awards stay.
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Old Jul 23, 18, 11:01 am
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In answer to the OP's question I have 3 occasions to contact various types of customer support in recent weeks and have found the responses to be helpful, polite and professional. On each occasion my problems were resolved immediately and to my full satisfaction. I have noticed no deterioration at all.
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Old Jul 23, 18, 11:49 pm
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Originally Posted by controller1 View Post
I called the Sheraton hotel and went through their telephone response tree and selected "Billing Issues". I then had to select whether the billing issue pertained to 1) a check-out within the past 30 days or 2) one that was older than 30 days. My check-out was 36 days prior to my call so I selected Option 2. I was automatically transferred to a line which was answered by a computer as "Marriott Customer Service".
The highlighted sentence is really interesting. I've never heard of a hotel outsourcing their billing issues to a chain. That runs counter to how I understand the industry, as I didn't think any chain had access to anything related to billing at a franchise. Well, unless the Marriott Customer Service agent just serves as "note-taker" who just documents the problem and sends it to the hotel to get resolved. That seems backwards, since it merely lengthens the process.

But, that's good information. I'll try to remember it next time I comment on a billing problem.

Side Note: I worked as an Income Auditor at a hotel for about a year. That's the person that audits the night audit. For a guest to get billed for a point redemption in that hotel, the Front Desk representative, the Night Auditor, and me would all have had to make a mistake. I know my boss (the Comptroller) would have reprimanded me for that type of mistake. That's the kind of mistake that no hotel should ever make. There should be multiple checks happening to catch it.
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Old Jul 24, 18, 5:42 am
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There seems to be a culture that's developed among a variety of customer service areas (including hotel front desks, airline phone reservation agents, credit card phone agents) to never say to a customer that they don't know the answer (and ideally will find it or will send the customer to someone who does know) but rather to just make up some lie and get rid of the customer. I'd like to know which big consultant thought that this is a good idea.
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