16 January 2015

Marriott Red Coat Direct

Let's welcome the New Year with some of the tremendous improvements made in the hotel industry in recent years.  We just completed our 26th annual symposium and training sessions at the Charleston SC Marriott. As you can guess, in 26 years we have learned a lot about how we want to run our events and what the hotel must do to make it run smoothly.

Since we are quality assurance professionals, the failure-complaint mode is not our style. We use FMEA thinking to anticipate and proactively assure what goes right and prevent what could go wrong. This includes providing the hotel with the event order spreadsheet that details each day's room set up, meals (including special diets), audio-visual equipment, costs, and so forth. Such information is always welcomed by the hotel’s banquet staff who take care of multiple groups simultaneously.

Despite this, there are always a few minor things each year that we did not anticipate. This year, the unseasonably warm sun poured into the meeting foyer and melted our ice cream snack. Instead of chasing down a hotel worker or relaying the problem through the front desk via a house phone as we usually have to do, we were able to get the melted ice cream replaced instantly with a couple of swipes and clicks!
(screen shot of Marriott Red Coat Direct app)

The "Marriott Red Coat Direct” is a mobile device app that the chain has rolled out in recent years. It lets us meeting planners message anything needing immediate attention, from “adjust room temperature,”  “too much noise from kitchen,” “need more chairs,” to “a daily statement before the end of the day” and more all without leaving the meeting room or even talking.

We can't tell you what a relief this was. The reassuring part of this system is that the message is viewed not only by the banquet staff who were assigned to our function but also by their peers and their bosses. This provides multiple eyes and ears to make sure the meeting planner’s Voice of the Customer is heard and taken care of   in real time.

Most important, it allowed us to focus on what mattered most – our attendees – instead of running around looking for help.

We look forward to hearing more success stories by companies listening to their customers not only to handle complaints, but to build into their future offerings.