Innovation commoditization reaches a new low

Earlier this week I stayed at a Marriott hotel. When I checked out, they were unable to get me a bill. My room service from 2 hours earlier was not in the computer. The clerk tried to raise someone on the walkie-talkie but it was to no avail. They offered to email it to me, but 36 hours later as I prepared to submit my travel invoice to my client, I still didn’t have the bill. I explored the website, dealt with several different types of support, and it still took another 12 hours to get the bill!

Today comes the inevitable customer-satisfaction survey. With the audacious subject line Help us innovate your experience at Marriott hotels.


Besides the horribly ugly phrasing (“innovate your experience”?) how hard must they be kidding here?

Someone has hypothesized that escalating the language of the invite they can increase their response rate, but outright lying is really not the way to start the dialog.

Customer satisfaction surveys are not a way to innovate. Sure, it’s possible that this type of tool could uncover unmet needs, but those are going to be the needs that they already know about, right? Honestly, when have you ever taken a corporate customer satisfaction survey that has done anything but treat you like an idiot? This sort of tool is only used for ass-covering, at best, and at worst for one group to preempt any negative feedback that might go to another group that oversees or funds them.

The word innovation has become a meaningless catch-all for any sort of improvement and here Marriott stoops even lower, using it as a proxy for any sort of customer interaction, despite the low likelihood of any change or improvement resulting.


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