Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Marriott and the Unexpected Non-Bonus: A Case Study in Bad Customer Experience

This just in from the Bad Customer Experiences Dept. (Yes, it's next door to the Bad User Experience Dept.)

After waiting on hold with Marriott Rewards for 30 minutes, I learned that they didn't credit any points for my June 5-9 stay at the JW Marriott Ihilani in Hawaii. In fact, as far as their records are concerned, I didn't even stay there at all: I simply parked in their parking garage a few nights and ate a few meals. In their words, it was an "incidental stay" only. Funny, I remember booking an actual room and sleeping in it 4 nights... and paying about $1600 for the privilege. 

I fell victim to the lure of convenience and booked a flight+hotel package through Alaska Airlines Vacations(The actual booking was $2,946.88, of which about $350 was rental car and $1,000 was airfare for two.)

Fool me once: Marriott decided this stay is not eligible for points. I suppose their reasoning is that since I "only" paid about $400/night instead of the usual $450, their points budget should justifiably drop from 10 x 450 x 4 = 18000 points all the way down to 0 x 400 x 4 = 0 points. This is exemplary MBA math that equates to terrible customer experience.

Unfortunately, they never notified me of this, and I didn't scrutinize my rewards account activity closely enough to notice something was amiss. So that set me up for the next big disappointment.

Fool me twice: I booked a weekend trip to Victoria a couple weekends ago. I logged into my Marriott Rewards account at that time and noticed the Unexpected Bonus promotion showed 1 stay; at 2 stays I would receive a free night certificate. So my wife and I turned down a second night in the fabulous Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe to stop in at the Marriott and score our "unexpected" bonus. 

Unfortunately, since the Hawaii stay was never actually credited as a stay, my unexpected bonus turned into an Unexpected Non-Bonus.

The joke's on me for assuming the customer comes first at Marriott.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

IBM BPM V8 brings new Coach designer and live collaboration

I led the design for IBM BPM 8.0. We demonstrated it live to an audience of about 8,000 people at IBM's Impact 2012 conference. On seeing the demo, Bruce Silver wrote:

"More impressive to me is the new task UI (“Coach”) designer, which features reusable composite controls that dramatically simplify authoring of complex task user interfaces without so much javascript and css code. For example, a data entry and a graph control can both point to the same data and communicate with each other automatically without scripting.  IBM has also carried forward real-time collaborative editing from Blueworks Live into the Coach designer.  Very cool."

Lots of interesting examples are starting to land on the BPM Community Samples site. Start with Coach Bonus toolkit (link requires registration) which includes the live data examples Bruce was writing about.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Web Development for the fun of it

Right now I'm co-leading Product Design for IBM BPM. That means I create all the detailed specs for how a product feature is going to work, but I don't get the luxury of building it myself. An army of software engineers does that part.

Although I don't get to write production code these days, I still like to do prototypes to prove the feasibility of my ideas. This has opened my eyes to an array of incredible new libraries for web developers.

Bourbon makes it reeeeally easy to write modern CSS3, hiding all the convoluted vendor-specific repetitive ugliness from you. It's built on sass, whose mission was basically to fix CSS's stuttering problem. Finally, writing CSS is actually fun again!

"But Jeoff, what about IE, I thought it can't do CSS3?" No problem, even Internet Elephant (IE) can be made to dance with CSS3 gradients, rounded corners, and shadows: it's as easy as PIE! Also, check out flexie, which brings the CSS3 flexible box model to IE and other browsers. Create some layouts using flexbox and style some stuff using CSS3 fx and you'll never go back again. I guarantee it.

Now that you're ready to write some CSS3, check out what's possible!

p.s. Yes, I'm still using jquery. I agree with the SproutCore folks that jQuery has become the standard library of the web.