Tag Archives: Marriott

Snowbound in Detroit

Photo-A-Day #2105

Today was an extra day in Detroit. I was stranded for the day because of some major weather in New England. So I was booked on a flight for 9:45pm tonight. Thankfully, Lisa Gilpin and her team authorized me to stay anohter full night so that I would have a room to stay in and work in for the day. And I did a lot of work. this morning I banged out posts from the past four days and set up videos from all the press events that I attended in the past four days as well. It was great to be able to stay in the room and just work without the distractions of anything. I had no internet other than my phone so I wasn’t constantly distracted. I was still engaged but at intervals. It was good. I made the best out of my time.

Continue reading Snowbound in Detroit

Boloco gets Customer Service Right. Marriot Still Does Not.

From Drop Box

The other day I did a blog post about Boloco and Chipotle and what I thought of both restaurants. I received a direct e-mail from John S. Pepper the CEO & Co-Founder of Boloco complete with direct phone line and e-mail and twitter.

John wrote a detailed and heartfelt e-mail to me referencing everything that I posted on my blog post. John gets it, he got me and my issues with the ‘pay first’ vs ‘walk the line’ concept. He offered reasoning as to why Boloco is set up this way and also alerted me to a new concept that is going to happen at Boloco called “goloco” where you can voluntarily walk the line and chose what you want in your burrito. This message showed me that I as one voice, one person who even thought he had a free burrito was worth talking to.Here is the e-mail John sent me:

Hi Ben,

As heartbreaking as it is to read on your blog that we are not “connecting” as well with you as some of our competitors (especially the 800LB gorilla one) I totally follow what you are saying. As you can imagine, we’ve debated it many times over many years, and in 2004 even built a restaurant to test ordering with the “wrapper” vs. ordering at the register. What we found was that people got very, very tired of what we now refer to as “the 50 questions”… and what makes it a unique problem to Boloco (vs. Chipotle, Qdoba, etc.) is the fact that we do have all of those flavor options you mentioned that causes confusion when people try to make their own. At first, this may not make sense, but after 9 months of testing it, we finally gave in (to the pleas of our customers who just wanted to say what they wanted once and then be done) and went back to our old (and current) system.

Separately, we are rolling out in January a more clearly spelled out “goloco” option (aka build your own) where we encourage people to “walk the line”, as you would at many of the Mexican concepts (we’re about 16% Mexican, 84% other, by the way). While it didn’t work when we “forced” people to walk the line, we hope the new set up will accommodate both types of people – those who know what they want and want to say it once, and those who like to be part of the process.

If you have a boloco card, please send me the # on back and I’ll load a couple of freebies on there to thank you for including us on your blog. If you don’t have one, feel free to ask for one next visit or otherwise send us your address and we’ll pop one in the mail.

Thanks again – and I hope we see you again soon.



John S. Pepper
CEO & Co-Founder

From Drop Box

John offered me a couple more burritos to come on back and try out Boloco again. Getting freebies is cool but when someone validates your complaints and really listens to your issues is so much better. I’ll certainly take John up on his offer and go back to Boloco for those burritos. I did enjoy the taste of my burrito and look forward to my next one. Now that I understand the process of Boloco even more I see it with different eyes and I’m going to give a it a much finer look.

Conversely, Hotel chain Marriott gets things all wrong again and again. Here is an e-mail that my friend Maureen received from Marriott.

Dear Maureen,

As 2009 draws to a close, I would like to wish you a happy holiday season and thank you for your continued loyalty to Marriott®. Even through this challenging economy, our focus on taking care of you never waivered.

We have also found new ways to make Marriott Rewards even better. Last January, we eliminated blackout dates, making it easier for you to redeem your points. Looking ahead, we are going to roll over your Elite nights, giving you a head start in 2010. We are always looking for ways to make Marriott Rewards the best program it can be.

On behalf of our associates around the world, thank you for being our guest!

Warm Regards,

J.W. Marriott, Jr.
Chairman and CEO
Marriott International, Inc.

Here is the laughable part of this letter. “our focus on taking care of you never waivered“. You might have read about what happened to Maureen after IZEAFest. Then you might have read about what I did to help get her back her money. Marriott certainly does not get it, they are too big to care about an individual guest that they sincerely wronged on so many fronts.

Marriott can certainly take a lesson from John Pepper of Boloco on Customer Service. John didn’t just gloss over my issues, he addressed them directly. His letter was not a form letter that was completely impersonal like the Marriott one that Maureen received. The Marriott letter was pretty much a slap in the face considering the tremendous amount of trouble they put her through.

Watch for my future Boloco posts.