Marriott Vacation Club International - Customer Service Department of the Year

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Company: Marriott Vacation Club International, Orlando, FL
Company Description: The leader in the timeshare industry for more than 30 years.
Nomination Category: Customer Service Department Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Customer Service Department of the Year - Leisure & Tourism

Nomination Title: Marriott Vacation Club Owner Services

Tell the story about what this nominated department achieved since the beginning of July 2015 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

Marriott Vacation Club Owner Services customer care centers are responsible for assisting over 407,000 Timeshare Owners across three unique brands. Owner Services advises Owners of their different usage options, confirms vacations, and accepts maintenance fee and other payments. Owner Services has seven regional based operations in key strategic markets to best support our Owners who reside in more than 165 countries around the world. These contact centers are located in Salt Lake City, Orlando, Singapore, Bangkok, Mexico City, Puerto Rico, and Cork, Ireland, totaling more than 600 associates worldwide.

During 2016, Owner Services handled more than two million phone calls; completed 75,000 web requests; and responded to more than 60,000 online clicks-to-chat. Owner Services assisted Owners with completing their annual timeshare usage assignments and booking over 727,000 vacations including villa reservations, timeshare exchanges, cruises, guided tours, luxury home rentals, hotel stays, golf, river rafting, and flights. In addition, Owner Services sold over 21,000 travel protection policies.

During 2016, the leadership team at Owner Services focused efforts around reducing associate turnover, and increasing associate satisfaction. Owner Services’ Associates must understand not only the rules and guidelines for the different programs, but they also must be expert on using more than ten software systems in order to confirm various vacations. It takes approximately eight weeks to train new hires because of this complexity, and maintaining a well-trained workforce that is both proficient and highly motivated is critical. When Owner Services loses an Associate due to labor force competition in the market, it is expensive to rehire and train their replacement, therefore, the best way to provide expert Associates is reducing turnover.

During 2016, Owner Services created a Culture and Retention Committee who focused on efforts to create a fun and engaging environment where Associates want to come to work. In addition, Owner Services’ leadership team reached out to other contact centers in the area to benchmark our call center against others, and to share best practices. It is Owner Services’ goal to be seen as one of the best employers in our market. The Committee’s efforts included rolling out complimentary breakfasts on Monday mornings; free soda and coffee is provided throughout the week; popcorn and movies on Wednesdays; and fresh fruit on Fridays. The new hire mentoring program was improved, and the leadership team enjoys a weekly free lunch with all new hires throughout their training. In addition, more company-sponsored socializing events were organized including family BBQs; themed celebrations throughout the year; bring-your-kids-to-work day; family night at the local baseball park; and movie premiers.

Also, during 2016, Owner Services employed a wellness expert who provides activities for Owner Services twice a week including guided meditations, tennis-ball massages, and chair yoga. All of these additional activities were on top of Owner Services’ ongoing emphasis to support and take care of our Associates. Owner Services was thrilled to have reduced our turnover year-over-year by 37% from 2015 to 2016. In addition, Owner Services’ annual Associate engagement scores increased 3 points, from 2015 to in 2016.

Owner Services’ philosophy mirrors our company’s mission statement: “Deliver unforgettable experiences that make vacation dreams come true.” Unlike some other call centers, Owner Services does not have maximum talk time standards or goals, and instead focuses on taking care of each individual Owner so they are happy at the end of the call, no matter how long it takes.

One of the most important measurements we monitor is Owner Services Satisfaction scores. Each Owner who contacts Owner Services to select a usage option is emailed a link to an Owner Satisfaction Survey along with the confirmation of their transaction. During 2016, Owner Services received an Owner Satisfaction score of 96.1%. Owner Services is thrilled that during 2016 we achieved record low turnover, and increased Associate engagement and also exceeded our Owner satisfaction goals. Owner Services plans to continue with our efforts in the future.