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Marriott serves world-wide customers world-class service.

How does a hotel chain handle 18 million customer reservation calls a year from all over the world?

If it's Marriott, it's business as usual. As a company with over 25 years of experience in providing hospitality to business and leisure travelers, Marriott never stops searching for ways to improve how they serve their customers. When growth forced them to rely more on technology, they purchased an ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) A computerized phone system that responds to the caller with a voice menu and connects the call to the appropriate agent. It can also distribute calls equally to agents.  (automatic call distributor) to process ever increasing call volume.

Toni Wieczorek, director of technical services at Marriott, says, "We experienced both growth and competitive pressures in the 1980s, and we knew they would continue. With an eye on the future, we purchased a Rockwell Galaxy ACD."

During the 80s, America's travel preferences became more fragmented frag·ment  
1. A small part broken off or detached.

2. An incomplete or isolated portion; a bit: overheard fragments of their conversation; extant fragments of an old manuscript.

, so Marriott branched out and offered a variety of hotel accommodations. Such recognized chains as Residence Inns, Marriott Courtyards, Marriott Suites and Fairfield Inns all became part of the Marriott corporate hotel family. With growth and success also came operations concerns.

"Could we afford to purchase multiple call processing In telecommunication, the term call processing has the following meanings:
  1. The sequence of operations performed by a switching system from the acceptance of an incoming call through the final disposition of the call.
 systems to handle the increasing load or was there a way technology could help solve the problem?" Wieczorek wondered. There also was a need to integrate Marriott's head-quarters in Maryland with its reservations system. The solution included ACD networking, overflow and diversion A turning aside or altering of the natural course or route of a thing. The term is chiefly applied to the unauthorized change or alteration of a water course to the prejudice of a lower riparian, or to the unauthorized use of funds.  and separate agent groups.

With its main reservations system located in Omaha and a second Rockwell ACD leased and located in Salt Lake City, Marriott solved their concerns. Each hotel chain is assigned as·sign  
tr.v. as·signed, as·sign·ing, as·signs
1. To set apart for a particular purpose; designate: assigned a day for the inspection.

 its own 800 number and terminates at either the Salt Lake City or Omaha site, to one of five separate agent groups.

If all agents in the group are busy, the ACD automatically transfer the call to another agent group. Marriott is able to assign secondary and tertiary tertiary (tûr`shēârē), in the Roman Catholic Church, member of a third order. The third orders are chiefly supplements of the friars—Franciscans (the most numerous), Dominicans, and Carmelites.  agent assignments to ensure that calls are not abandoned or put on indefinite INDEFINITE. That which is undefined; uncertain.

INDEFINITE, NUMBER. A number which may be increased or diminished at pleasure.
     2. When a corporation is composed of an indefinite number of persons, any number of them consisting of a majority of those

Omaha supports 558 service agents and is open 24 h ours a day, seven days a week. Salt Lake City, with 200 agents, operates from 6 a.m. to midnight. Any calls taken after midnight at Salt Lake City are automatically redirected to Omaha over T1 lines.

To solve the link to headquarters problem, the Omaha Galaxy is also linked to the internal PBX (Private Branch eXchange) An inhouse telephone switching system that interconnects telephone extensions to each other as well as to the outside telephone network (PSTN).  in Maryland via tielines. In addition, the two ACD sites utilize automatic overflow of calls when volumes exceed certain levels.

But Marriott is a world recognized hotel and needed even more capabilities to serve its forign speaking callers.

"With the exchange rate so favorable fa·vor·a·ble  
1. Advantageous; helpful: favorable winds.

2. Encouraging; propitious: a favorable diagnosis.

 to Europeans, we needed a unique way of taking foreign language calls," Wieczorek says. So Marriott recently purchased Rockwell's Spectrum ACD. It is scheduled for cutover (communications, networking) cutover - /cut-ov*/ Switching from an old (hardware and/or software) system to a replacement system, covering the overlap from when the new system is live until the old system has been shut down.  in early 1994 and will replace the Galaxy at Salt Lake City. Spectrum's "Telescript" feature will allow Marriott's agents to handle foreign language callers with automatic call routing to the pre-determined foreign language agent.

For example, if a German customer calls and cannot speak English well enough, the system will instantly seek out individual agent profiles and route the call to a German-speaking agent.

Marriott Hotels prides itself on its dedication to customer service. With its unique multi-size solution, it is saving money while continuing to provide top level service to its customers all over the world.
COPYRIGHT 1994 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Communications News
Date:Apr 1, 1994
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