Often times I reach a point where I need to decide whether to spend a couple of minutes over the phone with Marriott Rewards Customer Service or just send an e-mail note using the Online Web Form submission. I have tried both (for various issues) and have come to the following observations (strictly based on my experience):
1. While E-mail is a convenient way to send in your request while you are working on various other things, it is always best to speak with a customer service rep live on the phone and state your concerns in a polite manner.
2. Of all the times that I sent in e-mail requests, I always got responses which made me think whether the person even read the request and paid any attention or not?
3. MCS on the phone are generally good to deal with and understand the issues, and at times will try their best to resolve your issue when on the call. Hence, giving you a more fulfilling sense of being a valued Elite customer
My suggestion, always make a call to Marriott Rewards Customer Service and speak with them live. You will avoid wasting your time in sending 3-4 e-mail follow-up's in order to make the E-mail customer service folks understand the concern (chances are that they will thank you for loyalty and you will not get a favorable response because they just want to get done with their e-mail volume). Share your thoughts and experiences and suggestions around this topic.
I completely agree with your assessment, so much so, that I have always dealt with the competent Customer Service representatives and have yet to send an e-mail. I find the Platinum service line one of the significant elite benefits and is often my starting point for researching information for pricing issues or tracking down a rewards glitch or explanation. Seldom have I had to wait, and on those rare occasions the wait is short. The Rewards customer service reps are also competent, but sometimes require more than one call to receive a definitive answer that I feel confident is accurate (not necessarily favorable, but reliable, based on the rep's explanation).
The Platinum (I would imagine the other elite lines are as capable) customer service goes a long way toward ameliorating the issues I have with the recent corporate cultural change toward all things costing money. I worry about the day Marriott cuts staff here, a move, IMO, that steps over dollars to pick up pennies.
Just wanted to second erc's point that the Platinum line is very well staffed in my experience, and, although I don't use it that often, when I do, I consider it one of the most valuable of Marriott's perks...