I got to thinking about what makes someone loyal and how that relates to customer service. The thing that came to mind was a series of experiences at a retailer, Nordstrom's, that I've had over the years.
It started with looking for a two-piece man's suit and having a Nordstrom employee take me throughout the store looking for the right one, the right shirts and ties, and having all the time to make me happy with my purchase. It then parlayed a couple year's later when on a rainy day in Chicago when I was on my way to give a speech and got caught in a downpour, effectively ruining that suit forever. On a lark I asked a Nordstrom's employee if they'd ever take something back--they did and gave me a better one as an exchange!
Makes me very loyal to them as a result. Maybe that's the essence of customer satisfaction? Allowing the employee to make a decision based not solely on the bottom line but reasonable accommodation to every customer's wish. At one time the employee manual for Nordstrom's had a basic tenet: "Use your best judgment at all times." and not much else.
Can this translate to Marriott? Sure hope that the company allows managers and associates to listen more effectively, to react more sympathetically, and to honor reasonable wishes from every customer. Doing that will make the Marriott experience an even better one in 2010.