Starwood Enhances Customer Service With Face-to-Face Meetings

In an effort at improving customer service for its Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has borrowed a strategy from the meetings industry, it announced last month: It's using FaceTime, Apple's video calling application, to facilitate face-to-face connections between customers and customer service agents.

SPG members can use FaceTime on their iPhone 4, new iPod touch or Mac. To launch a video call, they can call a dedicated number — 1-866-50-0369 — in order to be connected live with a customer service agent, who can help them make or change reservations, book award stays, check account balances or access hotel information.

"Starwood Hotels is proud to offer face-to-face video calling for SPG members with FaceTime," said Vice President of Global Web Services David Godsman. "Apple's innovative technology allows us to provide a meaningful, personalized experience that will resonate with our most loyal customers."

Added Vice President of Customer Contact Centers Mike English, "We find customers enjoy seeing the person behind the voice. FaceTime is a great way for representatives of our over 1,000 hotels in the Starwood family to interact with guests in a very personal way."