Saturday, January 05, 2008

I Don't Complain, Instead I Don't Return

Although your customers won’t love you if you give bad service, your competitors will. ~ Kate Zabriskie

It used to be if I received bad service, I would take the time to fill out a complaint card and let the establishment know. However, I no longer do that. Now if the business gives me bad service, I just stop going. To note, I can forgive a mistake or two. It's bad service that I no longer tolerate.

Here's a recent example of what I consider bad service at one of the casual restaurants we frequent. The meal service was acceptable, although we did the pizza seem to be saucier than usual. When we received our bill, there were several mistakes. We were overcharged by one item (extra sauce) on the pizza, one beer wasn't charged and the coupon was not deducted from the price. I explained all the mistakes to our server who thanked us and worked with the manager to make the corrections. A few minutes later she handed us a corrected bill and explained that the pizza charge was not adjusted since the extra sauce had no charge. After looking at the bill again, I told the server I still thought I was charged for three toppings and asked how much each additional item cost.

She gave me a why-are-you-asking-me look and said, "I don't know."

I replied, "Could I see a menu?" and she handed me one.

I said, "Based on the menu, it looks like I was charged for three items instead of two."

Her reply, "Ok, I'll check with the manager again."

While the manager was sorting out the bill, I had to ask twice for a box to take home the remaining pizza. After several more minutes, she returned with the revised bill, explaining that the manager had been confused. Although the bill was now correct, I felt we had spent half of our time in the restaurant working on the check. Not my idea of an enjoyable evening.

Although I still like the restaurant chain, I won't be going to this specific restaurant, which is close to our house, in the near future. Even though it only happened to us once, I don't want to risk paying for another bad service experience.

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This is not financial or business advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2008 Achievement Catalyst, LLC


Anonymous said...

What's that saying about if you have a positive experience you will 1 other person, but if you have a negative experience you tell 5. This is a good example of that. Businesses should recognize that not exceeding customer expectations costs them further down the road.

Father Sez said...

Frugal Dad has said just what I was thinking of saying.

We may not take time and trouble to fill up complain forms and act as quality watchdogs for these companies, but we'll tell all our friends about our bad experience.

And this has potential to get amplified and spread.

The message all the companies will learn, sooner or later, is that they have to serve, and serve they must.

Anonymous said...

arguing over petty details makes me very annoyed. It makes me feel cheap and i'm cheap enough as it is! I don't need some waitresses rubbing it in!!!

I wouldn't go back there either.

btw, did you leave a tip?

Super Saver said...

@ Frugal Dad, Father Sez and Living Off Dividends,

Thanks for your comments and additional points. I recall reading somewhere that there are at least 10 unhappy customers who don't complain for every one that does complain.

@ Living Off Dividends,

For the meal part, the waitress did provide reasonable service. So I did leave a tip, but at 1/2 my normal percentage of 15-20% for good to very good service.