customer complaints http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4422/all en-US In Praise of Complainers: Why Complaining Is Good http://www.wisebread.com/in-praise-of-complainers-why-complaining-is-good <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/in-praise-of-complainers-why-complaining-is-good" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6160081267_99297e566a_z.jpg" alt="customer complaint" title="customer complaint" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever been out for dinner with someone who won&rsquo;t complain? Regardless of how terrible the service or remarkably bad the food, your companion just shrugs or sheepishly makes an excuse on behalf of the waitstaff or chef? It happens all the time. The dry cleaner who turns your cashmere cardigan into a very expensive sweater for a teacup poodle. The pizza delivery guy who drops off a cardboard Frisbee covered in tomato sauce. The car repair shop that transforms a &ldquo;clink-clink-clink&rdquo; sound into a &ldquo;clank-thud-gasp.&rdquo; Everything and everyone gets a free pass. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-what-you-want-on-customer-service-calls">How to Get What You Want on&nbsp;Customer Service Calls</a>)</p> <p>Some might argue that these non-complainers are just more peaceable creatures, naturally disinclined to offend or make waves. But I assert that they&rsquo;re wreaking havoc at every turn and contributing to mediocrity. You see, done right, complaining can be quite wonderful and productive. Here&rsquo;s why.</p> <h3>It Shows You&rsquo;re Not a Passive Consumer</h3> <p>Complaining shows you&rsquo;re an actively engaged customer, conscious about service and concerned about value. It helps combat that perception that consumers are sheep and will follow the herd no matter how underwhelming the experience.</p> <h3>It Implies That You&rsquo;re Vocal</h3> <p>Complaining suggests to businesses that you&rsquo;re not only aware, but vocal. When there&rsquo;s a problem, you&rsquo;ll call it out; when you&rsquo;re expectations are exceeded, you&rsquo;ll recommend the business to friends.</p> <h3>It Communicates a Certain Expectation of Quality and Satisfaction</h3> <p>The baseline for all businesses should be to meet their customers&rsquo; expectations. Smart businesses go one step further and try to delight their patrons. Pointing out issues when they occur simply communicates that you&rsquo;re paying attention &mdash; that you&rsquo;re aware of the unspoken agreement between business and customers and understand what the baseline should be. &nbsp;</p> <h3>It Tends to Improve Quality for Other Consumers</h3> <p>Complainers speak on behalf of all customers. Problems are sometimes isolated incidents, but in some cases they&rsquo;re chronic. Voicing dissatisfaction can wake management from its stupor and benefit service and quality for everyone.</p> <h3>It Calls Attention to Issues That May Not Be Noticed by Management</h3> <p>Consumer passivity can sometimes let dangerous or unhealthy situations persist. For example, making a business aware of undercooked chicken, a saggy step, or a lead-footed delivery driver can help it avoid potentially costly issues later.</p> <h3>How to Make Constructive Complaints</h3> <p>Vocalizing dissatisfaction can be cathartic, but there&rsquo;s a fine line between constructive complaining and angry venting. It&rsquo;s always best to avoid making any situation personal. Keep your complaints rooted in calmness and focused on a solution. Whether you&rsquo;re <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-and-give-honest-feedback">giving feedback</a> directly to a staff person or a manager, frame your conversation by first answering these fundamental questions:</p> <ol> <li>What&rsquo;s the issue?</li> <li>What were your reasonable expectations?</li> <li>How were your expectations not met?</li> <li>Were there any unusual or extenuating circumstances not within the business's control?</li> <li>What would resolve the situation? &nbsp;</li> </ol> <p>Remember, keep things civil. Even if you&rsquo;re hitting a brick wall and getting no satisfaction, rising above the situation will always serve you best in the long run. That doesn&rsquo;t mean you can&rsquo;t escalate the situation; it just means you may need to go a different route.</p> <p>Complaining gets a bad rap in our modern world. We&rsquo;re so busy, so plugged in, and so afraid of offending someone that we sometimes forget the power of a little righteous indignation. Stopping to talk about our experiences &mdash; good or bad &mdash; gives voice to others and (hopefully) makes things better for the next person.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Do you have a friend who won't complain? What have they suffered through to avoid confrontation?&nbsp;</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-praise-of-complainers-why-complaining-is-good">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-complain-and-get-a-good-result">How to complain and get a good result.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-preserve-your-relationships-when-circumstances-change">How to Preserve Your Relationships When Circumstances Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clipped-wings-can-consumers-fix-air-travel">Clipped Wings: Can Consumers Fix Air Travel?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/netspend-the-story-of-the-visa-debit-card-we-did-not-apply-for">netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">8 Vile Craigslist Scams to Watch Out For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Personal Development bad service changes customer complaints Wed, 25 Apr 2012 09:48:12 +0000 Kentin Waits 924167 at http://www.wisebread.com Clipped Wings: Can Consumers Fix Air Travel? http://www.wisebread.com/clipped-wings-can-consumers-fix-air-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/clipped-wings-can-consumers-fix-air-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/air_travel.jpg" alt="Family on airplane" title="Family on airplane" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="132" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For me, it begins about two days before a flight &mdash; that mild anxiety that only modern air travel can inspire. It&rsquo;s a restlessness born of the knowledge that in a matter of days, my intricately laid travel plans will surely begin to unravel. I will be shuttled from nearly bankrupt airline to nearly bankrupt airline (the result of a delay, a staffing issue, a mechanical problem, or the like) only to end up considering myself fortunate to land a spot wedged in some seat designed by a retired torture-device engineer.</p> <p>The modern air travel industry is broken. From the harried groping at the security lines to the in-flight pretzel-tosses, consumers are losing their voices and suffering the consequences of a service on the skids. Let&rsquo;s examine just a few of the indignities travelers are subjected to and explore some ways we can collectively make ourselves be heard. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/headaches-begone-5-tips-for-making-airline-travel-easier">5 Tips for Making Airline Travel Easier</a>)</p> <h2>Luggage Fees</h2> <p>Fuel prices may fluctuate, but luggage fees look like they&rsquo;re here to stay. If the best minds were to figure out how to power a jet with only pretzels and the power of crying babies, I&rsquo;d still be paying at least $25 for every checked bag.</p> <p>Why are we passively allowing what amounts to an undeclared fuel surcharge on each flight we take? What might happen if we began calling, twittering, and writing emails to the airline decision-makers and demanding a fairer solution?</p> <h2>TSA Procedures</h2> <p>Once my wallet is lightened by the checked bag fees, I&rsquo;m treated to security lines so extensive that I immediately begin to calculate the cost/benefit ratio of everyone I love and am traveling to see. The only upside is getting to take my shoes off for a few moments and then experience what I convince myself is just a special &quot;fraternal hug&quot; by the TSA screening agent.</p> <p>Isn&rsquo;t there a better way? It&rsquo;s as if our system is so broken that the safeguard has become the new menace. After months of outrage and a public relations nightmare, the TSA has made only nominal changes to its screening of even the youngest of children. Maybe it&rsquo;s time to leverage a bit of that democratic influence we Americans enjoy and (sensibly) reinvent the TSA through the representatives we elect.</p> <h2>Late Flights</h2> <p>I never attempt to fly without a fully charged cell phone. How naïve I&rsquo;d be to assume that plans will not need to be changed, arrival time estimates revised, or connecting flight arrangements reworked to accommodate the vagaries of flight schedules and routes that the airlines establish through careful study and fly every single day?</p> <p>By leveraging the power of a collective passenger response, I wonder how schedules might improve if just 50% of the passengers from a late or rescheduled flight called the airline or posted a negative online review. Let&rsquo;s try it.</p> <h2>Boarding by Class</h2> <p>I&rsquo;ve never won the lottery, but I imagine it feels something like finally being able to board a long-delayed flight. It typically goes something like this -- after the third hour, a secret cabal of gate staff convenes and determines in hushed-tones, secret codes, and semaphore that passengers may begin to board. Then the elaborate and arcane process of boarding by class begins. Understandably, those with small children and passengers who need extra help go first. First-class passengers board next, then platinum flyers, then gold, then silver, bronze, copper, nickel, and nickel-plated passengers go. Since I usually travel aluminum class, I take what amounts to a walk of shame to my middle seat between an angst-ridden teen and a chatty Midwestern woman.</p> <p>What does this artificially created class division accomplish other than to make boarding a plane feel like a privilege instead of service we&rsquo;ve all paid something for? Isn&rsquo;t this just a remnant of a bygone era when we didn&rsquo;t arrive at the gate already fully-frustrated from a series of long lines? I vote for a mini-exercise in civil disobedience (and alchemy) that would have aluminum mixing with gold.</p> <h2>Carry-Ons</h2> <p>The unplanned offspring of the airlines&rsquo; checked baggage fee is the over-stuffed carry-on. Otherwise mortal passengers become super-human when zippering and hauling these comically large bags. I&rsquo;m reminded of the classic image of Atlas straining to support the earth as passengers attempt to wedge these nylon sausages into the groaning overhead bins.</p> <p>The solution is simple &mdash; airlines should dispense with checked-bag fees or at least allow one free checked bag. It might cut into their bottom lines a bit, but maybe profits could be made more legitimately by real industry-wide efficiencies.</p> <h2>Cabin Chaos</h2> <p>With the hurdles of the TSA screening, flight delays, and boarding processes behind me, I feel like a bit of well-deserved rest. Likewise, it would seem that the flight attendants and pilots would like a plane full of sleeping passengers too. But it&rsquo;s not to be. Just as I&rsquo;m drifting off to sleep, a crackling audio system delivers some inane message from the pilot in a decibel so high I brace myself for a water landing. Then, twenty minutes later the clanking metal carts rumble down the aisle in a sad nod to the long-lost era of more genteel plane travel &mdash; dispensing pretzels, crackers, and sodas. If peace ever comes, it&rsquo;s disrupted by the constantly glowing video screens on the back of every headrest, emitting just enough light to keep passengers awake during evening flights.</p> <p>This seems like an area where airlines could easily scale back service without much impact. Why, especially on short flights, must passengers be constantly hydrated and visually entertained? Couldn&rsquo;t we relax, read a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-never-pay-for-another-book">book</a>, and enjoy a cabin free of <em>Shrek</em> and soda?</p> <h2>Comedic Flight Attendants</h2> <p>I can&rsquo;t imagine the challenges and special brand of frustrations that flight attendants face. In the bigger picture of the airline industry, most employees are as hapless and helpless as the average traveler. I&rsquo;m sure some marketing firm suggested that each flight attendant should try her hand at amateur comedy. Maybe a junior VP somewhere delivered a compelling PowerPoint on how most passengers forget 80% of their complaints if they leave with a chuckle. Enter Susan, the flight attendant who delivers with aplomb jokes about arriving at the wrong destination or how she will be selling anything you leave behind on eBay. But to me, this in-flight version of Open Mic Night underestimates the harrowing experience we&rsquo;ve all put up with and the stiff drink (or two) we&rsquo;ll all need to recover from it.</p> <p>Jokes aside, America&rsquo;s once grand airline industry is broken. From mild inconveniences and slight indignities to outright danger, the industry&rsquo;s chronic decline is precipitous and unchecked. Sleeping air traffic controllers, mounting TSA issues, and an aging fleet all conspire to make the future of air travel bleaker every year. Short of that mythic American high-speed rail system, the answer to better travel lies in our response and in our refusal to be passive about a level of service we wouldn&rsquo;t allow from any other industry.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fclipped-wings-can-consumers-fix-air-travel&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FClipped%20Wings-%20Can%20Consumers%20Fix%20Air%20Travel-.jpg&amp;description=Clipped%20Wings%3A%20Can%20Consumers%20Fix%20Air%20Travel%3F" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Clipped%20Wings-%20Can%20Consumers%20Fix%20Air%20Travel-.jpg" alt="Clipped Wings: Can Consumers Fix Air Travel?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clipped-wings-can-consumers-fix-air-travel">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-airport-hacks-from-professional-travelers">15 Airport Hacks From Professional Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-travel-hacks-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Smart Travel Hacks Only Frequent Flyers Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-through-the-airport-faster">How to Get Through the Airport Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-airline-travel-sucks-and-what-you-can-do-to-make-it-better">5 Ways Airline Travel Sucks — and What You Can Do to Make It Better</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-costly-flight-booking-mistakes-you-make-all-the-time">8 Costly Flight Booking Mistakes You Make All the Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Travel air travel airports customer complaints Mon, 27 Jun 2011 10:24:28 +0000 Kentin Waits 587394 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Solve Common Business Problems http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-solve-common-business-problems <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/how-to-solve-common-business-problems-julie-rains" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/how-to-solve-common-bu...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/how-to-solve-common-business-problems" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000003830772Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a small business owner, you are a natural optimist and risk-taker. But, have you crossed the line that separates optimism from delusion?</p> <p>Being hopeful is easy &mdash; in the short-term. Wishing for less demanding customers, more motivated employees, and more cash in the bank requires far less intellectual work and emotional effort than making an honest assessment of your business.</p> <p>Opening your eyes to issues you would rather ignore and admitting mistakes can be painful. Doing so, however, allows you to move directly to solving problems and creating the business of your dreams.</p> <p><b>Customers</b></p> <p>Do you think your customers have out-of-control expectations? Dismiss the idea that dissatisfied customers are outliers.</p> <p><b>Scrutinize Complaints</b></p> <p>Pinpoint who is complaining (new accounts? long-time customers? everyone in your southwest region?) and what their concerns are. Look for patterns of customer frustration. Look hard for common threads if the issues seem dispersed.</p> <p>Deal with sources of the complaints, which may mean correcting the behavior of an offending employee, reorganizing a dysfunctional department, or educating your entire team on the right way to promote a new line to existing customers.</p> <p><b>Analyze Returns </b></p> <p>Check product descriptions and images for accuracy. Look at service guarantees to determine whether they are consistent with industry standards. Discern if marketing promises are realistic or overstated.</p> <p>Adjustments may be straightforward. A hastily prepared, misleading product description can be rewritten to more accurately convey attributes relevant to consumers. A problematic merchandise category can be discontinued and replaced with a more profitable line. Customers can be qualified to make sure that service packages are appropriate for their needs.</p> <p><b>Keep Promises</b></p> <p>Find out whether your company is adhering to its schedules, delivery commitments, and lead times as communicated to customers. Calculate the percentage of on-time deliveries.</p> <p>Clarify the reasons for late deliveries. See whether jobs are scheduled according to capacity, throughput times, and material availability. Ascertain if pressure from customers dictate schedule changes. Decide whether to prioritize orders from certain customers based on profit margin, volume, or other factors. Get an understanding of how promise dates are determined. Establish rules for creating, communicating, monitoring, and verifying compliance with schedules.</p> <p><b>Employees</b></p> <p>Do you have self-centered employees who are uninterested in innovation, customer engagement, and higher levels of profitability? Stop giving them slack.</p> <p><b>Perceive Shortcomings&nbsp;</b></p> <p>Think about manipulation in the past, times that defensiveness overruled reason, and other troubling moments. These interactions represent the core of an employee&rsquo;s personality, not the rough edges.</p> <p>When conflict arises, be clear about your position and reject any push-back. Communicate that you will make decisions by examining all aspects of a situation, not rely solely on information that one employee shares. Let employees know that you realize that mistakes will happen but cover-ups and denials are unacceptable.</p> <p><b>Touch Base&nbsp;</b></p> <p>Uncover fears of a new technology application, heavier workloads, or loss of control over a certain work area. Discern lack of understanding in your business model and vision.</p> <p>Go ahead and implement sure-fire ideas. Remember that employee buy-in is useful but not essential. Remove employees who may sabotage new tactics, products, etc. from certain projects or take them out of the workplace.</p> <p><b>Observe Work Habits&nbsp;</b></p> <p>Note attendance and productivity, questioning employee dedication if problems persist over a long period of time.&nbsp;Set goals and describe habits that will achieve objectives. Monitor results to confirm that employees are focusing on your business, not dwelling on their problems or pursuing their personal interests.</p> <p><b>Financials</b></p> <p>Is your business operating at full capacity but failing to generate cash? Get a handle on what is clogging cash flow.</p> <p><b>Calculate Profitability</b>&nbsp;</p> <p>Design and institute a method to compute profits by category (such as customer account, market segment, product line, service offering, or project). Review pricing structures, and capture and assign costs through methods such as <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/make-more-save-more-with-project-based-accounting-julie-rains">project-based accounting</a>.</p> <p>Unprofitable categories will become apparent. Clarifying your next step will be more difficult. Obvious actions include raising prices, cutting expenses, and eliminating lower profit items. A more complex approach will involve reinvigorating your brand or developing proprietary products to command premium prices.</p> <p><b>Check Your Infrastructure&nbsp;</b></p> <p>The cost of pricey office space, well-credentialed consultants, and full-featured technology systems can outweigh the benefits of high profit margins, heavily negotiated rates with vendors, and otherwise frugal spending habits.</p> <p>Decide what is essential to running your business. Review contractual commitments with an eye toward canceling certain agreements. Recognize needs that have changed and revise spending accordingly.</p> <p><b>Assess Cash Flow&nbsp;</b></p> <p>Customers want to pay later than expected and vendors demand faster payment.&nbsp;Valued customers have been allowed to delay payments. Vendors with high-demand items have asked for payment on delivery. The squeeze means that your business rarely has the cash needed to operate smoothly.</p> <p>Investigate new credit and payment options. Revise credit terms. Update your payment acceptance methods so that customers can easily pay when your bill is presented. Talk with vendors about ways to better organize product shipments and service deliveries, more closely aligned with company needs and customer payments.</p> <p><b>Problems Have Solutions</b></p> <p>These scenarios are a sampling of predicaments that may be present in your business. Together, they are overwhelming. Individually, they can be tackled. Solving just one problem is liberating, giving you the confidence, insight, and skills to deal with the next set of difficulties. Greater clarity will allow you to manage your business for the results you want.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-solve-common-business-problems">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center customer complaints employee growth problem solving profitability small business Sun, 27 Mar 2011 20:35:58 +0000 Julie Rains 503061 at http://www.wisebread.com Crappy service, great food...what to do? http://www.wisebread.com/crappy-service-great-food-what-to-do <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/fawlty.jpg" alt="Fawlty" title="Fawlty" width="306" height="183" /></p> <p>Yesterday I witnessed something quite special. My lovely wife, who is usually not one for complaining, decided that the service we had received at a local restaurant (or hadn&#39;t in this case) was not on. She put her foot down, followed my advice, and I witnessed it with a glowing smile.</p> <p>Here&#39;s the story.</p> <p>After being seated by the host, we waited 15 minutes for a server to appear at our table. We did the usual &#39;please, can&#39;t somebody take our order&#39; stares into space. We made eye contact with other servers. We did everything right. Alas, we were ignored. </p> <p>My wife walked all the way back to the front of the restaurant and asked our hostess for some help. She ended up being the one to take our orders, and the restaurant wasn&#39;t even that busy. Not a glowing start to the meal, which I thought was now going to suck. We made our drink and food orders, and I ordered a Seven Taster special to drink (Seven 5oz samples of the beers they serve) and they arrived very quickly. I was knocked out. They tasted great, they looked great, the barman clearly had his act together.</p> <p>And then the wait began for the food. Another 20 minutes (which seemed longer, we had a 6 month old and a precocious toddler at the table), but when it did arrive it was outrageously good. I mean heavenly. Our little girl Olivia was making MMMMMM sounds through the whole meal. We sat there full and satisfied, but the service had really let us down. We were going to order dessert, but we had not been checked on once by a server. We felt invisible. No-one was even making an appearance to give us the check.</p> <p>My wife had had enough. She went to our hostess and asked for the manager. I was shocked, but happy to see she was realizing that as customers we have a right to good service. When the manager arrived, she followed my advice to the letter. She was polite, explained that we loved the food but were let down by the poor service. The manager listened carefully, and showed genuine concern.</p> <p>He came back to the table with 50% taken off our bill, and a $20 gift voucher for our next visit. He apologized for the poor service, assured us it would never happen again and wanted us to come back and see for ourselves soon. He was very nice. And we will. The food was great, and the manager turned something that could have been bad word of mouth into a great story. The restauramt in question is BJs Restaurant &amp; Brewhouse, in Aurora, by the way.</p> <p><strong>So, the moral is this.</strong> Everyone is entitled to good service. If you don&#39;t believe you received it, be honest. But in turn, be completely honest about the whole event. If the food was great, say so. If the food sucked but the waiter was a star, say that too. But always remain calm, collected and polite. More often than not, you&#39;ll get a much more favorable outcome if you show the restaurant you&#39;re a good customer worth keeping, rather than a complainer out for a free lunch. </p> <p>And to my wife Nikki, you&#39;re a star. Even Basil Fawlty would be putty in your hands. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/crappy-service-great-food-what-to-do">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-cheapskates-guide-to-eating-out">A Cheapskate’s Guide to Eating Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-youll-waste-money-on-this-thanksgiving">10 Things You&#039;ll Waste Money on This Thanksgiving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-complain-and-get-a-good-result">How to complain and get a good result.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink complaining customer complaints customer service dining out host manager restaurant waiter Mon, 23 Apr 2007 17:18:18 +0000 Paul Michael 546 at http://www.wisebread.com