About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Is there good customer service anymore?

I just got home from dinner out with my daughter after a long day's work painting. Since we were both too pooped to whatever, we decided to go out to a local eatery that has a fairly nice ambience but is reasonably priced.

We were seated promptly in a good location, private and off to the side. We decided what we wanted - daughter: grilled chicken burger, moi: garden burger, and we substituted Caesar salads instead of the fries. However, we did order their special sweet potato fries which were supposed to be for two people. When they arrived as an appetizer, both daughter and I looked at the plate and then at each other and almost burst out laughing.

"$5.99 for THAT?" I blurted.

With raised eyebrows, we proceeded to have about 6 pieces each, dipped in their "special" garlic sauce. (I think it was a thimble full of their Caesar salad dressing.)

Anyway, the plate was briskly removed when bare and our dinners finally arrived. Daughter had also ordered a decaf coffee and I had tea. The food was so-so but we were hungry and ate it anyway. When daughter finished her coffee, she placed her cup at the edge of the table so that the waitress could see that she needed a refill.

We waited....and waited.....

So then we started looking at the dessert menu. We thought we'd splurge and I was dying for their peanut butter pie with ice cream and she wanted their Mount Baker divine something or other (chocolate cake and fudge drizzle). Once we'd decided what the next course was going to be, we waited some more.

No coffee refill.....no offer of more hot water for my tea.

We waited.....and waited......

Finally, the waitress came over to our table, bill in hand ready to put it down.
Then, she said, "Is there anything else?"

"No thank you," responded daughter.
"Oh, I see they never came and refilled your coffee. I'll go get you some now."

"Never mind, it's okay." said daughter.

To top things off, just before we were served our dinner, another lady and (probably) her daughter were seated across the divider between us and we were smothered in the extremely powerful scent of her perfume!

I'm wondering about the training these young people receive and if they are supervised closely enough to make sure that their customers are being properly served.

Daughter works in the service industry and she is a real stickler for proper top-quality service no matter who the customer is and no matter how difficult the customer can be. She feels that too many individuals in the industry are ruining the reputation of other customer service personnel by being unapproachable, rude, uncaring, and careless when on the job.

All this might seem trivial but a similar thing happened to us just last week, too, at the restaurant across the street. We filled in a customer response card last week and we are going to fill in another one after our poorly served dinner tonight.
Good customer service is all about bringing customers back. And about sending them away happy – happy enough to pass positive feedback about your business, or in these two cases your restaurant, along to others, who may then try the product or service you offer for themselves and in their turn become repeat customers. I'm not sure I really want to return to these two places. I think it would be well worth the time and cost of gasoline to drive to the neighbouring community where there are lots of great restaurants just waiting for my business.


Josie said...

Leslie, the first thing I do when this happens to me, is I telephone the restaurant, speak to the manager who was on duty that particular evening, and let him/her know. Tell them just what you have stated here. It wasn't a Cactus Club, was it? It sounds like their menu. Their service is usually really awful.

You know what really irks me, is when I am waiting in line to pay for something at, say, The Bay or Sears, and just as it's my turn, the phone rings. If the clerk leaves me standing and answers the phone, I just put the item down and walk away. I was there first, with my money in my hand. Usually the person at the other end of the line is asking for something that the clerk has to go and search for. I used to wait patiently, but not anymore.

leslie said...

I understand that the rule in stores is that the customer standing in front of you comes first. I'd do the same as you but I've never had that happen. However, it is frustrating when you are calling for information and the salesperson answers the phone and asks you to wait a moment, which I totally understand, but then forgets about you. You're sitting there at home listening to people chatting about all sorts of things not having to do with business. btw, the restaurant was ABC Country.

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geewits said...

When I have bad service I always ask for the manager. I tell them that I blame them for not properly training their employees. But don't worry, I don't do it when I'm on vacation!

mrsnesbitt said...

Customer Service????
Don't get me started!
Did I ever tell you about the time we went to THE Gary Rhodes Restaurant?
Remind me!


Casdok said...

Good customer service is hard to find these days.

Ginni Dee said...

I think I would notify the manager or owner. If that was my place of business I would want to know how my customers felt and how they were being treated by my help. After all, these kids don't have anything invested in the business... they're just there for the paycheck. Of course, I would think they would understand that this can effect their tips.

I agree with what Josie said about waiting as a salesperson takes a phone call. It's almost like they allowed someone to step in front of you in line. Many times it doesn't bother me if it's a short call, but if I'm in a hurry, it does.

mommanator said...

when I am faced wiht this I also ask for the manager or when I pay and they say 'how was everything' I don't hessitate to tell them!

sandy said...

I don't think people are taught customer service any more, just as they aren't taught manners. I hate when they say...have a nice day.....just in the same tone as drop off the face of the earth. What ever happened to service with a smile. I under stand they are tired....but so am I!

Janice Thomson said...

When I was in retail I always trained my girls to take the call, get the customer's phone number and call them back after. I found this was an approach that satisfied everyone. Our store was rated second in customer service (in all of Canada!) by an independent company sponsored by the Chamber Of Commerce. No matter what business you are in customer service should always be top priority.

Paulie said...

That's too bad about the service. I always let them know that I won't be back ever.

Come see my post today -- it will surely cheer you up. . . especially if you click on photos to enlarge!

Kostas said...

Two golden rules of modern marketing say: Quality and Service!
Marvellous post!

Clever said...

Hi Leslie, so good to be in touch with you again. There is a new generation out there that don't even know what the word etiquette means, let alone manners. It is a way of their generation. I don't think they even recognize it. Also I think (and I speak from a Calgary perspective) that it is very hard to staff their shops for lack of skilled people. Nevertheless it is no excuse for bad manners especially in the food industry! Cheers!

Benjamin Myhre said...

So many companies just do not get that excellent customer service can drive sales. Its really unfortunate.

nancygrayce said...

I know just what you mean, Leslie! Even in the grocery store, the young cashiers don't even look at you, much less smile and say have a nice day.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Leslie. I understand your frustration because I have experienced that kind of thing so many times in the UK - and elsewhere. But I am happy to tell you that good service - in shops and bars, at any rate - does exist in Italy! [Let's forget the Sicilian water supply and Post Office, though!]

Smalltown RN said...

Customer service is so important...I have been fortunate that I haven't had to many experiences where service in a restaurant has been poor...but when it has been I have mentioned it....my eldest and middle daughter both work in a face paced restaurant...I have watched both of them work from afar and customer service is paramount...what I find distressing is the stories they share with me about customers.....getting sick on the tables because they have gorged themselves...leaving dirty baby diapers on the tables...making messes that no two year old would make...extremely poor tipping...sitting at tables for hours while just having tea and bread and then not tipping....yes it goes both ways....Leslie...is again all falls back to manners and how one is raised and respect...it's just so terribly frustrating.....great post...