Do You Speak Up When Your Experience is Unsatisfactory?

Over the past few weeks I received bad service and even worse food from two different restaurants in our area. Rather than watching good money go down the drain I decided to contact the customer service departments to discuss the specifics of the issues I encountered.

I wasn’t sure what each establishment would do, but I figured it never hurts to ask. I retained the receipts from each restaurant and included very specific details of the problems I encountered. I didn’t receive word back from each of them right away, but after a few weeks I was contacted by both of them.

One manager asked for my contact information and then called me to ask about the specifics of the event, the time I arrived and what the food was like that I received with my order. He asked so many questions I felt like I was completing a secret shopper job. I provided as many details as I could remember and the manager offered to send a gift card in the amount of my original order. He also thanked me multiple times for contacting him about my negative experience and told me this is the best way to ensure a better experience for all of his customers.

To be honest I prefer to provide positive feedback to stores and restaurants, but when things are bad I will often speak up and complain. I hope management makes corrections based on my feedback so that other customers get a better experience.

I know a lot of people won’t speak up when things go wrong and I know some people who complain no matter where they go and what they order. I’m a pretty easy going girl, so I must admit that an experience has to be pretty awful for me to complain about it.

5 thoughts on “Do You Speak Up When Your Experience is Unsatisfactory?”

  1. My mom taught us to speak up when there's a problem, but I usually don't. One time, I had ordered chicken nachos to go from a restaurant, but when I got them home, I saw that there was no chicken inside. The next day I got a call from the restaurant manager asking if I was satisfied with my experience. (I thought that was odd in itself. Surely they don't call every person who orders from them?) I told him about the chicken, and he apologized and said my next meal the chicken would be free. I thought that was pretty great so later in the day I ordered from them again, figuring I might as well take advantage of the savings. I got to the restaurant, and the hostess said, "This one is on us." They comped the entire meal! They made a lifelong customer out of me. šŸ™‚

  2. It is soooo important to speak up. You paid for that food, that product — you should get what you paid for! I don't complain that often, but have gotten good enough at it that family and friends now say, after a bad experience, "Cindy should write a letter for you about that." I used to be a guest critic for the Traildust restaurant chain, and every time a waitress was rude or rotten to me, I would say nothing, but think, "You are going to be SO sorry you did that." It was immensely freeing.

  3. I did a column about that for MSN Money, and every customer service specialist I talked to said that yes, they *do* want to hear from you. The fact is that a lot of people won't say anything — they just won't go back. If enough people are treated badly and don't go back, the place goes out of business. But unless management hears about what went wrong, s/he can't correct the problem.
    If you're blown off? Well, you won't go back. But unless you speak up, you'll never know whether they would have fixed it.
    If it's kosher to post URLs, here's the piece:

  4. Not so long ago I complained to a large fast food outlet about the rude behaviour of one of there employees, I never heard back from them and he is still working there. Did I waste my time ???

    I think you absolutely did the right thing.

  5. I'm glad to see that you don't think I was wrong to complain.

    @Red – I've never been so well compensated for complaining! Good for you.

    @Cindy – My dad has been praised for his letters too. There is definitely an art to it.

    @Donna – I enjoyed the article you linked to. It's good to know that management does want you to speak up. Now I won't feel so guilty when I do šŸ™‚

    @Maureen – I bet the management team acted on your letter. They may not have fired the individual you mentioned, but I bet they spoke with him about the issue.


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