Monday, January 21, 2013

The Plague of Bad Customer Service

Warning: this is a rant. I don't believe ranting to always be an acceptable form of writing, but sometimes I feel so strongly about something... I can't help it.

Within the past few weeks, I've had some interesting, nay, unacceptable experiences at local bars and restaurants and it has led me to the conclusion that we have a plague of terrible managers among us.

I believe this plague infects managers of eateries to completely ignore the fact that they work in a customer service based business. They begin to see the customer as the enemy... Someone who seems to come in asking for a glass of water, but obviously is really there to take the staffs' happiness away. Once a manager is infected, it will inevitably seep into the rest of the employees and will leave customers feeling uneasy and... quite honestly... ripped off. Terrible Yelp reviews may be a side affect.

Just a few things I have observed in my small town within the last two weeks:

Sudden changes to prices and offerings without notice
Continually increasing prices and decreasing food portions
Cooks walking out in the middle of dinner/happy hour
After cook returns, offering happy hour prices but then actually just charging the regular price anyway
Unresponsiveness to customer complaints
Charging the price of an entire bottle of wine for just a glass
Ignoring customers for lengthy periods of time
Never ever smiling or saying thank you
Inconsistent food and drinks
Saying the words "I have no idea what that is" when asking about a menu item

Often customers will put up with the occasional bout of this sickness, but after recurring troubles they are likely not to return. No matter how good you think your fries are.

I don't want to speak poorly of businesses online (though I have no trouble of telling you my experiences in person) but I will tell you that there are some places locally which have not been infected and I would hope that you might give them preference when deciding where to go in the near future, because they are welcoming and believe that the customer is always right.

Ann Marie's
Ocean Palace
Luna Rana
Thai Smiles
Taqueria el Jalepeno
The Oriole
Viet Hoa
The Seagate
Casa Mia (late addition, by request: I actually rarely eat there because I'm not a big fan of Italian food, but they are good people)

I believe these businesses are worth my time and money. Eating out is not cheap and I don't feel like giving my money away to people who don't seem to even want it. If there was a restaurant that had the most amazing food in the world, I might put up with terrible customer service... MIGHT. Probably not. Sometimes I think I'd rather go to McDonald's and get a smile with my cheeseburger than put up with some of these things I have seen recently. We live in a small town and a fragile economy. I do not want any business to fail, so ultimately it just makes me sad to see the poor judgement of business owners and their employees.

Please note: I have yet to find a bar that I actually want to hang out in very often. A place without live music (I don't hate it, but I often go out to talk with friends), decent prices on drinks, dark and loud enough to give you a little anonymity, the potential to become a "regular," no tvs, and comfortable seating. If anyone wants to open a place like this, I will do your marketing in exchange for a bar stool with my name on it. I'm not kidding.

1 comment:

  1. My wife actually writes negative reviews on the credit card receipt. Most of the staff at one particular restaurant in town all fear her.

    After three or four bad reviews of different servers, we are greeted with smiles by these same servers. Apparently instant feedback ("you'd get a tip if you actually interacted with us more. etc") works wonders.