'I cannot abide poor customer service'

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Fiona Scott Fiona Scott

Anyone who reads this column will know that I cannot abide poor customer service and I do feel that we put up with it too easily in England.

However, it’s also not fair to and then never praise a company or business when something is exceptional.

We recently went to a pizza restaurant for a meal when two of our usual five were away on sleep-overs.

Child number three felt very left out and we thought we’d cheer him up with his favourite treat, ice cream in a bowl with sweets.

Having placed our order, we were handed bowls to fill up with salad. When my husband got up, his jeans were soaking wet at the back. It was frankly disgusting.

We called the waitress over and she said: “Could it be where the seat was wiped?”

Presumably this was due to the fact that the cushion was some kind of plastic. I asked her to touch the chair, whereupon she agreed the amount of liquid did not equate to that left behind by a damp cloth. We hadn’t even had a drink at this stage, so were not responsible for any spillage.

The seat was duly removed and the manager said she’d apply a discount to our bill and thanked us for being so reasonable. A new chair was found.

Later, our £50 bill was reduced by half. At home the jeans were washed and all was fine. This was one example of where a potentially negative situation was turned into something positive. It ensured we won’t mind visiting again.

  • If you’d like to share your views or make a comment, please feel free. I can be contacted via any of the above routes or you can write to me at Gazette & Herald, 100 Victoria Road, Old Town, Swindon, SN1 3BE.

Comments (3)

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10:32am Sun 30 Mar 14

mhudston says...

I tend to find poor customer service, is down to lack of experience and poor training of the staff.

These kind of industries tend to be populated in the main part, by younger people on lower wages, who have less life experience simply because of their age. Its probably more a symptom of our education system, and how parents raise their children. Everyone seems so focused on exam results and further education, that they have forgotten about teaching the younger generation, on how to deal with confrontation and complaints, accept criticism or even compliments.

Conversely I find the response can be tempered around the ways complaint is made. If it is more confrontational the response is immediately defensive and unlikely to obtain an response that is acceptable to both parties.

From personable experience I have learnt that ia valid complaint, if made politely and factually, tends to get resolved quickly and to everyones satisfaction. Well for the most part anyway!
I tend to find poor customer service, is down to lack of experience and poor training of the staff. These kind of industries tend to be populated in the main part, by younger people on lower wages, who have less life experience simply because of their age. Its probably more a symptom of our education system, and how parents raise their children. Everyone seems so focused on exam results and further education, that they have forgotten about teaching the younger generation, on how to deal with confrontation and complaints, accept criticism or even compliments. Conversely I find the response can be tempered around the ways complaint is made. If it is more confrontational the response is immediately defensive and unlikely to obtain an response that is acceptable to both parties. From personable experience I have learnt that ia valid complaint, if made politely and factually, tends to get resolved quickly and to everyones satisfaction. Well for the most part anyway! mhudston
  • Score: 4

9:02pm Mon 31 Mar 14

allthedecentnameshavegone says...

It is a shame that many resaurants invest so heavily in their premises and cooking staff, but seem to forget to train their front of house staff who have such a big impact on the diner's experience. It's not at all unusual for a meal with good food to be let down by lousy service.

The restaurant referred to in the article above, which I assume to be Pizza Hut, seems, however to have made a better job of it than most. Several times I have emailed the manager to tell him how well his team have performed, and even once to say how well a complaint was dealt with.
It is a shame that many resaurants invest so heavily in their premises and cooking staff, but seem to forget to train their front of house staff who have such a big impact on the diner's experience. It's not at all unusual for a meal with good food to be let down by lousy service. The restaurant referred to in the article above, which I assume to be Pizza Hut, seems, however to have made a better job of it than most. Several times I have emailed the manager to tell him how well his team have performed, and even once to say how well a complaint was dealt with. allthedecentnameshavegone
  • Score: 0

5:14pm Tue 1 Apr 14

Spectator67 says...

From my own personal experience it is in fact older employees that lack somewhat in customer service, however overall age shouldn't be a factor. I have many times shopped in one of the big six supermarkets that we have in Chippenham and received appalling customer service whereby the checkout attendant could barely raise a grunt. I shop at Asda in Melksham now as they have much better service, but on the few occasions I do venture in to town I enjoy a cup of coffee in the shop by the Neeld Hall. Excellent service, excellent coffee and always with a smile, service as it should be.
From my own personal experience it is in fact older employees that lack somewhat in customer service, however overall age shouldn't be a factor. I have many times shopped in one of the big six supermarkets that we have in Chippenham and received appalling customer service whereby the checkout attendant could barely raise a grunt. I shop at Asda in Melksham now as they have much better service, but on the few occasions I do venture in to town I enjoy a cup of coffee in the shop by the Neeld Hall. Excellent service, excellent coffee and always with a smile, service as it should be. Spectator67
  • Score: 1

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