I’ve been thinking about complaining a lot. Not in any particular way, but out in the world, in public. I’ve noticed more and more that it’s difficult to find people willing to complain or make aware bad service. Customer service, food service, any service, really.
Recently, I’ve had my own streak of terrible customer service. One from Denny’s and the other from Pep Boys. So I know these aren’t really the best places to expect exceptional service, but this was beyond acceptable. I complained (yes on yelp) and with customer care at corporate offices. I didn’t feel like a bitch while doing it, but rather like it was my duty. Perhaps it’s just a European thing, because when I told several people what I had done, instead of applauding me for my responsible effort in trying to better their businesses, they stared at me in horror!
I recently read another blogger’s same issues, only she has recently moved to France. She mentioned that when she complained the cheese she bought for a party wasn’t what she expected (quality wise), she was revered for her “refined taste” and is now known as the “Cheesy American” in that Cheese Shop. Just a small example, but clearly, around the world complaining, or simply mentioning that as a customer you’re not happy, shows that you’re not just picky, but have an eye for quality and expect it. Almost as if by complaining you’re bestowing a sense of honor to the owners of said business by expecting more than what you got.
In any case, I’m getting apologies in the form of coupons from Denny’s, and got a customer service phone call from Pep Boys. With Pep Boys, as it’s mechanics, I’m a little more… scared, to speak my mind to an actual person, lest my brake warranty mysteriously disappear. However, it goes to show that I should have shopped around for my local mechanics a little more closely and probably gotten a better deal, and faster service.
Overall, I think people in the States need to realize that there are things that shouldn’t be overlooked, and customer service is one of them. While it might be OK to be huffy when you’re in a hurry and you don’t want to wait for a haircut without an appointment, it’s another thing when you’re waiting 3 hours for brakes to be fixed, and 40 minutes to get food (that’s not cold) for breakfast. Airing you’re concerns to management ensures others don’t suffer the way you have. It’s not being snobby, or picky, or even “difficult”, but rather responsible, dedicated, and most importantly, a consumer which has standards that have to be met. Simply saying “I’m not coming back here again,” isn’t enough; it only shows how you won’t waste your time, but one customer leaving won’t hurt the business or show them how terribly they’ve messed up.