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Thread: Tuesday, November 22, 2005 Noontime (Action) Question from Michaelskis

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Tuesday, November 22, 2005 Noontime (Action) Question from Michaelskis

    Today’s question is in response for something that I see and hear a lot. People have concerns some aspect of a particular thing, and I think too many people will complain about it, but it is a rare occasion that anyone will do anything about it. There are particular elements in another organization that I work with, and this past week I decided to voice my concerns with those aspects to individuals who do have the power to make change. I also do this often at fast food restaurants that have poor customer service.

    Do you just complain about things, or do you take action and contact those who can correct the problem or further voice your concern?
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

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    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    For customer service issues, I generally do not confront the business about their poor service. I simply do not frequent their establishment. My wife on the other hand....well lets just say she isn't afraid to speak her mind to whomever is in charage at McDonalds.

    For other things, it depends on how close I am to the situation. If I feel that I am an "outsider", I often feel uneasy about making suggestions for change. Once I feel that I have standing (to use a legal term) and that I have been a part of a job, organization, group, etc. for a certain amount of time, I often will suggest ways to improve or to do things differently.

    I think for me it becomse a decision based on wheter or not I feel I am overstepping my bounds.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

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    Cyburbian
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    I became concerned with the decisions my town was making about 2 years ago. I figured I had three choices.
    1. Complain and do nothing like everyone else.
    2. Move
    3. Take action and try to change things.
    I chose to try to do something. Everyone asks why I bother, I won't be able to change anything. I reply with doing nothing guarantees nothing will change, and suggest they get involved as well as there is power in numbers.

    I would have been better off beating my head on the sidewalk. My greatest accomplishment to date is getting the grass mowed at the cemetery Option 2 looks better and better every day.

    As to fast food restaurants, do any of them have good service?

  4. #4
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Today’s question is in response for something that I see and hear a lot. People have concerns some aspect of a particular thing, and I think too many people will complain about it, but it is a rare occasion that anyone will do anything about it. There are particular elements in another organization that I work with, and this past week I decided to voice my concerns with those aspects to individuals who do have the power to make change. I also do this often at fast food restaurants that have poor customer service.

    Do you just complain about things, or do you take action and contact those who can correct the problem or further voice your concern?
    In terms of restaurant service I typically modify a business' practices using the most powerful tool I know - my pocketbook. Simple, give people crappy service, customers don't spend their money there and the business gets overtaken by a competitor that offers better service. End of story.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    In terms of restaurant service I typically modify a business' practices using the most powerful tool I know - my pocketbook. Simple, give people crappy service, customers don't spend their money there and the business gets overtaken by a competitor that offers better service. End of story.
    I think that is a great point and when it comes to restaurant service. What about other things such as state or federal politics? You are one of the more informed individuals that I know when it comes to governmental issues. When was the last time you wrote a letter expressing your concerns to a representative?

    I think that all to often people will complain to their friends and co-workers about something that a political leader does or is not doing, and his/her friends or co-works might agree, but how is anyone who might have some influence in that aspect going to know his/her concerns on an issue if they don’t take action?
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

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    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I almost always let a manager know if service (in any type of establishment) was not up to snuff. A steakhouse recently gave me $60 in gift cards after I explained (not in a bitchy way) about what happened. I think they need to know if there is a problem with their operation. (I will admit that I yelled once at a McDonalds when the woman taking orders couldn't speak English)

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    I think that is a great point and when it comes to restaurant service. What about other things such as state or federal politics? You are one of the more informed individuals that I know when it comes to governmental issues. When was the last time you wrote a letter expressing your concerns to a representative?

    I think that all to often people will complain to their friends and co-workers about something that a political leader does or is not doing, and his/her friends or co-works might agree, but how is anyone who might have some influence in that aspect going to know his/her concerns on an issue if they don’t take action?
    I wrote a letter to the governor once airing my grievances. He apparently chose to ignore my letter as he did none of the things I suggested (the fact that the letter was written with purple crayon on construction paper should have had no bearing on the merits/validity of the arguments )

    I think what prevents most people from writing their congressional reps or other politicians is the rather compelling belief that their (and every other citizen's) letter will generate an anonymous form letter response stating "Dear (Insert Name Here, I am glad citizens such as yourself take the time to share their concerns about (insert issue here)...." and thereafter promptly see absolutely NO change in the politician's voting record or actions. This is reality. Do politicians care about their constituent's opinions? Only to the extent that it might affect their chances at reelection, but in the 21st century polticians don't rely on hit or miss correspondence to tell what direction the political wind is blowing, they rely on scientific polling to identify their constituency's hot button issues and stances. If you wish to change a polticians views/votes on anything the best way to alter their behavior is by making campaign donations. Sad but true.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I won't complain unless something goes catastrophically bad. Onions on my burger? No big deal. Somewhat grumpy waitstaff? Been there and know what a pain some customers can be. Price a little off? I'm always courteous and sometimes won't say anything if its only a few pennies. Basically, I pick my battles. For example, I reemed a manager and cook when I ordered a $25 fish fillet, only to cut into it and find it ice cold and uncooked. I explained that I would tell everyone I knew about the mistake since they weren't quick enough in offering explanations or solutions (which I have followed through on). I'll admit that I threw around my job with the City on this one, pointing out that I officed right next door to the health inspector.

    I am more known for rewarding exceptionally good service. I know what a pain in the ass customers can be, so when I get a waiter/waitress that really does well I often tip up to 35%. My average is 10-15%. If tipping isn't an option, then I will usually let the manager know that I was happy with the service.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    I am more known for rewarding exceptionally good service. I know what a pain in the ass customers can be, so when I get a waiter/waitress that really does well I often tip up to 35%. My average is 10-15%. If tipping isn't an option, then I will usually let the manager know that I was happy with the service.
    I think this is an important point. As a society, we are generally quick to acknowledge bad behavior, and slow to acknowledge when service is good. I wonder how this plays into the minds of elected officials. I bet for every 1 letter he/or she recieves praising their work for the electorate, that same official will receive dozens of letters saying how awful they're doing. I'm not saying this justifies ignoring your constituents...but I think it is a interesting point.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage
    I think this is an important point. As a society, we are generally quick to acknowledge bad behavior, and slow to acknowledge when service is good. I wonder how this plays into the minds of elected officials. I bet for every 1 letter he/or she recieves praising their work for the electorate, that same official will receive dozens of letters saying how awful they're doing. I'm not saying this justifies ignoring your constituents...but I think it is a interesting point.
    I think that is a great point, and that is yet another way that we can take action. We will mention to our friends about the great customer service that we receive or how wonderful the food was, but it is rare that we will express the same to the management.

    When I do have good customer service I will fill out a comment card if available and include the waiter/ waitress’s name on the comment section informing them that I was pleased with my service. If they do a phenomenal job, I will make sure that I remember their name, and call the manager to express how great the food or service was, and how terrific the waiter/ waitress was.

    I think that us just being apathetic or not willing to express how we feel about things will destroy our society.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    I often acknowledge good service. I won't complain about bad service at some places because it falls on deaf ears. I find that TGIF is pretty accomodating if the service is not up to their standards.

    If I have a concern about something with an organization, I won't complain, but I'll offer to help make changes.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    I have expressed concerns and possible solutions to almost all of my elected officials at some point. My city council representative was by far the worst in his response. At the time I was on the Board of my community council and we were voicing our support for a zoning overlay for our neighborhood to protect it from Mcmansions. He responded by saying he had already made up his mind, and that our comments were "too late to be considered". WTF? this was 2 weeks prior to the Public Hearing on the issue.

    As far as buisnesses, I don't utilize businesses with poor customer service. I don't get too worked up over my service at restaurants and tip a standard 20%, more if it is exceptional. I was a manager of a restaurant during college, so I know what servers go through.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
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    I avoid complaining. My wife gets on me about it, but I tend to rationalize bad service... "maybe they were having a bad day" ... "maybe they are just too busy".

    If service is very bad, I just don't frequent the place and do not recommend them to anyone. In my mind, I figure if I tell them about their mistake, they might actually fix it, but that is not my goal, as I want everyone to experience the crappy service they provide... so they will no longer go there and the business will have to close.... or maybe I'm just non-confrontational.

    We do have a mental list of establishments that we will not visit, due to a lack of service. Often it means going out of our way to patronize a store that has been good to us.
    Every time I look at a Yankees hat I see a swastika tilted just a little off kilter.
    Bill "Spaceman" Lee

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