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Thread: Retail complaints and accolades

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Retail complaints and accolades

    With the internet, I find myself increasingly willing to provide positive or negative feedback to retail ventures. (Although I never complete online "surveys" when they ask me to do so, e.g. Olive Garden or my car dealership's service dept).

    This evening, my vitriole was directed at two department stores. One has stopped carrying petite dresses, pantsuits, and suits, and the other has only 4 racks of granny-looking dresses. The misses departments in both stores are 10 times as big with dozens of racks of these items. The other anchors in our mall carry lower-end suits and such that don't suit me at all.

    I have also complained to our newspaper about delivery issues, restaurants about poor service, etc.

    On the other hand, I've sent kudos to our local grocery store staff (and received a phone call from the manager thanking me), and to restaurants where I've had an exceptional experience via the service and/or the food.

    Do you complain, critique, or send compliments? Or do I just have too much time on my hands?

  2. #2
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    About the only time I manage to provide customer feedback in a retail capacity is when I am at a restaurant and dying of boredom after waiting 40 minutes for my order. Suddenly that silly 'how are we doing?' customer evaluation card tucked between the ketchup and mustard assumes importance.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    Do you complain, critique, or send compliments? Or do I just have too much time on my hands?
    All of the above. Giving compliments pays off with better customer service. I perfected complaining in the most positive way. I, too complained to the newspaper about lousy delivery, and finally cancelled my subscription.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Arggh.... I used to be able to buy pants everywhere. Then only certain places carried them long enough. Now even those stores don't carry them. At the same time, there are a lot more big guys out there than tall guys so when I go to the big and tall store there is still a good chance they won't have anything that I can wear! This is true for catalogs. I don't want to buy from catalogs, but I don't have any choice. Seventy percent of the time I end up sending the stuff back, and it becomes a huge hassle to ensure you get credited, that they don't charge you shipping for sending you stuff that don't fit......
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  5. #5
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    My wife tells me I should be a professional complainer because I have a very high success rate. My favorite encounter was at a Johnny Carinos. I don't normally eat there, but a coworker's birthday was that day and she wanted to go there.

    I ordered a grilled panini--not exactly a complicated dish. Well, the food took a long time, despite the restaurant being at maybe 25% of capacity. Then when everything arrived, they had apparently lost my order. So they go back and another 20 minutes later I get a very soggy, undercooked panini that I didn't have the time, nor the desire, to eat. Just before leaving I stepped away from the table and asked for a manager. I explained to him all of the problems, yet he did not offer to comp the meal and he did not apologize. At the bottom of the receipt was a website to send comments to... so I did. The district manager responded pretty quick and said he would send gift certificates.

    A month later, they had not arrived. I sent a follow-up email and didn't get a response. So I did some research and found the email for their retail marketing director. I forwarded him the email, along with a link to a heavy traffic local website bulletin board where I had posted the entire email exchange. I got a call two hours later from the director and two days later received $150 in gift certificates in the mail. That's probably the most expensive $8 sandwich they've ever served.

    What's so funny about this is that I'm known for filling out positive comment cards if I see them on the table.

    "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)

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    I know from experience that some places take those comment cards very seriously. While I was in grad school, I worked as a hostess/supervisor at a restaurant in the Hilton. Unknown to me, a guest had a bad experience with one of the waiters while I was on duty that night. The guest had filled out a comment card with very specific details about what happened that night. Management tried to write me up for the incident since it was my shift, but I refused to take credit for what happened. The waiter was finally reprimanded. If a certain number of negative comment cards about your were turned in, you could be fired.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  7. #7
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    I try to lavish praise upon those in the service industry that are most helpful. The latest was the woman who takes my to go order over the phone at our favorite local Mexican restaurant. I had told the manager of her professionalism and how over the phone, she makes us feel comfortable and is great to deal with (as I hate talking on the phone). The manager loved hearing that and said that it was good to hear when one of her employees are doing well.

    There is a local pizza place that I like. It is in our little town in which I am volunteering on the economic development board. Recently, I had inquired as to why our neighbors insist on ordering Pizza Hut delivery from a neighboring larger town, rather than supporting a local business (other than people's propensity to partake in the mass production of America but I already have an established and contraversial thread about that). Their stance was that the proprietor of the local pizza joint was rude over the phone. 'Tis true, sadly. Everytime I have phoned in an order, he seems to be in a hurry and is not curitious over the phone.
    Everytime I go in to pick up dinner, I always BS with the owner. You know, ask about business, the family, etc. I think the next time I go in, I will ask about his phone technique and tell him what I have heard from the neighbors. We've already experienced a souring from the locals (even me) over the customer service at another establishment in town and I do not wish to have my pizza place driven out of town for the same reasons. (Also, lack of support for existing businesses may not attract new ones...)
    Of course, many do not take criticism very well and I will have to formulate a genuine and straight-forward approach with a dash of tact on top.
    Wish me luck, and any suggestions are welcome.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  8. #8
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Being a former restaurant manager I always liked to hear about how my staff was doing especially when I wasn't there so I knew what was going on. I used to reward my staff for every positive feedback they received either written, called in to me, or to the 800#.

    I usually give feedback if there is a form provided, if there isn't I make it a point to call. I find myself patronizing places with friendly, helpful people more often than other places. There is one clothing store that is a chain but I visit one particular location because there is a saleswoman that is great as she helps me put together outfits, shows me what's new, and saves me time. I complain to restaurants when my food is cold or overdue and give compliments when great (not merely good) service is delivered.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  9. #9
    Cyburbian GeogPlanner's avatar
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    I tend to provide feedback. Most places don't responds one way or the other. But if I have a great time or a bad one, I'll let them know about the extreme cases. Average visits don't get my time. Most of the time I get some response but not usually anything amazing. Here's my unofficial best/worst customer service experiences as it relates to calling that 800 number they give you...

    BEST
    Friendly's Resturants - had a bad time on more than one occasion and each time, they sent gift certificates so I could go back and have a better experience and I always do.

    WORST
    General Motors - Despite constant documented complaints with my '04 Chev Malibu, my problem was never fully resolved. About 1,000 miles out of warranty another component failed for the second time. Called GM and they assured me that it would be take care of. Sent the info into them...was supposed to be reimbursed in 6 weeks. 8 weeks passed, called 3 times with no returned calls, finally got someone, was told that they still needed more info and apologized that no one followed up on the case. Still awaiting US$400 for repairs I had to make on a problem that was never fixed. And this from a loyal customer who has never owned anything but Chevy. My next car? A Toyota most liekly.

    And this reminds me, I need to complain to Starbucks. Thier coffee lids are the worst and I always manage to spill b/c the coffee sloshes around the lid and splashes out.
    Last edited by Gedunker; 24 Apr 2007 at 11:11 AM. Reason: merged sequential replies
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    I'm glad so many here respond to postive or negative events. There have been too many decades in which people have been held unaccountable.
    Not saying anything when service is subpar is rewarding mediocraty, and that is something we cannot do.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  11. #11
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Arggh.... I used to be able to buy pants everywhere. Then only certain places carried them long enough. Now even those stores don't carry them. At the same time, there are a lot more big guys out there than tall guys so when I go to the big and tall store there is still a good chance they won't have anything that I can wear! This is true for catalogs. I don't want to buy from catalogs, but I don't have any choice. Seventy percent of the time I end up sending the stuff back, and it becomes a huge hassle to ensure you get credited, that they don't charge you shipping for sending you stuff that don't fit......
    I echo those comments. "Big & Tall" stores are a misnomer. Because they never have anything for tall people. They just have clothes for big people that look outdated. Gap.Com is my new friend.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Most of the time I "vote with my feet." (Is that the right expression? It sounds weird.) For example, I haven't returned to the local IHOP after a horrible experience with the service (or lack thereof). This restaurant has been in business since I was a toddler, but I won't go back.

    Having done quite a bit of business travel in the last two years, I have posted some reviews of hotels and motels on Tripadvisor.com. I did complete a comment card at the one dreadful place I stayed, but I never heard a word. That tells me they don't give a damn. If you're going to request comments from your guests, at least have the decency to respond to the negative ones!

    I do try to provide positive feedback when I have had an unusually good experience in a store or restaurant. Most people truly appreciate it. It certainly makes me feel good when a client tells me I've done a great job. I'm not a big shopper, but I'll go back to a store that provides excellent service, because it makes my shopping experience a lot more enjoyable (our local Coldwater Creek comes to mind).

    ZG mentioned that she doesn't complete the surveys for the car dealership's service department. Since my SO is in that industry, I can tell you that those customer surveys have a huge impact! At one dealership where he worked, they impacted the employee bonuses. The surveys are also used to compare and reward dealerships for their good service.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    Both of us will not hesitate to complain and follow through if we are not treated as a customer should be, but by we also go out of our way to let management know when we receive good service. We have not kept track but I think that we have received more complimentry gift certificates from the compliments than we have from the complaints,
    I had given it much thought until now
    You would think that it would be the other way around.

  14. #14
    Zoning Lord Richmond Jake's avatar
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    With all this complaining going on, are you sure ya'll aren't just trying to score free stuff?
    Annoyingly insensitive

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    I complained to a movie theater because the ushers did not remove a screaming child that was running up and down the stairs. There were 4 of us in the group, and all 4 of us complained at different times. We took it to a manager after the show, detailing which theater, the usher's name (gee, all 4 of us talked to the same usher!) and the child's activities. We were comped with gift certificates.

    I wrote a complementary note to a restaurant manager about great service from a waitress. Even though the food was only so-so, the service was fantastic and we wanted to let them know. We only got a thank-you from the manager, but I hope some sort of notation went on her record. She was still there the next time we went in, and even though she didn't remember us (we don't go in that often) the service was still fantastic.

    My hubby complained about service in a shoe store once. That really surprised me, because he usually will just walk out if there's no/horrible service. He let the manager know how he felt, then left.

    In general, I will only say/write something when it's the extreme. Really great service - I let you know (and your boss!). Sucky service - the wrath of Salmissra rains down on your boss's head.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    [QUOTE=Zoning Goddess;380104]
    This evening, my vitriole was directed at two department stores. One has stopped carrying petite dresses, pantsuits, and suits, and the other has only 4 racks of granny-looking dresses. The misses departments in both stores are 10 times as big with dozens of racks of these items. The other anchors in our mall carry lower-end suits and such that don't suit me at all.

    /QUOTE]

    I am kind of ticked that one dept store referred my complaint to the store manager, but the other said they would not refer it unless I provided my phone number and home address. Those were NOT required fields in the comment form!

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    I complained about shoddy service at a mickey D's in Benton Harbor. It was the classic travelers at the mercy of the locals. The lunch rush, I congenially place a simple two meal order, for some reason the order taker was surly, and argumentative. She pushed my order to the side where it was ignored. In the meantime she happily changes her tune for her acquaintences in line behind me. I had to try and catch the attentionn of another counter person to followup on my order, who did so grudgingly. They seemd to content to just let some orders linger in limbo.... blatant.

    I follwed up with corporate, and had a very nice candid email exchange. They gave me a coupon for a free meal. But I'll never stop there again, excpet to empty my bladder.

    Normally bad service at a fast food joint is not a shocker, but this went over the top in my experience.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    I visited a Hampton Inn recently and had two pretty significant complaints about the safety of the new hotel (not customer service or cleanliness, which is worse, I think). I even lowered my voice to tell him so that guests in line behind me couldn't hear. The manager comped BOTH rooms and gave me his card, telling me to call him directly the next time I was in town and he would personally pick rooms for us. I was blown away -- that was beyond the call of duty, so of course, I need to send a follow up letter/email to a regional office to tell them how impressed I am. (thanks for the reminder)
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Last night I was getting back to town after a meeting. It was already 8:00 and I had not eaten. I called my fiance and she had not eaten either (waiting for me) so I stopped by Boston Market. The staff there is always pleasant, but the food was not. When she opened up her pot pie it was nearly empty. We called, then returned to the store. Not only did the manager refund our meals, but he offered two more meals, salads, desert, and anything else we wanted. That kind of experience makes me want to continue giving them my business. Show me that you want to make good when something goes wrong and I will believe that you value me as a customer.

    On the other hand, I once found a piece of glass in my pizza at Giardano's in Chicago. The response? They offered to comp my drink. Not to replace the pizza. Not to give me a free meal. Apparently an "extra ingredient" which could send me to the hospital is only worth a soda.
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