Clearly, complaining gets you everywhere

Working in retail, you are constantly reminded of the importance of customer service. Whether you be filling freezers, on the tills, or arranging clothes, you constantly have to put the customer first, or you risk losing customers. This is evident in the retail chain where I work. In the entrance to the shop floor from the warehouse, there is a big sign that clearly signifies the importance of customers: “Customers make pay day possible…” A very valid statement.

After this kind of message has been drummed into me for the past four years, you understand why I would get annoyed by people in similar positions as me offering poor service.

As you may recall from a previous post, I saw Snow Patrol at the 02 arena a couple of weeks ago. Before attending the gig, my friends and I went for a meal at Nando’s. During the meal, we received some of the worst customer service I have ever experienced. After waiting for nearly 20 minutes for dessert, my friend went to enquire as to where it was. Within five minutes the waitress arrived with the dessert. The waitress very rudely told us it was our fault that the dessert had taken so long to arrive. We apologised and explained that we just said the number we were told. She wouldn’t accept this. She went out of her way to go to another table to show us the number that we were told we were! I was infuriated.

After a quick chat with a manager about the waitress’ behaviour, we were once again served by the original waitress. What she said this time made my blood boil. Turning to my friends she said: “Your friend (pointing at me) has got me in trouble with my manager, saying that I was rude when I wasn’t. I was only joking!” How dare she!

My friends were treated to a side of me not all of them had seen. Turning to her, I said: “Excuse me, if I felt you were rude, you were. If you had just come over here and said ‘oh sorry, I heard you thought I was rude earlier. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to annoy you’, then we would have accepted your apology and moved on, but no. You came over here and complained about me complaining.” She swiftly left.

Riled, I returned to the manager. She then informed me that her staff member had told her that “I had accepted her apology”. Still angry a day later, I wrote on Nando’s website explaining the situation in an eloquent, yet forceful manner.

Today I received a personal letter from Nando’s explaining that they are taking my complaint seriously and profusely apologising. They attached a voucher for a free meal at any Nando’s chain. To be brutally honest, the only reason I wrote the online complaint was to potentially receive vouchers.

I grew up watching my dad master the art of getting what he wanted from phone companies. I would sit there as he spoke of his career in the service industry and how o2 would never provide good enough service. Over the years I witnessed him negotiate contract shortenings, getting phones on tariffs they are not meant to be on and getting money credited on his account. His success over the years showed me that complaining does work. It gets you what you want and gets you everywhere in this world.

I’m glad that complaining is worthwhile in this world because, lets face it, I am bloody good at it!


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