Monday, August 09, 2010

Customer service

yummy treats

(This uncle is a darling by the way ;p)

Most of us don’t believe in our own rights. Most of the time we’re too afraid to stand up for what is right coz we’re too lazy to make a deal out of it.

Unfortunately for some people I’m not like that. I HATE bad service. When i go out for meals, i pick places not just based on the food but mostly because of the service. Unless I have no choice I won’t return to a place with horrible service.

It was because we didn’t have a choice that we ended up at Zen (secret Recipe) restaurant at Sooka Sentral last Thursday. The few times I was there I was pretty irritated by their lack of service and delays.

The four of us placed our orders. My friend and I ended up ordering the same item. So we wait for our food to arrive. Sometime later we notice the table next to us that arrived after us and put in their orders much later than us received the exact meal we had ordered. I figured the waitress had given the order by mistake and decided to ignore it.

Sometime later my friends started getting their orders and after a while I figured I better ask about my food or I’d never get it. The moment I asked about my order, the waitress heads to the kitchen (which is in full view from our table) and asks about my order. The dude tells her oh its finished. Some 30 minutes after arriving they realise they no longer have my order.

That’s when I got angry. Not only had they given my order elsewhere, they had not bothered about my meal till I enquired, they had no courtesy to inform me and ingredient in my meal (a kind of pasta which can be easily replaced) was no longer available, that i had to ask to find out my meal wasn’t even being prepared!, they were just going to ignore my existence! And I was riled up even worse after seeing how casually the kitchen staff dude answered the waitress.

So waitress comes over to let me know. I ask her why didn’t you tell me earlier, why did i have to ask first to find out if i was even being served, as usual there was no answer. All i got was do you want us to change the pasta?

I said ok change it but i want your feedback form and i also want to see your manager.
Food arrives sometime later looking quite pathetic and tasting pretty mediocre but there was no sign of a feedback form or the manager. So I ask again and I still get ignored. I finally tell them i’m not paying if i don’t see the manager.

Then the gal tells me the manager and the assistant manager are not around but i was pretty certain they were around (you’ll be surprised who it turned out to be) and they had no feedback form available. What the heck??

To compensate my displeasure, the gal brings us the bill and omits my meal and tells me sorry but i’ll pay for it. Now i know for a fact that some of these franchise outlets make their staff pay for such meals when its usually the irresponsibility of the manager, the outlet being ill prepared for the lunch crowd and the lack of proper training for such incidents to happen. So i refuse to totally blame the wait staff. So i asked her again who is paying for this you or the company. She said me (though I’m not sure if she understood). I told her please put back the meal on the bill i will pay for it. Paid and left.

I told my friends this is not the end of this issue.

So after watching the Slash concert that night, i got home searched for Secret recipe’s site and only found their FB page, left messages criticising their service. Waited for 2 days and on Saturday after failing to find a contact number or email at their website, I wrote to Malay Mail about the incident.

Monday arrives and I’m sitting in a meeting when my phone starts ringing non stop from an unfamiliar number. After the eight ring I pick it up and who do we have on the phone but the illusive manager of Zen Sooka Sentral. I tell him to wait and I’ll call him back.

After my meeting I call him back and he tells me he called to apologise. He wasn’t aware of the situation and such. I told him this is not the first time you guys have had bad service, you’re not a  hawker stall with minimal staff. Lunch time is a horrible excuse and such.

Anyway I thank him for apologising and he tells me can I offer you something in return. Apparently the usual procedure is to give a cake or a meal voucher. Actually this should have been done the moment there was an error on their part. Given I never wanted to go back I said fine you can send me a cake and gave him my office address.

Minutes later the lovely people at Malay Mail call to check on the status of my case. I thanked them for reading my email and responding so swiftly. A million thanks to Malay Mail for always being a voice for Malaysian consumers. I can vouch for them that they really care about getting your problem solved. Thanks again.

Sometime later my receptionist calls to let me know there are 2 guys waiting with a cake. Guess who was the manager/ assistant manager? The Pasta dude. A million dark clouds were on his face, i was seriously feeling a bit threatened looking at him. He was apologising but had a look of fury. Though he kept insisting he didn’t know about it. I quickly pointed out but you were the dude who told the staff there was no more pasta. He just kept quiet. Seriously nothing about his apology was sincere, still i told him thank you for coming by.

I still don’t think he got the message, i think he was just angry i got him into trouble. He left the cake on the table and pointed to it and said sorry and left. Probably the most insincere apology i’ve heard. I shall not even talk about the quality of the cake. I’m 100 percent sure i’m never gonna go there. He might just spike my food or worse.

Seriously then paying so much money for their food, I’m better of eating at my favourite mamak, who will serve us with smiles and even a joke or two. Of course there are other outlets offer such lovely services and food too. That’s why I head to the same places always.

So moral of the story, service is important, if its crap, complain and take it elsewhere if they ignore you. Don’t sit and complain to your friends on facebook and such without making an effort to change the situation.

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Anonymous said...

I agree with you. Service is important. But it becomes another trivial matter if people are willing to eat at a place, regardless.

I know a few places owned by Tamils in Toronto that are always overcrowded, regardless of bad service. If you look beyond this particular community, you can see this trend in pretty much all big cities in Canada. Fast-food places are the worst service providers. Besides that, Asian(all types) restaurants provide, in general, the worst service. But I do think this has more to do with Asian culture adjusting to the big world of food service. Envy people that live in small towns where they can eat at the same place, with quality service and food.

There is a whole new generation growing that hardly walk into the kitchen. Which in itself is sad, though I guess a boon for the Healthcare industry:-)


sabrina said...

OMG what an an absolute loser!! You shud have bicth-slapped him la babe

But good on you for not keeping quiet about it...i usually get all worked out and plan to make a big complaint but when it comes to it, i get to lazy to write a report. Def wont be doing that again!

Visithra said...

kajan: unless i cannot get anything then im a stickler for service - im ok with slow but not disregard

u can find quality service n food in the city u just need to look for them

saby: yep - lol i think this equaled a few slaps ;p i sometimes forget too - but sometimes im just really irked - yes u shouldnt

Unicorn Girl said...

You are absolutely correct Visithra. Good service does matter no matter where it maybe - be it at a restaurant , shor shop or even at the bookstores . Will be sharing about my encounter on customer service in an upcoming post soon . Ceerio !

Unicorn Girl said...

my apology - i mean shoe shop.

ashok said...

i agree visit...

Visithra said...

unicorn: yep if you're offering a service it should be good regardless of where

ashok: hey hows u ;)