Thursday, November 16, 2006

Helpful Comment or Complaint?

Annie and I went out for a meal tonight (to be more accurate, a quick pub snack) at our local drinking hole.

We had a lovely young girl serving us … lovely …but:

  • She messed up the food order twice – first for the main course and second when she forgot to order our dessert from the kitchen.

  • She forgot to pour the drinks I had ordered and paid for. She wandered off to the kitchen leaving me at the bar for 5 minutes or so wondering what was happening. When she came back delivering meals I asked her about our drinks which she had completely forgotten.

Having had three children I am like all parents - a great ‘forgiver’ - that's one of the roles of parents isn't it?

We have to be patient and tolerant as youngsters learn. I didn't really want to complain to her bosses because I worry that some uncaring person may come across in a 'heavy' way.

Having said that, I still felt uncomfortable about leaving such pretty awful service ‘unreported.’

I decided to have a quiet word with another member of staff who was a bit older and a bit more experienced. I simply said that I think the first girl needed a gentle reminder about the importance of remembering to do things for customers.

I remember when I was just starting out at work at 16 years of age I made plenty of mistakes (probably still making them).

I hope this girl will be given time, support and understanding. I hope the message gets back to her in the spirit it was intended and that it helps her in the long run.

Should I have handled it another way or simply ignored it and said nothing?


Steve Sherlock said...

Trevor, service failures need to be addressed directly. The other option is indirectly, i.e. never going back there and telling folks not to go there.

From positive perspective, I like the way you did it. Assuming the co-worked passes the info along either directly (to her) or indirectly (to the manager) that kind of feedback can provoke change.

The only other way would have been a direct confrontation with her, but it seems she was already too pre-occupied or not attentive and the message would not have been received.

I hope your next place will provide better service. An evening out should not be spoiled by such service!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks for that Steve - you sum up pretty well how we felt. I really don’t think it would have been the right thing to approach the girl direct as she was 'out of it' it many ways. I just hope someone tells her in a supportive way but firmly that customers are the reason she is in a job. I am sure she will get better. Happily, the meal itself was fine and Annie and I enjoyed our evening anyway despite the problems.