Author Topic: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?  (Read 5848 times)

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lisen

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Re: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?
« Reply #30 on: December 17, 2012, 01:12:17 PM »
I have a severe allergy to caffeine. I often go to a café by my workplace and order one of those fancy steamed milk drinks with a decaf teabag in it. Earlier this year, the barrista was not paying attention and chatting to a friend and put a shot of espresso in my drink. I didn't notice until I had a few sips of it, and I suffered several hours of uncontrollable muscle tremors. I called the management of the café and explained the situation. I said that I wasn't angry because I knew it was an accident, but I hope that the manager/ owner would talk to the employees about paying attention to orders and about people with allergies. I got a very sincere apology (such that for months I had to refuse free drinks from the staff) and they were much more conscientious about labeling the drinks as "lactose-free", "caffeine-free", etc. Sometimes your complaint actually helps the business!

For me though, there's a big difference between your situation and the one in the OP.  The OP complained, in person, at the time of the incident, and the complaint was satisfactorily addressed at the time.  She's now contemplating registering a second complaint about the same incident.   Your complaint may have been at a later time, but it was still only one complaint.  If you'd have realized while you were still in the cafe, complained at the time, gotten the same sincere apologies and a free corrected order would anything have been served by you calling later and complaining again?

I'm not saying that the incident wasn't worthy of a complaint.  It most certainly was.  I'm saying that the OP already complained and the complaint was addressed, so there's no need for the OP to register a second complaint over the same incident.


My reasoning goes like this: If I complained to the barrista at the time and got a new drink, I would still have called to complain/ speak to the manager or owner because the manager is in charge of training the employees. Whiterose got a new souffle, but the staff need to be trained to mark the vegetarian food better. It's a management issue. As well, they may need to be spoken to about their professionalism, health risks, or even safe food handling so that there's not a lawsuit against the store. So I think that addressing a letter to the company, speaking to the manager, or filling in a form on their website are still appropriate in Whiterose's case as a "heads up" about something the management may want to address with their employees so it doesn't happen again.

MissManager

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Re: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?
« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2012, 01:14:25 PM »
I did write an email in their Contact Us page. I put it under Food Products- since the service was fine. I like the suggestions that the vegetarian items have different wrappers and labels than the non-vegetarian ones. Should I write a snail-mail letter as well? I do not know if a phone call would be a good idea.

So, you've now brought this to their attention once in person, a second time via e-mail, and are considering a third time via letter and possibly a fourth by phone call.  Honestly, I think the in person complaint was completely warranted and 100% justified.  I think the e-mail was a little bit overkill, but acceptable in lines of what people have suggested along the lines of how to avoid this sort of thing in the future (though nothing will ever be completely foolproof, and twice in two years isn't exactly a huge rate of error).  Contacting them more over the same incident to me seems like beating a dead horse and runs the risk that instead of them continuing to respond in a positive manner you'll be dismissed as the person who just won't let go.

I really do understand that you were very upset, and you were perfectly justified in being so, but you've now complained both in person and through e-mail.  It was a mistake and an accident and they've apologized.  It's time to let it go.

I manage a restaurant (not the same layout as this one). I have to approve all of the comps that are made so if my server told me that she comped something (one or both items, I trust my servers to assess the situation and make the decision that will please the guest) I would have automatically addressed this with my kitchen, or whomever.

A follow up email would probably get a "thanks for letting me know and it's already been addressed" type of response (much more eloquently put).

Any more than that I'd assume you were out to get something for free, and probably give it to you so that you'd stop bothering me (just to be honest). I don't need multiple complaints in different forms to take a something like that seriously.

Having different wrappers for different products sounds good until you put it on paper (paper goods can be surprisingly expensive) and if this is corporation it has to go all they way up the chain and back down to make it happen. Not that its a bad idea it just may not be cost effective especially when they have a system that works and probably just fell through the cracks do to a break down in training or someone just not paying attention. Sometimes mistakes just happen.

Moray

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Re: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?
« Reply #32 on: December 17, 2012, 01:20:21 PM »
You've complained twice. I honestly can't imagine what you'd hope to gain from a 3rd complaint. I believe PPs are right in saying it would only "dilute" your previous complaints.
Utah

JoieGirl7

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Re: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?
« Reply #33 on: December 17, 2012, 01:40:11 PM »
As long  you are polite about it, I think its fine to complain as many times as needed to get a satisfatory response.

onyonryngs

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Re: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?
« Reply #34 on: December 17, 2012, 01:48:51 PM »
It might be a good idea if there was some sort of form letter thread on here for various letters to corporate, teachers, etc. that posters can tweak as needed.  as there seems to often be threads asking for help on composing a letter.  I do think in this instance your complaint was taken care of so I'm not sure what a letter will accomplish.  I don't call back/email/write to complain unless the issue wasn't resolved at the time of the incident.

Moray

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Re: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?
« Reply #35 on: December 17, 2012, 01:50:55 PM »
As long  you are polite about it, I think its fine to complain as many times as needed to get a satisfatory response.

Maybe that's the heart of the matter. OP, what would you consider a satisfactory response?

For me, a satisfactory response would be a rectification of the immediate issue (check!) and an assurance that there are procedures in place to prevent a recurrence (check!)
Utah

Yvaine

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Re: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?
« Reply #36 on: December 17, 2012, 01:57:10 PM »
As long  you are polite about it, I think its fine to complain as many times as needed to get a satisfatory response.

Maybe that's the heart of the matter. OP, what would you consider a satisfactory response?

For me, a satisfactory response would be a rectification of the immediate issue (check!) and an assurance that there are procedures in place to prevent a recurrence (check!)

I agree. We can't call this a recurrence of the years-ago incident, really, since that happened at a completely different branch of the chain (i.e. different employees, different management).

veryfluffy

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Re: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?
« Reply #37 on: December 17, 2012, 02:09:27 PM »

I can no longer have meat. Due to spiritual and scientific reasons, eating pork accidentally is a bigger problem than eating say, chicken or tuna accidentally. I am not infringing on anyone's right to eat meat- I just do not wish to eat it. Ever again.

I think that if the consequences are so serious, your best option is to no longer patronise an establishment where such mistakes are a possibility.
   

JoieGirl7

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Re: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?
« Reply #38 on: December 17, 2012, 02:18:28 PM »
As long  you are polite about it, I think its fine to complain as many times as needed to get a satisfatory response.

Maybe that's the heart of the matter. OP, what would you consider a satisfactory response?

For me, a satisfactory response would be a rectification of the immediate issue (check!) and an assurance that there are procedures in place to prevent a recurrence (check!)

I agree. We can't call this a recurrence of the years-ago incident, really, since that happened at a completely different branch of the chain (i.e. different employees, different management).

Actually, the fact that it reoccurred at the same chain makes a complaint to corporate necessary because the problem is not simply one store.

Moray

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Re: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?
« Reply #39 on: December 17, 2012, 02:20:48 PM »
As long  you are polite about it, I think its fine to complain as many times as needed to get a satisfatory response.

Maybe that's the heart of the matter. OP, what would you consider a satisfactory response?

For me, a satisfactory response would be a rectification of the immediate issue (check!) and an assurance that there are procedures in place to prevent a recurrence (check!)

I agree. We can't call this a recurrence of the years-ago incident, really, since that happened at a completely different branch of the chain (i.e. different employees, different management).

Actually, the fact that it reoccurred at the same chain makes a complaint to corporate necessary because the problem is not simply one store.

Again, what would you consider satisfactory? That's the important thing here. Well, actually it's important what the OP considers satisfactory and whether it's a reasonable thing or not.
Utah

squeakers

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Re: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?
« Reply #40 on: December 17, 2012, 02:21:32 PM »

I did write an email in their Contact Us page. I put it under Food Products- since the service was fine. I like the suggestions that the vegetarian items have different wrappers and labels than the non-vegetarian ones. Should I write a snail-mail letter as well? I do not know if a phone call would be a good idea.

I would wait and see if the Contact Us email gets you a response and if you do get one you could reply back with suggestions of different wrappings etc.  Other than that it would seem a bit over the top for a minor complaint. Minor compared to if you had a verified common allergy, it was glass in the food or the store had blown you off. 
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Yvaine

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Re: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?
« Reply #41 on: December 17, 2012, 02:23:26 PM »
As long  you are polite about it, I think its fine to complain as many times as needed to get a satisfatory response.

Maybe that's the heart of the matter. OP, what would you consider a satisfactory response?

For me, a satisfactory response would be a rectification of the immediate issue (check!) and an assurance that there are procedures in place to prevent a recurrence (check!)

I agree. We can't call this a recurrence of the years-ago incident, really, since that happened at a completely different branch of the chain (i.e. different employees, different management).

Actually, the fact that it reoccurred at the same chain makes a complaint to corporate necessary because the problem is not simply one store.

Well, but I don't think this is a case of some systematic thing that they mess up all the time. It's human error popping up on a very rare basis in a couple of only slightly related places.

I used to have a running joke that every time I went to Wendy's, they messed up my order, no matter what Wendy's I went to. I'd go to a Wendy's in Illinois and not get cheese when ordered it, and then go to a Wendy's in Florida and get pickles when I didn't want them. But really, it was just dumb luck. There's nothing intrinsic to Wendy's that makes them any more likely to botch your order than McD's or Burger King. There was no incompetent person that all of those Wendy's locations had in common. I seriously doubt there was some huge flaw in their register setup or anything like that (though I suppose it's an outside possibility). It was just luck and coincidence. And in fact my luck straightened itself out and I haven't had a wrong order at Wendy's in years.

DottyG

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Re: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?
« Reply #42 on: December 17, 2012, 02:24:01 PM »
Quote
Actually, the fact that it reoccurred at the same chain makes a complaint to corporate necessary because the problem is not simply one store.

And she did.  That's what the second complaint did.  If she now writes a letter or makes a phone call, it's getting into the "I understand already.  We've gotten your complaint, we're discussing it with the corporate bigwigs, we're going to put something into place, we'll fix this.  But your constant contacting us is not doing anything constructive at this point" territory.

She's complained twice now - locally and then through the corporate method that they've set up.  A third or fourth time is not going to do anything except dilute what she's already done.

rose red

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Re: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?
« Reply #43 on: December 17, 2012, 02:26:23 PM »
I agree addressing the issue twice (once at the time, and then follow up emal) is perfect.  A third time will make them wonder what the heck you are after. 

I know if I made a mistake, I would not forget it.  Years ago, I made a mistake and was corrected.  I never forgot it and was extra careful whenever that same situation come up.  If the customer had kept complaining, I would feel she's trying to get me fired and not likely to go the extra mile for her in the future.

You either trust they learned their lesson or you don't.  Remind them to please check the food the next time you buy from them.  Or never buy from them again. 

DavidH

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Re: How to word complaint? Is it even worth it?
« Reply #44 on: December 17, 2012, 02:30:31 PM »
For many patrons, a satisfactory response would be what has already been done, an apology, and a new one provided

A once in 2-years occurrence, and not even once in two years at the same store is just not an unreasonable complaint rate in my mind, but it's hard to call this a regular occurence. 

I would have stopped with the complaint in the store, but I don't have an issue with sending an email as well.  A third complaint seems over the top to me.  Saying that you were emotionally not okay since you had a piece of bacon in your mouth which you promptly spit out is likely to make you seem overly dramatic and not lead to a productive conversation. 

If you feel the need to send a third complaint, then you really should specify what you want to have happen or there is little chance they will be able to resolve this to your satisfaction.