Author Topic: Write, don't write? Which would you choose?  (Read 2314 times)

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VltGrantham

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Write, don't write? Which would you choose?
« on: January 14, 2013, 12:48:31 PM »
There is a company that we have a long-standing relationship with that I use for party rentals, etc.  I'm usually very happy with their service, but this past holiday season I was not.

When I returned the merchandise, I spoke to the sales clerk/receptionist about the issues I had.  Part of it was most definitely our fault.  While I normally check the items, I didn't this time because I was very ill, DH was working incredible hours, and we both relied on them to give us excellent service like they had in the past.   I was careful to say that I had always been pleased with their service in the past, but wasn't happy with this at all.  In addition, there was a major bru-ha-ha trying to pick up the order because they still have not updated our records with our current address or fixed our name.  (This is ironic because the owner is VERY PICKY about their company name!)  However, when trying to explain this to the company rep, I kept getting interrupted.  She brusquely excused herself and then came back to tell me that they'd be refunding 50% of our rental price--which was great, don't get me wrong, but the way she handled it was extremely rude.  She is not the rep I normally deal with, she's new.

She then went on to say how "everyone loves that particular style of flat-ware" and that "everybody covers their tables with linens" but I didn't want to be putting my grandmother's antique linens on a table that I was afraid would damage them and the couple who returned their items just prior to us unloaded two, brand-new, light plastic banquet tables (at the same price), while ours were obviously years old and very worn.  It just seemed like most of the equipment we had gotten was extremely sub-par (especially for them) and that she was put out we had the nerve to complain.

We only rent from them once a year and definitely aren't their biggest customer by far.  But I'm wondering if I should write the owner and let him know of our experience, both with the items and the sales rep or just let it go and check over the stuff carefully next year?  Or maybe simply find someone else?

m2kbug

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Re: Write, don't write? Which would you choose?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 01:03:15 PM »
I don't know that I would bother writing a letter over this.  I would call, though, and make sure name and address were corrected.  Next year, double check the condition of the table.  While the representative was brusk, they did try to remedy the situation by giving you a discount.  Hopefully she is not always this way.  If so, when you call again, you can speak to management.  You know this company is very precise about the care of its customers and quality, and I would probably use them again next year. 

lowspark

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Re: Write, don't write? Which would you choose?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 02:01:36 PM »
If you feel like the owner is conscientious enough to actually take the feedback to heart, then I say contact him. Phone call might be better just so you can have an actual conversation which is much more personal than a letter, but if you're like me, sometimes it helps to put what I want to say in writing simply so that I have plenty of time to think it through and not leave anything out.

If you think the owner is just going to brush you off and say, Look, you got a discount, what more do you want? or something like that, then I wouldn't bother.

Especially as it was the holiday season, it is somewhat forgivable if the service wasn't up to par. Not that the season makes it ok, just that it makes it understandable in light of the fact that you have received good service in the past. Which is why I'd tell the owner if I felt like he'd want to hear it. Everyone messes up sometimes, and this kind of feedback should be important to a business if they want to keep their customers happy.

bopper

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Re: Write, don't write? Which would you choose?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2013, 02:16:02 PM »
I would write.

Start off much like you did and use this basic framework.  Leave out the stuff that you were sick and any excuses.


I have used your company for x years and am a loyal customer and have recommended them to friends/customers/family/businesses.
Usually your services are so awesome, so I was so surprised when...
...include what went wrong...
...how they gave you 50% off....
...you are not asking for anything in addition, but continue to want to shop there so wanted to let them know what happened so they can correct X, Y and Z.


AnnaJ

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Re: Write, don't write? Which would you choose?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2013, 02:21:38 PM »
Before you write, ask yourself what you are hoping to accomplish with your letter.  Since you already received a large discount, it would really be to tell the owner how the employee spoke to you in the hopes that the owner would correct the employee; so, do you think that would happen?  If so, and you really think that it's important, you should write.

I would likely just make sure my contact info is correct and check more carefully next year.  As for changing companies...why?  This is the first time you've had a problem and the employee immediately applied a discount when you complained about the quality of the items - better than average service IMO. 

oceanus

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Re: Write, don't write? Which would you choose?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2013, 02:31:20 PM »
I don't know that I would bother writing a letter over this.  I would call, though, and make sure name and address were corrected.  Next year, double check the condition of the table.  While the representative was brusk, they did try to remedy the situation by giving you a discount.  Hopefully she is not always this way.  If so, when you call again, you can speak to management.  You know this company is very precise about the care of its customers and quality, and I would probably use them again next year.

This.

Although I often write a letter (if I feel it's warranted), I wouldn't take it any further.  You were given a nice discount, and since you only use them once a year I'd put it behind me and hope things will return to normal.

VltGrantham

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Re: Write, don't write? Which would you choose?
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2013, 10:39:23 AM »
There are a couple of reasons why I wanted to write:

~The linens we got from them (basic stuff for the buffet tables) and the chair covers had been washed in some extremely strong fruity smelling detergent (which I couldn't tell until I had removed them from their zipper bag).  I don't know if this is a new trend or what, but the smell was overpowering.  I ended up making our small bathroom into a kind of steam room by filling the tub with extremely hot water and an entire jug of white vinegar to get the smell out.  Fortunately it worked, but I had to do it a couple of times.  The scent was giving me a migraine and would have driven DH's Grandfather into an asthma attack.  I have never noticed an odor with the linens before and this was really bad--especially when you're using something like this around food.

~The general condition of all the equipment was extremely poor.  I mean, just bad.  The silverware was pitted and in worse shape than the stuff we use at church which is well over 60 years old now.  The salt & pepper shakers were all mis-matched and most had dented tops that defied your being able to get anything out of them.  I could go on and on, but it just wasn't good. 

~The issue with our address/name is one we've asked them repeatedly to clean up because it causes issues whenever we pick up any equipment.  I understand we're infrequent customers, but it causes an issue every year and every year (for the past almost 20 now) we've asked them to fix it to no avail.

~The sales clerk/receptionist was REALLY snotty and condescending.  If she had even remotely acted like she cared or really wanted to fix the problem, that would have been one thing--but I got the impression she didn't want to listen because there was a couple behind us who were waiting to have an appointment for their upcoming wedding.  And I did try to be very nice "Your service has always been great, but I need to let you know how disappointed I was this last time, etc."  Once she came back, she really laid into us as though our concerns were just ridiculous and made a lot of really snide commentary that was completely unnecessary.  The way in which she handled it was very rude, even though we did get a large discount.

To be honest, I didn't want the discount in the first place.  What I really wanted was someone to listen and take my concerns to heart--especially in light of the fact that one of the issues is one we've asked them to correct for years now, not offer me money just to get me to shut up.

TootsNYC

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Re: Write, don't write? Which would you choose?
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 03:44:49 PM »
I think I might write.

And say, "The reason I am telling you this is so that you can have the info you need to bring your company back to the level of extremely high quality that we've enjoyed in the past. I know you care about your reputation, and I have enjoyed being a beneficiary of that."

Also, I think you want to write because you think that this employee, who brushed you off, isn't going to pay any attention to the specifics of your complaint, nor will she pass the info on to people who can actually do anything about on the company's behalf. At least, this is what you believe, based on how much attention she paid to anything you said.

So say that--say, "your employee was quick to offer me a 50% discount, but I feel that she won't give you the info you need to improve your business."


And for next year, you can call and see if they've corrected your name and address midyear. If they haven't, go looking for another company.

m2kbug

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Re: Write, don't write? Which would you choose?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 02:26:00 AM »
Okay, there's some extra details...because a brusque encounter once and less than par table, which you admit you didn't check (though you probably shouldn't have had to), and a 50% discount to compensate, to me, did not warrant a letter.

Your additional details are letter-worthy, and letters do carry some power.  I echo TootsNYC's suggestions.  I'm more of a phone call to management kind of person, but have written the letter

And really, TWENTY years??


lowspark

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Re: Write, don't write? Which would you choose?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 02:37:39 PM »
I think I might write.

And say, "The reason I am telling you this is so that you can have the info you need to bring your company back to the level of extremely high quality that we've enjoyed in the past. I know you care about your reputation, and I have enjoyed being a beneficiary of that."

Also, I think you want to write because you think that this employee, who brushed you off, isn't going to pay any attention to the specifics of your complaint, nor will she pass the info on to people who can actually do anything about on the company's behalf. At least, this is what you believe, based on how much attention she paid to anything you said.

So say that--say, "your employee was quick to offer me a 50% discount, but I feel that she won't give you the info you need to improve your business."


And for next year, you can call and see if they've corrected your name and address midyear. If they haven't, go looking for another company.

Excellent wording!

jpcher

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Re: Write, don't write? Which would you choose?
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 07:52:35 PM »
If you plan on using them again, I would write. (Personally? Next year I'd go somewhere else.)

Mostly because of the linen situation. Ask them if this is the new "norm" and is it possible for you to get linen's without the added scent (explain DH's GF's asthma and what you did to remove the scent) This, alone, would make me an absolute no-return customer.

I do like Toots' wording: ""The reason I am telling you this is so that you can have the info you need to bring your company back to the level of extremely high quality that we've enjoyed in the past. I know you care about your reputation, and I have enjoyed being a beneficiary of that."



After 20 years, has the quality of rental materials been slowly declining?

VltGrantham

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Re: Write, don't write? Which would you choose?
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2013, 11:03:16 AM »
Quote
After 20 years, has the quality of rental materials been slowly declining?

No, that's what made this so utterly shocking.  They've been super nice in the past and the yearly issue with the name/address mix-up has been the biggest headache, but they've always apologized profusely.

This year, the sales rep is new and she acted like she was doing us a favor the entire time and that she was simply put out by everything we asked.  I should have checked the equipment before I left, I normally do anyway, despite the fact that it's always been good but I was feeling wretched and just counted on it to be right.

After I figured it out, it was simply too late to do anything about it other than what I did.  I ended up using our own stainless steel and simply went out and purchased another set of ours (we now have service for 24!) to use.

I wrote the letter using the wording suggested by a couple of the posters here.  We'll see what, if anything, comes of it.

Zilla

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Re: Write, don't write? Which would you choose?
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2013, 12:02:19 PM »
There are a couple of reasons why I wanted to write:

~The linens we got from them (basic stuff for the buffet tables) and the chair covers had been washed in some extremely strong fruity smelling detergent (which I couldn't tell until I had removed them from their zipper bag).  I don't know if this is a new trend or what, but the smell was overpowering.  I ended up making our small bathroom into a kind of steam room by filling the tub with extremely hot water and an entire jug of white vinegar to get the smell out.  Fortunately it worked, but I had to do it a couple of times.  The scent was giving me a migraine and would have driven DH's Grandfather into an asthma attack.  I have never noticed an odor with the linens before and this was really bad--especially when you're using something like this around food.

~The general condition of all the equipment was extremely poor.  I mean, just bad.  The silverware was pitted and in worse shape than the stuff we use at church which is well over 60 years old now.  The salt & pepper shakers were all mis-matched and most had dented tops that defied your being able to get anything out of them.  I could go on and on, but it just wasn't good. 

~The issue with our address/name is one we've asked them repeatedly to clean up because it causes issues whenever we pick up any equipment.  I understand we're infrequent customers, but it causes an issue every year and every year (for the past almost 20 now) we've asked them to fix it to no avail.

~The sales clerk/receptionist was REALLY snotty and condescending.  If she had even remotely acted like she cared or really wanted to fix the problem, that would have been one thing--but I got the impression she didn't want to listen because there was a couple behind us who were waiting to have an appointment for their upcoming wedding.  And I did try to be very nice "Your service has always been great, but I need to let you know how disappointed I was this last time, etc."  Once she came back, she really laid into us as though our concerns were just ridiculous and made a lot of really snide commentary that was completely unnecessary.  The way in which she handled it was very rude, even though we did get a large discount.

To be honest, I didn't want the discount in the first place.  What I really wanted was someone to listen and take my concerns to heart--especially in light of the fact that one of the issues is one we've asked them to correct for years now, not offer me money just to get me to shut up.
It sounds like miscommunication.
1.   I would ask them next time to use unscented laundry soap. (now that they seem to use fruity scents)
2.  Be specific that you would like the lightweight plastic tables.  They may default to the older ones unless specified. New flatware and undented salt/pepper shakers. 
3.  You can ask them on the spot to correct your customer record.  If it isn't correct on your invoice, don't leave until they correct it right there on the computer/file etc. 
As for writing a letter, I would for number 2.  The salt/pepper shakers should function and not be mismatched.  The flatware should be straight and also functioning.