I am putting this entry up- as requests have been made for me to put it up to show the format of my written grievance to a particular restaurant I had frequented recently. A number of people have asked "WHY BOTHER" to make any complaints, as the level of the customer service in Malaysia is already so bad.
Well, that's the point.
I respect myself as the customer. I know my rights, and I WILL exercise it. If everyone holds the viewpoint that complaining does not work, and "nobody does anything about it", it will remain as that- BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE.
Attached below is the the transcript of the email I had forwarded to this particular "upmarket" diner in Mid Valley, whom I shall not name- as they have been 'prompt enough' to provide an immediate response to my complaint.
The complaint was written on Sunday midnight (00:00 hours)- meaning Monday morning.
To: XXX Restaurant
It has been over a month ago, but I would like to comment on the quality of the food that was served to us.
My friend, HZ and I, CY had gone to the Mid Valley branch for afternoon tea one weekday in the month of September 2009. I can't remember which day it was, but our experience of the food there was just horribly bad that I do not think it should be left unsaid.
I had ordered a cappucino, where-as my friend had ordered an apple crumble, and a cold drink.
I was expecting smooth nice coffee as it was my experience of what cappucino is. The cappucino that I ordered did not taste anything like coffee. it tasted like watered down coffee, or worst, water which had a bit of coffee taste. I don't know which to call it.
It tasted even worst than my 2 in 1 cup of coffee sachets that I normally drink in the office. I have drunk good cups of expresso based coffee, and your cafe should be ashamed to serve and call this a "cappucino" and expect customers to pay RM8.00 for it. I would not even drink it if it was even given free. Instead, I had to order tea as a substitute.
For your information, I have done work experience as a barista-in-training in Sydney, and this is worst than their AUD2.00 side walk coffees.
My friend, HZ, had ordered apple crumble. When our order came, we were shocked to see that there were FLIES stuck between the apple crumble...!! I do not know what was happening in the kitchen, but to have this happen in bright day light of the afternoon, I would like to know exactly what the kitchen staff were doing when they were serving the food.
My friend was obviously not too pleased, and had to return the dish to the kitchen and order another dish on top of it.
When our bill came, we paid the FULL PRICE for our order, and we did not have our meal for free. I am writing this, as I was not satisfied with the quality, and I would expect that your Management look into this matter, so that this would not happen again in future.
The reply that came swiftly at 18:00 hours of the same day.
The reply is not exactly to my expectations, so I am thinking of a response to it.Dear Ms CY,
Noted with the comment and I will do my investigation about this case.As per standard, we serve the cappuccino with “Double Espresso” and top up hot with milk & foam.And it should not taste like water.I already spoke to my “Bar tander” about this & warned them to make sure the quality must always as a standard. I’m really sorry for what was happen for your visit to our café at Mid Valley.
In ligt of this, I would like to invite you to our café @ Mid Valley for having a dessert and also coffee or tea on the house and I will personally take care your table on that day.
Please do not hesitate to contact me before you coming for me to make a reservation and arrangement.
Thanks & Regards,XX Manager.
In writing a formal complaint letter- these are some guidelines.
1) Make sure you send it to the RIGHT person. and do not send it to just one person, but a few related individuals/departments of that same party/company.
Provide them a lead time to respond to your grievance- about 7-10 days maximum before deciding to contact them personally (and make a lot noise!).
2) If writing in English, make sure you use proper grammar, and do a spelling check before you send that letter. A well written, but strong letter will command more respect and faster response time from the other party.
3) Think about what you want to achieve when you write your case out. It's like debating in court.
State out your case, and what had exactly happened. The more information provided, the better. Only relevant information that makes your case stronger should be put in.
4) State out the reasons, and provide strong evidence why you feel you have been "mistreated".
5) Also, when possible, write out your own solution- from where the other party could meet your requirements. Either all of it, or halfway. Always provide more requirements, so that there is some room for leeway
Remember, you are your own negotiator. The other party will always want a solution that goes in their interest.
6) Structure & arrange your case in a manner that can be easily understood by the other party. It should not be confusing, that they have trouble understanding what your letter is trying to communicate.
7) As the last resort, if the other party FAILS to provide an adequate response, by all means threaten to post it on your blog and write to the Malay Mail. Nobody likes bad publicity, no matter how small.
There is a time to burn bridges, and there are some where relationships made could be beneficial.
8) NEVER GIVE UP- Persistency Pays in winning a case.
9) If following up by telephone-
Write down the name of the person you have spoken to, & when you made those calls.
Keep those details intact.
If it is an urgent matter, by all means call the party every three days, and raise your voice louder on the phone to let them know that you mean business (as well).
Then call them again every three days. and the next. and the following three days... and the next......