Sunday, September 26, 2010

How to lose 2 customers forever...

As you guys know, customer service is a huge part of what I do online. I pride myself in being able to turn around a volatile situation, always keeping in mind that the customer is always right, even when I know they aren't.

Last week I went to dinner with BFF @TwittyWoman and the guys. We went to a local restaurant (which, after much deliberation I have decided not to mention -- although if you follow me on 4sq...). Lets call it TR for That Restaurant. I don't frequent the restaurant much because years ago we had an incident there. We were out to dinner with another of our BFF couples and in the midst of a really good time, the appetizers were brought to the table and my husband immediately turned his away.  The 3 of us looked at each other, perplexed, as we watched him adamantly insisting that the waitress take away his appetizer. When asked what was wrong, he pointed out that there was a big huge ROACH in his dish. As grossed out as we were, my husband insisted that we didn't have to leave - and that it happens and we were sure that management would apologize. Dinner came and went  -- we even  ordered dessert and then asked for the check.  We dawdled expecting the manager at any time to offer us an after dinner drink, something in appreciation of us not making a big stink about the cockroach.  NADA. Okay, lets see if they comped us drinks, a dish -- anything.  Again, nothing. We were really shocked that they could be so silly as to not even mention the incident. We still didn't make a big deal, we just made the decision to stay away, and away we did for a couple of years.

Fast forward last month when my hubby had to meet a client. The client suggests TR as a meeting place and he says fine. The restaurant was closed for a private party, and the manager gave my husband a $20 gift certificate for his inconvenience.

Fast forward again to last week. BFF texts to say, "How about TR at 7:30."  I type out, "J will never go to TR" but before sending it, text J instead to tell him about proposed venue. I am surprised to see him answer, "TR is fine." "Perfect" I text the BFF. We start out at the bar and we have a drink and we only wait about 15 minutes past our reservation before we are taken to the table.  We're ready for another round of drinks so we order 3 glasses of wine. 10, 15, 20 minutes and the waitress finally comes over to tell us that our wine will be there "shortly" but they have run out of clean glasses.  We laugh at the absurdity of it. Another 10 minutes before we get our wine and our dinner. Thank goodness the dinner was good because the service was slow and slower. Each time our waitress came she seemed to give us less and less attention.

The bill comes and we put in the $20 gift certificate that we had along with $130 that was our part of the check. We joked about the waitress being able to figure everything out. When she comes back with the receipt to sign she tells us that only $9.00 could be used and only for one of the sushi dishes we ordered because it was only for sushi and the least expensive one at that. I was confused. Three of us had sushi, couldn't we use $18 of it if that were the case?  We look at the certificate again and surely it says $20 Gift Certificate with some really small writing on the other side that could only be read with a magnifying glass. This coupled with the really bad service is making me kind of mad.

The guys leave, but TW and I decide to stay and try to make things right. I want some satisfaction. We talk to the hostess who tells us there really is nothing she can do except get the manager on duty. Out walks this guy, and you know when you can tell someone is already on the defensive? I proceed to explain the gift certificate and how hubby got it and how I am only getting $9 out of a $20 gc. He says, "Well at least you are getting something."  And yes, I am -- but that's not what the certificate says! He goes on to say, it's not really a certificate, but a promotion to get people to try to the sushi. Well, okay, but 3 of us had sushi. so why not use the entire certificate? He can't really give us a reason except to say basically, "It is what it is." I say to him, "I'm in customer service and it's really not about the money, it's about the principal of it all." Look buddy, just say you're sorry, there's nothing more you can do -- but he never does apologize. What he says is, "It's not our fault we were closed, and goes on to tell me something that I know for a fact wasn't the truth, that my husband had to have gotten it on March.  NO -- he got it just a few months ago... my point to him is that why give it out at all? My husband didn't ask for it! I tell him that for a measly $10 he could have made a good faith gesture and we would have come back.  Instead, he is losing two customers FOREVER.

TW now tells him that her husband always has his Christmas party there and surely, he doesn't want to lost that!  Apparently he doesn't care about that either.  I tell him that I write a blog, Magnanimous Musings of Lu -- he should look it up because I will be blogging about this. He is unimpressed. And I am unimpressed with him.

SO... after even more deliberation, I think it's only right that I tell you that this is a restaurant in Smithtown... on West Main Street.... and they serve sushi, but they aren't a sushi restaurant but a seafood restaurant... and their name? Well it's the chemical equation for WATER.

BTW -- TW went back there to talk to the manager since her husband really does have his Christmas party there. She spoke with another manager, explained everything and said, "You know, really all my friends want is an apology."  Never once was she asked for our name, her name or any phone numbers and she never wrote anything down.  Needless to say they are looking for someplace else to party!


  1. We had the same experience there. After waiting for over an 90 minutes for our entree I insisted we leave. They tried to charge me for the one drink we had and the bread. Needless to say I made a fuss and finally a manager came out and said not to worry about it and he was sorry. I believe he only did that because I was making a fuss out front where people were waiting to get in. We haven't been back since. I guess we made the right decision after reading your post.

  2. Lu, I can't tell you how this story just irks me. I've never been to this place, and based on this post, I will never go. This restaurant does not understand the simple fact that it is a business and relies on customers. Take care of the customers and they will take care of you.

    Thanks for the heads up.


  3. Love the story but even in good old Ireland this kinda stuff happens a lot. love your attitude.