Oct 26, 2005

It Pays To Complain (Politely, Of Course)

I've already written about this once, but I wanted to reiterate it because it works: if you have a bad customer service experience, report it to the company.

I bring this up now, because it worked once again for me. Last month, we got together with Marc's family and ordered take-out from Grand Lux Cafe. I ordered a dessert (I know, I freely acknowledge that I shouldn't have) but it wasn't included with our food. Of course, we should have checked more carefully before leaving the restaurant, but there was a lot of food involved. Upon discovering that my dessert was missing, I called the restaurant to ask that the amount be credited back to the credit card that was used to pay for the food.

It took about 20 minutes and several calls to get through to a manager, who told me that she couldn't credit the card but would send me a gift certificate. I was pretty perplexed, because other, less well-established restaurants, have issued credits without complaint when the same thing has happened. But I gave her my address and waited. For a month.

I figured a month was long enough, so I went to the Grand Lux website, found the "Contact Us" form, and filled it out, explaining the situation. I included the name of the manager I had talked to, and expressed my disappointment, but without using harsh or offensive language. Today - less than a week after I sent that message - I received a call from the restaurant's general manager, who apologized earnestly, said he would send me a $25 gift certificate, and that I should call if I haven't received it in a week. (He also said that the manager I spoke to was misinformed and that she could have and should have credited the card.)

This time, I'm pretty confident the gift certificate will arrive. And that's why it pays to complain (politely).

(In case you're wondering, the dessert was $6.95 - with tax, that comes to $7.52. So they're giving me $17.48 for my trouble.)

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