Bad customer service

Customer Service. It’s something we all deserve and respect. After all, we pay for it.

When we have a problem with our electric or gas, we call the utility provider, that we pay every month, and we expect them to fix it.

Cell phone problem? We call or visit Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or the Apple Store, because we pay them every month and expect them to fix it.  (And they always try to upsell you with a new phone, but that’s beside the point).

And when we eat out, we hope for a pleasant dining experience and expect courteous service because, on top of the food prices, we leave a good tip.

But what should we do when the customer service is bad, or there’s none at all?  What are our options?

We can ask to see a manager, of course, but sometimes the manager is not empathetic to our problem.  And sometimes the manager IS the problem.

We can speak directly to the person that is providing poor service and let them know that they are not providing the level of service that is expected or we can leave without tipping.

We can also write a letter to the establishment, or a review on their website, hoping that someone in charge will read it and counsel the employee on their behavior.

Or, we can just leave it alone.

This week I’ve encountered poor customer service at a party supply store, a restaurant and a bakery and, in an attempt to show compassion, did not complain to management or write a bad review.  I  decided to go with the belief that these folks may have had a bad day or a busy one.  Or perhaps they were going through a personal crisis that no one could know like a heartbreak or a bad medical diagnosis.

But I must admit, I’ve struggled with that decision because it may just be that they’re constantly rude and need correction. And how will they get it if no one complains about their service? How will they get better?

Then the other side of me says “But what if your complaint is their third strike and they’re fired?  You would be affecting their livelihood.  What if they have a family to support?”

So, the question of the day is…Do the individuals who provide bad customer service deserve a second chance as much as we deserve good customer service?

This week I’m going with “yes,” because we all deserve second chances and, unlike the cost we pay for good service, forgiveness is free.

That’s not to say I tolerate bad customer service. I really dislike it. In fact, outright rudeness and downright dirty conditions have prompted me to write some strong reviews and resulted in unsolicited free food, gift cards and hotel rooms from the companies that provided the bad service. But I’d like to know what you think readers…Forgive always and never complain, forgive based on the offense or complain always?

What do you do?

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