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Restaurant surveys and the like

j
joe777cool Mar 16, 2011 05:34 PM

I work for a company where some checks generate a survey where they ask you all sort of questions about your dining experience. I have now had a customer give my restaurant 2 bad surveys, each time identifying me by name, because I would not give them a senior discount. I clearly explained that this was a corporate policy, not my decision, but apparently that isnt good enough. They were literally trying to get me in trouble over a miniscule amount of money! I cant even put into words how disgusting of an act this is...

Am I out of line for feeling wronged? I just feel that it would take something of much more significance to give someone a bad survey, and it would have to be really bad for me to say something that could potentially get them fired! How do you fill out these types of surveys? Would you ever anonymously say something that could potentially get someone in trouble? Have you ever had anything like this happen to you?

  1. TheHuntress Mar 16, 2011 08:33 PM

    I don't think you are out of line for feeling wronged - if they came once and discovered you don't offer a senior discount (and if it really is that important to them) then they shouldn't have returned. Or they could have stated on their survery that while they enjoyed their experience (or whatever it is they felt about it) they would be more likely to return if the restaurant offered senior discount.

    When filling out surveys I would never actively identify a single person within an establishment if what I said could get them into trouble. If something had occured that I believed needed serious attention I would complain directly to the management, identify myself, state the problem and suggest what I think could be done to improve the situation (ie. extremely poor customer service - offer customer service training). You don't always know the individual situation of any person and I am loathe to get people into trouble just for the sake of it. However I do believe compliments are not offered often enough and if someone shines for me within a service setting I will identify them and state what they did to make my occasion special. I'm more of a feel good person, rather than a s*** stirrer.

    The only thing I can possibly suggest you do from now on is that if these people come in again (though if it means that much to them I am wondering why they still choose to return) is that refer them to senior management or head office so they can discuss the policy and their issues with it. At least then you're seen as doing something and you can show it really is out of your hands

    It's obvious you care a lot about your career and maintaining high standards from your previous posts on CH. I'm sorry this has happened to you and I hope it gets resolved positively.

    1 Reply
    1. re: TheHuntress
      im_nomad Mar 17, 2011 10:13 PM

      re: not identifying a person, sometimes that is done for you on surveys as the servers name is on the receipt which directs you to the survey, and therefore their name is linked to anything. So if a comment was made in that area it would go to a specific person anyway, I'd assume.

    2. KaimukiMan Mar 16, 2011 08:56 PM

      1) aside from dealing with the customer, please make sure you have cleared this up with management. you don't want a black mark on your record for something like this.

      2) review it in your mind, try to figure out if there is any way you could have handled the situation better. Could you have talk to someone else with authority... even if you know the answer, or offer to have someone from management contact them. Defuse the you personally against them personally situation. I have no doubt you were polite and professional. But sometimes bringing in the second string to back you up on the spot is very persuasive.

      3) Accept that some people just aren't happy unless they are making trouble for someone else. But in your business, I am sure you already know that.

      4) Your feelings are very much justified, you are not out of line. Some people are just ornery. Minimize any damage and then stop putting energy into this. You have better, much better, things to do than giving them any power over your life.

      1. h
        Harters Mar 17, 2011 06:34 AM

        Some places I go, offer a comments card asking customers to rate how the meal was. I never complete them. But, if I did complete a survey, I would complete it fully and accurately.

        Do I care if a negative comment "got someone in trouble"? No, I dont.

        Do I care if a positive comment helps someone get a promotion or pay rise. No, I don't.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Harters
          ttoommyy Mar 17, 2011 09:09 AM

          "Do I care if a negative comment "got someone in trouble"? No, I dont. "

          Really? In the OP's case as well? In which he/she is being negatively judged for sticking to a corporate policy? Hmmmmm.

          1. re: ttoommyy
            d
            dump123456789 Mar 17, 2011 10:18 AM

            Harters is saying she wouldn't care if her justified and honest negative comment got someone in trouble. That wasn't the case in joe's original situation.

            1. re: dump123456789
              ttoommyy Mar 17, 2011 11:19 AM

              Got it. Sorry Harters.

              1. re: dump123456789
                h
                Harters Mar 17, 2011 11:26 AM

                Correct, dump. Except for the reference to "her" and "she" :-0

                By the by, being judged negatively by a customer for sticking to company policy is not going to get someone in trouble with the company.

            2. re: Harters
              im_nomad Mar 17, 2011 10:16 PM

              On a related point, if surveys exist, they are not there just to gather positive information aka take the good with the bad. Not fun, but reality.

            3. b
              bobbert Mar 17, 2011 10:12 AM

              You should only feel wronged if the customer lies about you or... if your management uses a comment about their own policy to somehow punish you. Every server should be getting similar comments unless you are the senior citizen specialist. If your management punishes you for their own policy, you should look for a new place to work. It would be like you gettiing fired because a customer saiid they did not like the color of the walls.

              1. j
                joe777cool Mar 17, 2011 10:45 AM

                I followed the policy, and will not be in trouble in any way. I just think it is a SCUMBAG move to try and get a person in trouble over a 10% discount. The discount is the flashpoint this time, but there are many other things that people will blow way out of proportion. Another example is of a guest who was beside himself because our restaurnat charges (50 cents I believe) for extra sauce on pasta, and decided to take his anger and frustration out on ME. I explained to him it was the policy, that I did not make these decisions, and that I was simply doing my job the way my bosses ask me to do - but that wasnt enough. It was my fault. Cant win sometimes!

                1. m
                  Maggie Larkin Mar 17, 2011 11:51 AM

                  you have every reason to be upset, i would be too. hopefully wherever it is that you worked, back you up. i know the saying that the customer is always right, but that is often abused. one night out, i watched as the table next to me complained about everything they could & you could TELL they were simply trying to get a free meal.

                  i will fill out surveys on rare occassions. id rather tell the owner/management directly if there is something i need to share. i also take the time to tell a restaurant how great the service is, because i feel that ppl only complain & when everything is good they dont go out of their way to appreciate it

                  1. CindyJ Mar 17, 2011 02:56 PM

                    The problem inherent in that type of "survey" (and I use the term loosely because it's not a legitimate survey) is that the people who are most likely to respond are those who have something negative to report. Folks who have had an experience that was pretty much what they expected, or even better than expected, are far less likely to fill it out. In the end, the results are almost always negatively skewed and very misleading.

                    In this particular instance, I think you take the complaint with the proverbial grain of salt. Complaining about not receiving something that was never offered them is ridiculous. I don't even understand why you think you'd get into trouble for it.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: CindyJ
                      h
                      Harters Mar 18, 2011 03:22 AM

                      "(and I use the term loosely because it's not a legitimate survey)"

                      Agreed. On the rare occasions when I've filled in a comments card survey, your email address or phone number is usually requested. And, lo & behold, you find yourself on their marketing list.

                      1. re: Harters
                        bagelman01 Mar 18, 2011 04:50 PM

                        Harters,
                        That is what junk throwaway email addresses are for, or simply make a mistake in your email address and you'll never be disturbed, the email will just circle cyberspace...................

                    2. im_nomad Mar 17, 2011 10:28 PM

                      Out of curiosity, how were you informed of what these customers had to say ?

                      I think you may have the right to feel miffed about this, but with due respect, I think you are coming across as a bit overheated about it (the calling people out as "scumbags" below isn't helping).

                      Also, unless the diners specifically called for your job, you may be reading a bit too much into their intentions. And realistically, it is your company that is setting up these surveys, which are meant to collect the good and bad information - they are giving the customer a place to voice their opinion.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: im_nomad
                        j
                        joe777cool Mar 18, 2011 06:11 PM

                        the surveys are anonymous, but from the info they wrote and the day/approx time I knew exactly who it was. I didnt directly call these customers scumbags, and yes I was/am pissed, I take my job very seriously and these people knew it was a company policy and still complained about me. They dont know if I or another person would get in trouble or not. If they had simply said they think they are entitled to a discount, or that they disagree with the policy, that would be one thing - but that isnt what they did. They singled me out like I had personally wronged them.

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