I always write about crappy customer service I think it is only fair that I write about good ones too.
THE C. CLUB, PAVILLION
I was having dinner with a couple of friends. We had reservations and had specifically asked for a smoking table. When we arrived, we were promptly shown to our seat.There was an ashtray on the table and my friends, as expected of them, started puffing away. A few tables in front of us was this old guy with what was presumably his much much younger girlfriend. Yes, I am pretty sure it was the girlfriend and not his daughter, you don’t hold hands and sit THAT close to your daughter unless you are sick in the head.
Anyway, the gentleman started making exaggerated waving-the-cigaratte-smoke gestures at us, obviously expressing his displeasure. We looked at each other, and one of my friends held up the ashtray to show the gentleman that we were rightfully sitting in a smoking section so his drama was completely unnecessary. The gentleman then complained loudly to one of the waiters , who then came to our table and asked us to change tables.
Of course we were annoyed with the waiter’s request and thought he was being tactless. Why should we move? If the gentlemen was bothered by the smoke, then he should hightail his behind out of the smoking section. So we told the waiter firmly, no we will not move.
The gentleman complained again. A lot more loudly this time, with colourful swear words thrown in. The waiter came again to us, again we told him no and asked him to call his manager.
Shortly, the manager came. And this was how he handled the situation:
- He apologised profusely to us for the way his waiter addressed us over the smoking issue;
- He apologised again and admitted that they made a mistake and had seated us in the non-smoking section instead.
- When we pointed out that there was an ashtray on the table, he said there was no excuse for their mistake and offered to seat us by the window, and that our drinks would be on the house for all the trouble that they have put us through. And he apologized again.
We told him yes we would accept the free drinks but we did not want to move as our starters had arrived and we were the middle of it. So we decided to stop smoking for the duration of the dinner instead. Problem solved. Everybody happy.
One thing I learned though. Age or money doesn’t buy you any class. The gentleman who complained could have done it discreetly and gracefully rather than making a scene. You were eating at the Carat Club, for goodness sake. Have some class. I know that he wanted to show off his ‘power’ to the girlfriend, but you know what? He came off like an old, desperate jerk whose charms come in the form of dollar bills. Trust me, the girl wasn’t there for his good looks or wonderful manners since he was obviously lacking in both.
I still think Carat Club could have handled the situation better and the waiter should have NEVER been allowed to approach us the way he did; but the manager made up for it. H etook the chance to show what he was made of and what the C Club is all about, in a respectful manner. That’s all you are asking for from any service staff. Some respect and manners. I would have sacked the waiter and kicked the complaining customer out though. Both of them ruined the image of the place and the experience for us. I haven’t been to the C Club since.
COFFEE BEAN, BANGSAR VILLAGE II
It was a lazy Friday morning. Wade and I went to have breakfast in La Bodega and then decided to follow that up with coffee next door at the Coffee Bean in Bangsar Village II.
We walked up to the counter, still happily chatting and catching up. There was only one customer in front of me, a middle-aged tourist I believe, and her two friends. The manager was manning the till, while a barrista was busy behind the counter preparing coffee for these ladies. For the purpose of this post, let’s call the lady Miss Abu.
Miss Abu waved her coffee bean card and insisted that the manager honour the points in the card. The manager politely explained to Miss Abu that they do not accept the card as it was not issued in Malaysia, but he could convert the points into cash and deduct the ladies’ purchase from there, or something like that, it was not like I was paying great attention to what was going on or eavesdropping on the converstion or something. Miss Abu then complained loudly in her heavy accent yadda yadda yadda, and then she scrutinized her bill, and said that the calculation was wrong by 30 sen. By then, a good 10mins had passed and two or three more customers had entered the shop and queued behind me.
The manager, keeping his cool, apologised to Miss Abu and asked for her receipt and redemption card again so that he could recalculate the rebate. I was just about to tell Wade to leave and go to Starbucks next door instead, when the barrista came to us, without any prodding or eye/hand signals from the manager, and asked us what would we like to order. We told him what we wanted and he prepared the drinks. Unfortunately the manager was still attending the fat, loud and obnoxious Miss Abu who was unhappy over the 30 sen issue (I believe he resolved it by eventually giving her 30sen).
So, the barrista then walked to the second till, opened it and waved us to the new line and completed our transaction. And he did all this with a smile, without being told to by his manager at all. He saw a situation and he resolved it. I was very impressed and could not stop raving about it. I regret not getting his name or I would have mentioned it in here, but the kind of pride and dedication he puts into his job, though to some people it is just a menial work preparing coffee for other people, is examplary. There is no job too small. He was the living proof of it. No matter what he does, or where he goes next, I am sure he will do well. You can’t teach that kind of thing.