Exercise: Answering A Customer Complaint Letter
Below is a complaint letter. Consider the type of customer, the service experience, and the impact of the situation.
1. In this letter, list all of the red flags.
2. As the owner, compose a letter of apology. Take any actions you believe most appropriate.
October 1, 2011
Mary and James Swanson
The Jan House on John’s Pond
Covington, New Hampshire
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Swanson:
This is the first time that I have ever written a letter like this. We are so upset that we felt compelled to let you know of our recent experience. We had dinner reservations at the Jan House for a party of six under my wife’s name, Dr. Harrigan, for Saturday evening, October 1, 2011. We were hosting my wife’s sister and her husband visiting from New York. We were promptly seated according to our reservations at 6:00 pm in the dining room. The dining room was nearly empty with at least three-quarters of the tables unseated. We were given menus, a wine list, water, rolls, and butter. We then sat for nearly 20 minutes until the cocktail waitress asked us for our drink orders. I think that she was out back smoking, because she smelled of cigarettes. My sister-in-law said, after being asked “What else would you like,” “I’ll have a Grey Goose martini straight up with an olive”—a relatively standard drink. The cocktail waitress immediately responded, “I’m not a stenographer.” My sister-in-law politely repeated her drink order. There was no apology for the lateness. The dining room was quiet so we could hear the kitchen and bar area. We sat there for the next 10 minutes listening to our cocktail waitress tell the bartender about her broken-down car and her boyfriend troubles. By the end, we felt as if we knew her life story. It was troubling to listen to, and she should have been tending to our drinks! Finally, our waiter arrived, informing us of the specials for the evening. I do not remember his name, but he had blonde hair, wore glasses, and had his sleeves rolled up, displaying tattooed arms. Our drinks still had not arrived, so I asked about them and he said that he would check into it. He immediately left to check on the drinks. It was so quiet that we heard him ask about the drink order, and a small argument erupted between the cocktail waitress and our waiter. We could hear the whole thing! He returned promptly with our drinks. He acted concerned but was unaware that we heard the entire dispute. We then requested appetizers so that we could get started with the meal. He politely informed us that he could not order appetizers without ordering our entrees and dessert at the same time since it was a prix-fixe meal. We felt placed on the spot, so we decided to order everything. When the waiter asked my wife for her order, he addressed her as “Dear.” When he served her the meal, he also called her sister “Dear.” They did not appreciate this term. Chapter 3 – Lecture 6 TT 614 – Feb. 19, 2021 Mohamed Abdel Aziz At of 7:00, we requested that our salads be brought to us as soon as possible. I then asked an assistant to bring us more rolls as each of us had been served one when we were seated. His response was “Who wants a roll?” Caught off guard, we went around the table saying yes or no so that he would know exactly how many “extra” rolls to bring to our table. It seems as if rolls should automatically be refilled at an establishment such as yours. Our salads were finally served at 7:15. At 7:45, we asked about our entrees. They were served at 8:00. This was 2 hours after we were seated in a restaurant that was three quarters empty. I must also add that we had to make constant requests for water refills and a butter replacement. The food was excellent, and the property is delightful. Despite all of this, our dinner was a complete disaster. We were extremely upset and insulted with our experience at the Jan House. Your staff is not well trained and very unprofessional. We will not likely return to the Jan House. Also know that we will share our experiences with friends and business associates.
Dr. E. Harrigan
10 Main Street