Posted in Off Topic

"Customer Service, Who Cares?"

Adalah judul artikel yg ditulis oleh Kevin Dwyer tertanggal 30 September 2011 – aku membacanya di 4hoteliers website. Just when i was about to ramble on (again~) about poor service, i came across the article. So, i thought i might just read it so see what he’s got in store.

Intinya, dia juga kecewa dengan servis level yg diterimanya belakangan ini, di mana pelayan restoran/bar tak lagi peduli terhadap para pelanggan yg seharusnya menjadi tanggung jawabnya – tak ada inisiatif untuk mengisi gelas kosong, mengecek dan bertanya apakah mereka perlu suatu hal yg lain, dsb. (“it seems odd that I have to do the selling here.”) Bahkan mereka sepertinya tak lagi memiliki basic attitude of service. (Read the full article there.)

Lanjut ke ceritaku sendiri.

Setelah beberapa kali mengalami pengalaman kurang mengenakkan, aku berpikiran bahwa mungkin tak seharusnya aku berharap banyak dari Chinese resto. Aku juga tahu lah ya mana yg bisa diharepin dan mana yg engga – ga masuk akal juga kan kesel gara2 servis di warung pinggir jalan jelek? Bagiku, begitu tempat makan udah berbentuk restoran (ada gedung tetap yg tertutup), ekspektasiku sudah merangkak naik.

Ada satu tempat Chinese food di mana servers-nya selalu berhasil membuatku kesal. Ada juga tempat kwetiao yg selalu menyajikan order yg salah – bahkan ketika aku hanya memesan SATU makanan saja. Di beberapa restoran, menu makanan ditarik dari depan mataku tanpa tendeng aling2 apalagi permisi – i could only gave them hellish stare.

Tetapi, ternyata tak hanya Chinese resto yg servisnya terkadang berada di bawah harapan; beberapa restoran ternama pun demikian. Bahkan, seringkali aku menerima servis yg jauh lebih dan ramah dari rumah makan di pinggir jalan, yg tak ber-AC juga tak membebankan service charges.

The same question pops up: Why it always seems so hard to please me? Why is it that irritates me so much in the first place?

Easy. I’m there to eat – and i pay for it (well, my parents do most of the time, but still…). And when you’re hungry, your mood gets swingy doesn’t it? That means i might sometimes become the pain in the ass too. But as customers the employees’ paymaster, isn’t it the job of the frontliners to turn sour faces into smiles? They adding more nuisance onto the already painful ass irks me so much. Whenever this is the case, it relieves me so much that most of them don’t add service charges onto the bills – or maybe THAT is the reason behind their terrible servicetude.

(Dari mata kuliah Hotel Law yg kudapat saat kuliah, aku belajar banyak hal tentang hukum – tentunya! – termasuk tentang ‘aturan tidak tertulis’ yg dapat digunakan di industri servis. Salah satunya: kalau kita tidak puas dengan servis yg diberikan, pelanggan sebenarnya berhak menolak untuk membayar service charges. Tapi… rasanya hal ini – dan juga banyak hal lainnya yg kupelajari di mata kuliah itu – ga bisa diterapkan di negara kelahiranku ini.)

All in all, i don’t think i demand too much. I mean, if you’re uncomfortable serving people, why work in the service line in the service industry to begin with? It may be strange to many, but i don’t actually expect to receive a smile. A smile isn’t the parameter that works for me; it doesn’t matter when the servicetude isn’t there. I believe the most important element in customer service is eagerness to serve, followed by sincerity… then friendliness, replete with a winning smile. When a service person has mastered the first two elements, the last two seep in naturally.

So. There’s this eatery in South Jakarta* which used to be overly-crowded with patrons. Overtime – some say after renovation – it gradually loses its charm. We’re contemplating on what’s possibly wrong with it – the food is still nice – wherein the answer reveals itself: first, despite having many slacking staff, nobody opened the door for us. Neither did they greet us – let alone the smiling faces. Upon sitting down, we’re approached by this sulky i-don’t-wanna-do-this faced waiter who was the least eager to take our order.

We dined in in late September, yet on the tables stood displays of promotion items lasted until 31 December the previous year. Hah. Wonder why didn’t they put them away? I muttered it while checking the promotion period, but the waiter stood as still as a statue. Either he didn’t hear it or he simply couldn’t care less.

We placed our orders, and confirmed the ongoing promotion of 20% off with a certain credit-card company. Despite the almost-empty restaurant, it took forever for the food to be served we could’ve gotten gastric. Oh, that night was the day when the match between Liverpool and a club was held, and nearly all staff flocked the area before the fairly large flat-screened TV hanging on the wall – and yelped when the ball missed the net. (I supposed they’re there to work?) No one’s paying attention to the dining-in patrons.

Emptying our plates, we moved onto paying the bills. AND AGAIN it took forever for the bill to arrive. I could understand them taking time to serve food, but taking so long to get money?? Pure absurdity. My younger cousin ended up going back and forth to the cashier before the damn bill was out… and he said we couldn’t use the said credit card. I was fuming by then and stormed into the cashier myself – what happened!? Without apologizing, he – the cashier – said that the credit card machine broke down. Bah. It took so long before realizing your damn credit card machine was faulty, and none of the staff cared to come to our table and explain the matter? Excellent!

Oh yeah, the print-out bill still contained a misordered item, and when i pointed it out, they deducted the amount on the orders-paper, which looked like a bunch of mess with numerous strike-outs. I guess nobody would do that – so unprofessional! Is it that hard to reprint the bill to reflect the correct amount we should be paying? And if that’s the case, what’s the use of presenting us the print-out? Spare us from logging more complaints! Geez.

I still heard a voice thanking us upon exiting, fortunately, or i’d be a lot harsher than this. No wonder the number of customers is dwindling down. It deserves it with that kind of service. The decor and ambience are nice, though.

***

It’s Good food vs. Good service battle here.

Which would you prefer between the two if the other factor is missing? It’s definitely out of question if both are (or none is) present, but if it’s a mix – which happens a lot – which prevails?

For me, i seem to have more tolerance level towards bad food rather than bad service. Meaning i don’t usually get upset when the food is bad – unless it’s bad’s bad or when it’s pricey yet unpalatable – since i take it more as a difference in taste/preference. Yet, it gets me every time i receive poor service – the more when service charges is payable.

Mind you, but my country isn’t wont to tip, thus it’s hard to say that servers make money from it. Many establishments incur 5% service charges, but whether the collectibles are split and shared equally amongst the servers remains a big question mark. Nevertheless, my family tend to tip those who deserve it. (Not individually though, as we usually leave the tip on the table.)

_
*) care for name? It’s Ayam Bulungan Blok M. 

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I blog sometimes, gush ofttimes, snark all the time.

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