So far, according to the poll, it seems most people voice their bad service experience directly to management, and/or write a nasty letter (can I assume it would be a nasty letter?) to the owners or corporate office.
Most of us are not looking for monetary compensation, like getting our money back or receiving a free meal on the next visit, but so many times we get something out of it anyways without even asking for it. Our intent, often, is just for someone to listen to what we have to say and rectify the situation, hopefully not letting it happen again!
My husband and I received full compensation for our whole, entire meal (from Appetizer to Dessert and coffee) many, many years ago at McCormick & Schmick's. We received a free sushi roll from our neighborhood Chinese/Japanese Restaurant while ordering for home delivery after our last home delivery had arrived with fewer items than what we had ordered. We also received a "15% off on every visit" from a Barbecue Restaurant, however, have ever since experienced continuous unsatisfactory service that we now simply don't go there anymore that often (even though we have the discount card!).
Now, you might think "these guys eat out a lot, my goodness!" or "they must be heavy complainers!". A little bit of both is true. But our focus is actually on something else:
My husband and I always, and I repeat, always point out good service to our server and to management. We make it a point to express how excellent service was and why it was so good. Both of us, having worked in the hospitality industry, know how important it is for employees and management to recognize top service and success. We believe in how powerful this is.
We believe that while complaining about what's wrong will (hopefully) trigger some changes for the best, pointing out what's RIGHT has an amazing impact on employee morale and on how WE feel. Our contribution of verbally expressing our gratitude for good service goes a long way.
How about shifting our thoughts now to observing and recognizing good service? Maybe we can also turn the nasty letters into amazing compliment letters. To receive a verbal or written compliment from a guest/client, is one of the strongest motivators one can experience at work, positively affecting one's attitude towards people and one's job.
I will write more and more about service, service etiquette and handling service issues, however, this post was intended to remind us all that it IS important to recognize good service. It IS important to let servers and managers know how great service was. Believe wen I say that it DOES make a difference!