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Old 02.03.2011, 12:44
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

Tough can't thank yourself Dougal....
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Old 02.03.2011, 12:45
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

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I'm seriosly intrigued to see if any of the people posting here that DB should forget about it and get a life, will ever be one of the people posting on "The service in Switzerland is so pants" threads.....
I wasn't the one who said "get a life", but I did say to let it go. I already know that quite often one will come across bad service here, not just in restaurants but also in stores, pharmacies, petrol stations, etc. So one has to optimise when to complain and do it when it is most effective.

No, I won't be on those threads complaining about the service in Switzerland. I already know that (on average) service levels are better in some other countries. But I live here, so I accept it. My advice: rester zen.
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Old 02.03.2011, 12:48
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

This happened to me at my favorite italian place around the corner. The owner is so friendly and really nice as we are regulars. Once I went and there was a new girl who was slow, snotty and rude. However she wasn't there that long. If the owners have a certain feel they like about the place it won't take them long to realize their latest hire isn't up to par. But help the management out and give them a heads up
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Old 02.03.2011, 12:56
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

We avoid this very situation by a) not going out and cooking a far superior meal ourselves or b) dining only at top-notch gourmet, Michelin-star restaurants where one pays through the nasal orifice for excellent food and excellent service
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  #45  
Old 02.03.2011, 13:07
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

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Slightly OT: Is it just me, or are people this week especially bloody miserable?? I was just at my local Migros this morning. Bought some flowers and asked the cashier for a packet of plantfood (which they have behind their counters). Bloody cow looked at me and said that the flowers cost only 11.90 CHF and I was expecting plant food?!!! My Swiss German is terrible but I definitely caught what she said.
No, I do not think they are especially negative. But I had some strange encounters as well. Best one was at a gas station where I bought a bottle of cooling liquid. Knowing that recycling is a serious topic and never having to refil the cooler of my car at a Swiss station yet, I asked: "Where do I throw the bottle in, the normal trash or the one you put up for oil cans?" Answer "Whatever, we dump them altogether anyway"... but he said it with a smile, so I was ok.
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Old 02.03.2011, 13:12
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

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... For the appeasers amongst us, poor customer service should never be accepted. There is rarely an excuse, while the grace to accept you've messed up, good manners and good service will usually overcome incompetence. ...
True, there is rarely an excuse but I am always mindful of the time when my ex-hubby laid into a woman for poor service and verbally ripped her to shreds in front of other customers. Only for her to breakdown in an absolute flood of tears sobbing hysterically and having to be taken away and comforted by her colleagues and myself.

We later found out she had come straight to work after losing her husband earlier that day in hospital. Apparently, she had insisted on doing so claiming that being at home alone would be too much for her to bare and work would help her to focus and keep her mind off things. To a certain point she had been able to cope and act as normal (whatever that means under such circumstances) but had clearly over-estimated her own ability to hold her emotions in check when faced with an extremely angry and impatient customer.

We felt terrible about this for days afterwards and resolved from then on to always give a person the benefit of the doubt to start with because you never know what they may be going through behind their mask of normality. Okay, this was an extreme example but you just can never know...

Then again, letting rip at someone from the get-go is also very extreme and, with hindsight, he realized that a quiet word in either her's or her manager's ear would have been the best approach and probably not caused her to have an emotional and public meltdown.
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  #47  
Old 02.03.2011, 13:18
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

The young, normall very freindly waitress at our local Café was also out of sorts the other day- and a bit curt. We found out later that after 8 years in Switzerland, from Togo, with a job and no debts, the support of so many in the Community, her employers having 'adopted' her and her little boy- she had just got a letter to say she would be forcibly expelled from Switzerland soon - we had been making jokes about my (British) OH having acquired Swiss nationality within 8 months of applying.

I wouldn't complain after 1 such incident, but as Economisto says, the owner would want to know if this repeats itself as he won't wish to lose business to a bad employee.
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Old 02.03.2011, 13:24
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As long as the service is reasonable (fast, efficient - and with industry standard or reasonably expected qualityof product) I wouldn't complain. You can't expect people to be in a "nice" mood all the time, and these are people.
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Old 02.03.2011, 13:26
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

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As long as the service is reasonable
Yeah, but it wasn't. That's the problem, especially given the very high standards of service that are usual in that establishment.
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Old 02.03.2011, 13:27
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

The main issue here is that the staff member had multiple opportunities to mitigate the situation and didn't partly due to attitude/method.

I'd focus on this and your previous impeccable experiences when contacting management, as this became an obstacle. What also seems missing is an "is everything alright" check which is a proactive/face saving opportunity for a guest/patron to right a perceived wrong without conflict.

Consider writing/faxing the establishment, with an offer to discuss informally over a cup of tea on your next visit.

Don't write the place off, consider it as a training issue opportunity for the staff member should they decide to remain and upskill.

Hope you enjoy your next visit as before and goodwill can be restored to the benefit of all.

Worst case, the staff member needs to consider therapy
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Old 02.03.2011, 13:28
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

I understand the one time thing. And if someone act weird with everybody equally, it might be because something is going on that we don't know.

But in DB's exemple, the guy was being rude to them and careless to them while being nice, chatty and flirty to a woman at the bar. Apparently he was getting disturbed of his birdy dance by that couple who dare to ask him the proper tea and milk asked...

I can accept someone having a bad day, not someone having a selective bad day.
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Old 02.03.2011, 13:39
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

Write off the cafe ... time to explore some alternative options.

I am sure there are many other cafes with polite service all the time
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  #53  
Old 02.03.2011, 13:44
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

Ok having read through the thread while sittijg waiting for my train at Schaffhausen, i see that a lot of the "let it go" crowd seem to think there's something negative and confrontational in a complaint. Don't complain, or at least don't think of it as complaining. You're giving feedback on service. They know you, and you're going in for a pint on a relatively quiet afternoon when the manager might be freer. You engage him in conversation and perhaps start with a complement, saying that the main reason you come to this particular place is the service - that you're made to feel so at home. Then bring up the exception "as luck would have it, only last week such and such a waiter seemed to be having the worst day, as we all do from time to time, and he almost threw the milk at my wife!". Any good manager will bite at that point and you can then elaborate.

If he doesnt, at least you tried.
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Old 02.03.2011, 14:21
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

I think that if YOU felt the service was rude (and you did), then you should complain. As others have mentioned, there is a difference between bad service and rude service. Reading the posts, it's obvious that some people find it easy to dismiss because it is over a cup of tea. However, when I go out for a drink or a meal with friends, I like to have my drink and food at the same time as them. When it doesn't happen, I get annoyed and I do say something. Most often, nothing really happens, but I feel better for saying something rather than simmering for hours about something so silly.

I agree with Nil...why are people so worried about complaining? You are paying for the service, that's why a pot of tea costs 5 chfs! For those who say they are afraid of costing someone their job, are you serious??? Do you really think that it only takes one complaint to get someone fired?
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Old 02.03.2011, 14:36
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

I didn't say anywhere that you should be rude in your complaint or rip someone to shreds...

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True, there is rarely an excuse but I am always mindful of the time when my ex-hubby laid into a woman for poor service and verbally ripped her to shreds in front of other customers. Only for her to breakdown in an absolute flood of tears sobbing hysterically and having to be taken away and comforted by her colleagues and myself.

We later found out she had come straight to work after losing her husband earlier that day in hospital. Apparently, she had insisted on doing so claiming that being at home alone would be too much for her to bare and work would help her to focus and keep her mind off things. To a certain point she had been able to cope and act as normal (whatever that means under such circumstances) but had clearly over-estimated her own ability to hold her emotions in check when faced with an extremely angry and impatient customer.
So was your husband's complaint justified or not?

While I may have stated the case from the customer's perspective of bad service, it is no excuse for a customer to be rude in return. You loose any "high ground" you might have by becoming emotional and rude over bad service. You are also much less likely to have a happy outcome or the outcome you are seeking.

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Then again, letting rip at someone from the get-go is also very extreme and, with hindsight, he realized that a quiet word in either her's or her manager's ear would have been the best approach and probably not caused her to have an emotional and public meltdown.
Quite.
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  #56  
Old 02.03.2011, 14:56
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

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So was your husband's complaint justified or not?
So long ago and can't recall every minute detail that led up to it but I guess it was to him at the time ...

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While I may have stated the case from the customer's perspective of bad service, it is no excuse for a customer to be rude in return. You loose any "high ground" you might have by becoming emotional and rude over bad service. You are also much less likely to have a happy outcome or the outcome you are seeking.
Often but not always. Sometimes there are gray areas ...
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Old 02.03.2011, 15:50
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

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If I were the manager I would be over the moon with gratitude to have a regular, normally satisfied customer point out something that was new and wrong. He's running a business and your complaint is cash in his pocket. Just when you go, be very calm and specific so he can fix what's wrong.
Don't forget this is Switzerland...For some unfathomable reason businesses think that "they're doing the customer a favor." They don't realize or understand that inadvertently it's the customer who pays their salaries (well majority don't realize this). I will admit this is one of the biggest culture flaws of Switzerland. If he went to the manager, the manager would probably look at him like he's crazy and think to himself "bloody foreigners."
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Old 02.03.2011, 15:54
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

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Don't forget this is Switzerland...For some unfathomable reason businesses think that "they're doing the customer a favor." They don't realize or understand that inadvertently it's the customer who pays their salaries (well majority don't realize this). I will admit this is one of the biggest culture flaws of Switzerland. If he went to the manager, the manager would probably look at him like he's crazy and think to himself "bloody foreigners."
Just a small reminder: the cafe in which this incident took place normally provides an excellent quality of service.

This has nothing to do with 'Swiss cultural flaws'.
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Old 02.03.2011, 16:33
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

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Just a small reminder: the cafe in which this incident took place normally provides an excellent quality of service.

This has nothing to do with 'Swiss cultural flaws'.

true, the rude person in question could be just an auslander practicing his German with the newly found swiss lady love
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Old 02.03.2011, 16:34
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Re: Disappointing service at my favourite cafe :-(

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Just a small reminder: the cafe in which this incident took place normally provides an excellent quality of service
In that case: forgive and forget (and don't waste too much time about complaining)
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