Twitter account calls out bad service at Vancouver restaurants, stores

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Is the era of high-quality restaurant customer service a thing of the past? According to one anonymous Metro Vancouver resident, the answer is a resounding yes. To this end, the frequent diner has launched a Twitter account, @badservicevan, to shed light on the problem.

The @badservicevan tweeter says they dine out three to five times per week, and come from a background of working retail and foodservice jobs, from server to management. The Twitter account is newly-hatched, with an opening Tweet spurred by a bad weekend dining out experience:

“In the service industry, we are paid to provide our customers services with a smile. To be professional in your job, that is what should be the utmost importance to you,” explains the @badservicevan tweeter via email. “Many [businesses] in the Lower Mainland fail this basic principle.”

The frustrated customer says their definition of bad service is when “the person(s) providing the service are not trying their best to make the customer comfortable and enjoying their experience,” whether it’s in person at a store or restaurant, or over the phone with a representative.

What prompted the @badservicevan account’s launch was several months of noticing a decline in how popular businesses handle customer service issues. The account-holder says it seems that the busier and more successful a store or restaurant is, the quicker they are to abandon high-quality customer care in favour of an attitude along the lines of not needing to be good to all customers, since they have so many already.

Their first call-out is a restaurant in Richmond, and an owner who argued with the customer about the food’s taste:

The upset diner says that the owner proceeded to make the oft-invoked claim that there was nothing wrong with that chicken, because other customers love the dish. (Paging Gordon Ramsay and the “Kitchen Nightmares” crew for a reality check, perhaps?)

So Twitter it is. “I feel people want to share things immediately and vent their frustrations and hopefully [the @badservicevan Twitter account] can provide a platform.”

The anonymous Twitter-er says the account will share their own experiences, along with anyone else’s who wants the social media platform to air their grievances.

“My point for this account is not to paint businesses in a bad light, but to make them feel accountable for their actions when serving the general public,” says the tweeter, adding: “To make them understand that even if their business is successful, each and every single customer is important.”

And in the meantime, retailers and restaurants take note: The customer might not always really be right, but they won’t be a customer for long if they aren’t treated well.

“Restaurants and businesses should train their employees to understand the most important part of better customer service is the customer; your customer is the most important part of your business. Learn and understand what their needs are and try your best to fulfill those needs,” urges the @badservicevan Twitter user.

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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