Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bad service experience? Here’s what to do

Why is it that bad experiences stick in our mind much more prominently than good ones? I could go to the grocery store 100 times and have no problems, but the one time my Diet Pepsi doesn’t ring up at the sale price and, man, this store stinks.
The same could be said of bad service experiences. I hear from travelers who have had a bad experience at a McPherson business. Having gotten nowhere dealing with the business directly they will contact the CVB or the Chamber to file a complaint.
If only I had some sort of “be good” enforcement power to make businesses give better customer service. The steps I usually follow are to document the complaint, write a letter to the business, copy it to the owner of the business and if necessary, send a letter to the franchise offices. I can’t say it’s been terribly effective. For one, since I’m a third party to the disagreement, I’m not able to lodge a formal complaint with most franchises. Secondly, most of the complaints I receive are for the same few businesses. They’re used to my letters.
So I’ve decided to put together a list of steps for people to take if they have a bad service experience. One thing to remember though is, if the business makes an honest effort to correct a situation, stop at that step. Don’t pursue the matter further if you’ve received a sincere apology and/or refund for any overcharges.
1. Talk to the manager. Give them a chance to make things right before you “go public.” Any manager worth his/her salt will appreciate the opportunity.
2. Put it in writing. Send letters to the business, the franchise, Better Business Bureau and local Chamber of Commerce or CVB. Follow up with the business to see if they received it and if they plan to take steps to correct the situation. Allow reasonable time for a response.
3. Go public. There are a myriad of different travel sites that let you review a business. (;,, just to name a few) Objectively document your experience and save future travelers from having a similar bad experience. Use social media to let people know about your experience. Most chains have a Facebook page; try posting on their wall. Start a Twitter hash tag like #badservice if you want to Tweet about it.
Some other useful information:
To file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau go to and click the “File a Complaint” link.
To report a business for health code violations go to the Kansas Department of Agriculture – Food Safety Division website KDA also handles lodging complaints.
My email is, phone (800) 324-8022. If you’re planning a visit, meeting or convention in McPherson, start with the CVB office. We know the facilities in McPherson and can help you find the one that will work best for you.

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