If you have to complain… do it nicely !

  1.  Begin quietly. If you’re in a café and the waiter forgets your cappuccino order, don’t click your fingers and yell: catch their eye and gently remind them. If your soup is cold, quietly ask if it could be replaced. Your goal is to get hot soup, not to humiliate people in public.
  2. It’s best not to fume for the whole meal if there’s a problem with your starter. Try to deal with any problem quickly.
  3. Try not to be personal: ‘Are you being deliberately slow with my coffee?’ Keep it neutral and focus on the issue, not the person.
  4. Have a little think about how you want the problem to be resolved. Do you want your poor main course replaced or do you want a reduction in your bill because of it? Many restaurants will offer this automatically, but if they don’t, just ask politely.
  5. If the waiter doesn’t deal with your complaint, ask to speak to the manager. Explain what the problem is and how you think it can be resolved. Most restaurants will be only too happy to make their customers happy; but, if not, you’re not obliged to pay a tip. If the problem is a serious one, such as poor hygiene, you can complain to your environmental health officer, at your local council. And remember, most restaurants rely on recommendations, so they won’t want an unhappy customer spreading the word that their establishment isn’t up to scratch!
  6. If your complaint relates to poor service in the local dry cleaners, for example, it’s important that you know your rights, and you can find out more about these on the Consumers’ Association of Ireland website, www.thecai.ie. The old saying ‘The customer is always right’ doesn’t necessarily apply in the way it once did. With so many purchases being made online, consumers—that’s you—have to be read the small print and to know exactly what it is they have ordered.