The Sweet Service Award goes to Cape Town Fish Market in the V&A Waterfront, for turning a service disaster around. A 20 minute gap before the start of a movie at the Cinema Nouveau allowed a quick try of the new calamari special that the restaurant is offering, or so I thought. I sat down at the table closest to the cinema, but was ignored in terms of service. Then I noticed an innovative service bell attached to the condiment tray, as well as a Customer Care number on it. I must have pressed the service bell 20 times, with no response. In the meantime I had seen a waiter, who told me that where I was sitting was “closed”, but there was no reserved sign on the table. I asked him to bring a menu, but I never saw him again. I then called the Customer Care number, and it was answered efficiently at a central answering service, and the staff member promised to phone the Restaurant Manager. The manager came to my table as soon as he had received the call, and also went on about the ‘closed’ section. He was shocked that I had chosen my own table without a waiter or hostess, but none were visible at the outside entrance to the restaurant! He tested the bell and said it was faulty. I left when I realised that the restaurant does not care about its customers, only about where they sit/may not sit! The next evening I went to the movies again, and decided to give them another try, sitting in a different section. The waiter did not seem to be able to understand my order for one of the 3 calamari specials, and the service bell also did not work. I called the Customer Care helpline again, and this time my complaint was escalated to Justin Mans-Kullin, the Operations Manager of the group. He took action immediately, sent a manager to the table to personally take my order, and would not allow me to pay for the meal. He asked for information about what happened, told me that it was contrary to company procedure, and promised me that the feedback would go to the Cape Town Fish Market managers’ conference, which was taking place the following day. He was not defensive at all, and acknowledged that what I had experienced was not how they like things to be done, which is commendable in itself.
The Sour Service Award goes to Afrique Senti and its owner Mariaan Brummer, and was nominated by Marcus Hoelper of Camelthorn Lodge. Marcus writes that the guest amenity supplier that he has used for some time, has started diluting the shampoo and shower gel products. He lodged a complaint, and the company came to fetch the containers, returning them with the same diluted product. Despite a request, Marcus has not been refunded.
The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at email@example.com. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.