Getting bad feedback sucks. Not getting the bad feedback is worse.
Recently I had a meal at a local restaurant. The restaurant has a great reputation, has won awards, has had articles written about it and everyone talks about it. I have eaten their previously with good success.
Yesterday, however, my meal was substandard. My Wild Mushroom Risotto was bland, over-cooked and the portion was too small. I'm not looking for a mammoth, over-consumption-sized meal but I would like to not have to eat a sandwich after my meal. I'm not looking for gourmet but this place is supposed to be pretty high caliber, in our little city.
Did I complain to the server, no. I was with a client and didn't want to create a scene over something as simple as over cooked rice. I wanted to keep the focus of the meal on the client, instead of my plate of mush.
The problem is, the restaurant now has no idea that a customer has gone away unimpressed. This is the worst case scenario for a business.
As a business, I want to know when my customers aren't impressed. I want to know if our service was slow, sloppy or expensive. I want to, at least, apologize for the inadequacy if I can't rectify it. I want to prevent it from happening again.
It isn't always best to complain at the moment that the bad service is happening. However, take the time after-the-fact to jot down your experience or pick up the phone and call about it. If the owner has an appreciation for the importance of service, they will appreciate the feedback.
If you are a business owner, embrace negative comments as a way to improve. Realize that the act of complaining might have been uncomfortable for the client and they probably had a good reason for making it.