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News - 20 January 2011
Mary Portas

Is the British stiff upper lip holding us back?

Just as Mary Portas launches herself into another mission to sort out retailing in Britain we find that the Brits really do put up with bad service without so much as a murmur.

A recent survey undertaken by eating out review website, has shown that up to two thirds (66%) of people have been served a substandard meal. And of those 50% didn't complain or make it known that they were disappointed.

Mary Portas's secret shopper series began with an assault on the multiples for their lack of customer service. In the first programme she interviewed many people who said they were dissatisfied but hadn't thought to complain.

It has to be said that many of the multiples under attack (ie Primark) do not set themselves up to be so much about customer service as about selling it cheap. But the point Mary was making was that service doesn't need to be non-existent and her mission is to set a ball rolling where leading brands are forced to make more of an effort to deliver good customer service and so raise standards right across the board.

The eating out survey was perhaps more extensive and more thourough as it was based on interviews with 1,000 respondents. It was designed to establish how often diners have cause to complain. It also looked at what were the main causes for disappointment. Poor service was key but only second to an overwhelming dissatisfaction with the temperature of the main courses which are often served cold.

The survey also showed that diners in the south east are the most reluctant to complain whilst those in the West Midlands, Scotland and Northern Ireland are more vocal but will still pay for a quarter of all poor meals.

Managing Director of Gordon Lloyd West commented, “The survey has confirmed that as a nation we still don’t like to make a fuss but the only way standards will go up is if restaurants and cafes have customer feedback. gives diners the chance to share their experience when they eat out and also for restaurant owners to monitor their own performance and respond if things are not up to scratch.

Read related items on:
Retail, pubs, clubs and restaurants
Portas, Mary

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