Whenever a restaurant receives negative feedback from any customer, the obvious solution would be to seriously consider and reflect on the ascribed mistake and try to improve your restaurant for the better.
Well, apparently Chicken Hotpot at Compass Point, Sengkang, doesn’t subscribe to that logic because they decided to contact the university (National University of Singapore) that Xu Xiuwen was studying at after seeing her negative review on Google and Douyin page.
Let’s Begin with the Review
Quintessentially, Xu Xiuwen’s verbal review on Douyin did not differ much from the written, though her distaste for the sub-par customer service was much more palpable in the tone that she used to speak in.
What irked Xu Xiuwen the most wasn’t the fact that their group wasn’t informed beforehand that the peanut snacks weren’t complementary—after all, they were just $2, it wasn’t an amount that they couldn’t bear to afford—but the manner in which it was told to her.
The waitress had been consistently rude to her, telling her that “this is how we do it at our shop” when she questioned about the surcharges.
When Xu Xiuwen continued to pressure the waitress as to why that was the case, or why it wasn’t mentioned in the menu or before it was placed on their table, the waitress proceeded to ignore her existence completely, even through the additional inquiries and the payment process.
Then, like a flip of a switch, the waitress turned around to greet the other customers with a cordial smile, just to really place extra emphasis on how little she cared about Xu Xiuwen’s opinions.
Moreover, Xu also points out in her Douyin review that the food served at the restaurant was very salty and the portions were rather small, to which the servers will coax the customers into upsizing or adding more.
“But the most disgusting part about the upsized portion is that the size of the pot hasn’t changed but they will insist that the ingredients inside have increased,” Xu says in Mandarin before inserting a “what else can I say” emote on top of her head.
Xu adds, “If you’re going to come out with such a size, you shouldn’t force your customers to add more food, right? I honestly feel like it’s too unsightly.”
Of course, you know how this story will continue.
Xu took none of the poor customer service and restaurant experience lying down; she made a review, as was in her right to do so, except she could never have expected what would happen next.
When Feedback Turns into Threat
In light of Xu’s vocal review, she might have expected a call from the restaurant, perhaps for an apology or an explanation.
Nope, what she receives instead is a call from her university, telling Xu that Chicken Hotpot had called them, though Xu did not reveal what had occurred during this verbal exchange.
Xu later explains to the Mothership that she had left her student email on the feedback out of habit, as a means of contact, but she never expected that it would backfire as a threat.
In response to the surprising call, Xu felt that it was the restaurant owner’s intention to threaten her to remove her negative reviews through her school, out of the fear that it might affect her academic grades or the impressions it leaves on the university administration as a whole.
Fortunately, NUS assured Xu Xiuwen that the call would not impact her studies.
Following that, Xu contacts the waitress, who apologises for her poor attitude and divulges that her boss is very angry because her review has worsened their restaurant’s reputation.
Xu was eventually refunded for the cost of the peanuts, but the entire problem was never about the money.
Xu’s Reviewing Prowess
After the whole incident occurred, Xu sat down and started to dissect the entire issue at hand, academic style.
By which, I mean she went full Microsoft Powerpoint Slide on her Instagram story like she was doing her final presentation for a Level 3000 module, to simply elucidate the crux of the problem:
Truth to be told, her entire presentation with the images, bolded and underlined words really drove her message across.
As customers, you have every right to voice out your praise or complaint regarding an establishment if you find it necessary, but always ensure that you are using your own personal emails to prevent the organisations from gaining a means to threaten you.
Colour me impressed, Xu Xiuwen, you’ve just gained another follower.
Potential Violation of the Personal Data Act
The most concerning part about the restaurant reaching out to the educational institution is that this action can be viewed as a breach of the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), which provides the core standards of personal data protection in Singapore.
According to the Personal Data Protection Commission, PDPA acknowledges the need to protect individuals’ personal data and the organisations’ need to collect, use or disclose data for legitimate and reasonable reasons.
These regulations are established on the foundational principle of good faith, which Chicken Hotpot violates by misusing the personal data that they have been entrusted to manage and protect.
Seriously, just because you’re in hot soup because you’re mistreating your customers doesn’t give you the right to drag them down with you, and possibly endanger them.
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