Email the CEO!

A guest post from Marcus Williamson, Editor of www.ceoemail.com

Why and when should I email the CEO?
So, you’ve got a problem with a company’s product or service. You have tried emailing and calling customer services and got nowhere so far. Is it time to email the CEO and why would you want to do so?

The time to involve the CEO will vary on a case-by-case basis. In my experience, if you have not received a reply from an initial customer service enquiry within 7 days, then it is time to escalate. If you have called customer service and they have promised a call-back but not honoured the promise, then again it is time to escalate. Likewise, if customer service have responded but have not resolved the issue to your satisfaction, then it’s time to go to the top.

The CEO is the Chief Executive Officer of the organisation. The CEO is ultimately responsible for the day-to-day running of the organisation and the people who comprise it. The CEO can make a difference to your consumer issue by making decisions that others, in customer services, often cannot make because they are not empowered to do so. The CEO also knows the best person to whom issues should be delegated, if necessary.

The key is to establish who is the most senior person within the organisation who has executive power to resolve your consumer issue: The power to execute actions and to ensure that they are correctly performed. These are the people who can make a difference to your consumer issue. A direct approach to the CEO, when necessary, can bypass “customer service” and the unwieldy procedures and processes that prevent your issue from being dealt with effectively. It is worth remembering that the top person in an organisation may have a title other than Chief Executive Officer, depending on the type of organisation and its geographical location. You might also find other titles being used:

Organisation Title
Company Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Company Managing Director or General Manager
Company Executive Chairman
Newspaper Editor
TV/Radio station Controller
University Vice Chancellor or Principal
School Headteacher or Principal
Hospital Trust Chief Executive
Union General Secretary
Prison Governor
Hotel General Manager
Museum or Gallery Director or Curator

About the Author
Marcus Williamson is the editor of www.ceoemail.com, a consumer information website which can help you resolve issues by taking them to the top of the organisation.

Comment from the Complaining Cow
How does it work? The site lists the email contact details for the CEOs of many major companies. Marvellous. Blooming marvellous. If the company isn’t listed, email him ceoemail@connectotel.com I am honoured to call Marcus a friend. I have never met him but you’ll see he’s thanked in my book because of all his support when I came to the final stages and continues to assist me! Rather too many of those CEOs email addresses are there thanks to me requesting them over the last 5 years! The site is, quite simply, brilliant. Use it and contact a CEO who hasn’t ensured a good enough customer service team.

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How to be a Tesco tester

Regular readers of this blog will know of my history complaining about Tesco, taking the giant to court and meeting the new CEO etc. See here for all the links to Tesco posts

When I met some of the team in late November I met Helen Wilson who is Head of Quality Evaluation at Tesco. I asked her to write me a guest post on how Tesco test products and how YOU can join in. I’ve just signed up! I’m waiting to hear if they accept me, there will be trouble if they don’t!

Putting the finest* products on your plate (and around your house!)

As a business that serves millions of people across the world every week, we have a huge responsibility to make sure our food is of the highest quality and at a great price.

I’m one of around 75 people who work in Tesco’s Quality Evaluation Team, and it’s our task to make sure that all of our food and drink is properly tested and scrutinised. The team comes from a wide range of backgrounds, including economists, scientists and chemists. I graduated with a degree in Chemistry 20 years ago and initially specialised in the development of Health & Beauty products before moving into the world of consumer testing nearly ten years ago.

We’re all passionate about food and there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a product we’ve tested and improved sitting on our shelves. We take a huge interest in the products we sell and we’re always on the lookout for products that we could improve for customers, even when cooking our dinner or driving the kids to school.

We all really enjoyed showing The Complaining Cow around one of our testing facilities last month and both Helen and I thought that you might like to know more about how customers can share feedback with us and get involved in our testing process.

DSCN0823Each week, we invite customers into our four Product Assessment Centres across the UK to take part in product testing. These testers don’t need any special qualifications; all we ask is that they don’t have any food based allergies, are not pregnant or on antibiotics and that they haven’t taken part in another panel in the past two weeks. There are four of these across the country, in Perth, Camberley, Cheshunt and Shoreham.

We also have a specially trained customer panel which works in our Hertfordshire HQ at Cheshunt; (picture of this group meeting below). These testers are hand-picked for their excellent sense of smell and taste and their passion for food and drink. Their role is to give feedback on our new product ranges, helping us to fine-tune our products so that we can make sure that every mouthful strikes the right balance of flavours.

DSCN0829One area where we are currently looking for customers to get involved is by joining our group of online testers, working from the comfort of your own home. As a tester, we will invite you to take part in testing products which you regularly buy. These positions are open to anyone – as long as you’re over 18, have a Clubcard and live in the UK. To apply to join the panel click here.

These customers, as well as our rigorous world-leading testing programme for Household, Petcare, Clothing and Health & Beauty products, help us to make sure that everything you buy from Tesco lives up to the standards we, and you, rightfully expect. For more details on some of our favourite food products, take a look at our Real Food website

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The Complaining Cow’s history with Tesco

Regular readers of my blog know of my history with Tesco. However, I am becoming increasingly aware that when people are looking for how to complain about Tesco they are finding my blog. Interestingly it is the post that started this blog back in the Summer of 2012 to which most people are directed and not the ones where I took the giant to court and won! I get enquiries and comments etc. about my dealings with Tesco and thought it was time to provide a clear history of posts, so here you are:

12/07/2012 Tesco – Phillip Clarke is no Sir Terry Leahy - the first post about poor service and the CEO’s regard for customers apparently differing to his predecessor’s

10/06/2013 The Complaining Cow v Tesco #TescoFail! – The result of taking Tesco to court

09/07/2013 The Complaining Cow V Tesco Update #Tescofail (again) an update to the result

23/07/2013 The #Tescofail Saga Ends. (Until the next one) the final update

04/08/2013 The Complaining Cow Battles With Tesco Again a lighthearted battle of sweets with Tesco

21/08/2013 Victory in latest Complaining Cow V Tesco Battle battle verdict

14/01/2014 Warning: How not complaining drives up fat cat profits! including a story about Tesco

21/07/2014 The Real Reason Clarke Was Pushed! ha! Kicked out, my thoughts!

16/10/14 List of feedback provided by people on the Facebook page to give to CEO when meeting him

20/10/2014 The Complaining Cow Meets New Tesco CEO Dave Lewis how I got to meet the new CEO and what happened

12/11/2014 Statement from Tesco after feedback provided by The Complaining Cow through the Facebook page. (Note that they have acted on some and are acting on others) which will take a little longer!)

02/12/2014 The Complaining Cow v Tesco CEO & Executive Team where I met Dave again with some of his senior staff and after posting this article had to complain on Twitter which resulted in:

03/12/2014  Went to collect groceries and not there had to wiat to following day requested them to be delivered for free and got this

14/01/2015 Can customers trust the new(ish) Tesco CEO? LinkedIn post regarding the January trading statement.

14/01/2015 How to be a Tesco Tester guest blog post from Tesco

22/01/2015 My mother gets in on the Tesco bashing Facebook post

25/01/2015 Tesco is annoying me – short Facebook post on latest annoyances

26/01/2015 A tweet from @ceoemail informing me that 90% of people visiting the www.ceoemail.com from my site are looking for the Tesco CEO’s email address :)

And so we carry on, I’ll be keeping an eye on Tesco, will be a looooooooooooong time before I stop complaining methinks! In the meantime if you want help complaining about Tesco or any other company have a search around the site at tips and stories etc. and also the book!

 

 

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The essential knowhow regarding medical care when you book a holiday!

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EHIC
In the EU you should get an EHIC (replaced the old E11). You’ll either pay nothing for medical assistance, or at least reduce the level of upfront costs that you have to claim back later. Showing the card can reduce red tape and can help save time and hassle when trying to claim money back. Some insurance policies expect you to have the EHIC and won’t pay for any expenses that the card would have covered. Sometimes the insurer will waive the excess if you have used your card. The EHIC covers required treatment for a pre-existing or chronic medical condition such as asthma or diabetes. Many insurers will not cover this and there are only a few companies/policies that will cover existing conditions.

Why you need travel insurance as well as EHIC
You should always take out travel insurance when going abroad. Use a comparison website and check the cover very carefully. You do still need it in addition to the EHIC because the EHIC is usually only accepted at state-funded hospitals and if you need assistance urgently and can only get to a private clinic, you will not be able to use the EHIC. This article on the Gov.uk website provides good reasons why you should always take out holiday insurance regarding health, even more reason than the EHIC does not cover mountain rescue! Where the state-funded treatment is not entirely free, insurers will usually pay the outstanding costs.

The EHIC only covers medical costs so you need your insurance for any extra accommodation costs and repatriation.

If any state funded medical establishment refuse the card it is in breach of European rules. Should your EHIC be refused, try to get proof that you presented it at the time, as this could be key to getting the excess waived by your insurer. If you believe you’ve been incorrectly charged, contact the Department for Work and Pensions which may provide some reimbursement.

The bare minimum cover you need is for cancellation, curtailing of the holiday for a variety of reasons, illness/death at home or abroad, damage to home, called as a witness for court etc. You should also get property cover. You will want to be covered by delayed departure and/or luggage. Although in some circumstances you will want to claim from the airline directly. Always read the small print as to what is covered and what isn’t before purchasing!

Take out your travel insurance at the same time as booking your holiday!

Costs abroad
Your credit card accident cover, home insurance, (EHIC) or private health cover is not necessarily adequate. An emergency abroad can be enormously costly! For example if you need to be returned to the UK it could cost you thousands of pounds without sufficient insurance, e.g:

  • £35-45,000 – air ambulance from USA’s East coast
  • £12-16,000 – air ambulance from the Canary Islands
  • £15-20,000 – scheduled flight, stretcher and doctor escort from Australia

(Costs taken from DWP website)

It is usually cheaper to buy travel insurance yourself rather than using the site where you are booking your holiday. (Use one of the many comparison websites). Remember that it is now illegal for any site to automatically add any additional payments which appear as a default option.

Claiming
Notify the insurance company as soon as possible of your wish to claim. If you are dissatisfied with the offer or rejection follow the tips and outline your reasoning. If you remain dissatisfied contact the Financial Ombudsman.

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The top 10 tips for winning in the sales

So, Christmas nearly upon on us and Boxing Day sales start. Making sure you know how to get the best deals, use your time wisely and knowing what to do when things go wrong will all help you grab the best bargains.

1) Plan what you want. Make a list of things you would quite like to buy. Don’t fall foul of the pack mentality that we saw on Black Friday. People fighting to grab the “bargains” and then saying “I didn’t even want a telly”.  It is not a bargain if you don’t really want it.

2) Make a list of the various stores you are likely to find those bargains. If you are going out to shop work out the best route to do to save you the most time and allows you to return to shops which you think you are most likely to want to return back having seen other stores.

3) Do your online research. Using your list, look up all the stores likely to have sales, mooch around the sites making a note of things that you would like if they were in the sale. Even put them in your basket so they are in there ready before other people if you intend to start at 12.00am on Boxing Day!

4) Think about next Christmas and presents that you will need to buy. Things like jewellery, toys, games and toiletries are always discounted everywhere and don’t have a best before date!

5) When shopping online use your list of items and compare prices. Just because it is discounted it does not mean that it is the best price. Use comparison websites too, or simply put the item into Google and see all the places the item is also sold.

6) When purchasing items online you now have 14 days in which you can change your mind and return the item under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013  if the item is faulty the retailer has to pay for return postage. If you just change your mind then it will be down to the retailer’s Terms and Conditions which will be listed on the website.

7) Watch out for delivery costs. These might make the items less of a bargain compared with another site. Some of the bigger more well known stores will offer free delivery for orders over a certain amount. Simply order something else to reach the free delivery amount, such as a gift you can put away or something you know you will need in the future and bingo, free delivery. Or use the “free delivery to store” option, you’ll still get to the bargains in time but should have a few days grace in which to pick up the item(s).

8) Whether purchasing items in the sale or not, if you return an item because you changed your mind or it is an unwanted gift then the retailer does not need to refund the item. (Many of the bigger retailers will, however usually by voucher and at the cheapest price the item has been sold at). However if the item is faulty, unless the fault was pointed out at point of purchase (e.g. this jumper is discounted because of a mark on the sleeve) then you are entitled to refund, replacement or repair. See here for more details.

9) You do not need to have a receipt but you do need a proof of purchase so a credit card bill for example is fine if you are returning goods.

10) If the retailer does not keep to delivery deadlines then you are entitled to redress.

Good luck in your bargain hunting and don’t be fobbed off when complaining! Lots of tips around the blog and of course in the book!

PS Don’t forget to use a cashback site when shopping online. The best I have found is Topcashback. To be transparent – that is a link that is mine and if you register from that I will get £5 or something when you have earned your first £10. Don’t forget when you register to get your own “Tell a friend link” to share with others.

 

 

 

 

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