The Complaining Cow interviews Tesco bosses Dave Lewis & Matt Davies

The Complaning Cow & Tesco CEOs

Frequent readers of this blog and followers on social media will know that I have quite a history with Tesco, in complaining, taking them to court, meeting Dave Lewis etc etc! Anyway when I met him in September 2014 he bought 100 of my books, made me get arm ache signing them all (he really should buy another 100 as it’s now been updated!) and invited me back to chat with his executive team in November 2014, when I said I should interview him.

It’s now nearly two years on and we got there. I know, how these organisations can work so slowly beats me. I had loads of questions, loads. The list grew and grew the longer they took to get their act together. Then we had a date and ol’ Dave decides the new Tesco UK CEO (Matt Davies) should also come. Maybe it was moral support?!  Apparently these two don’t do many interviews and this one was the first one they did together.

Then the powers that be said no-one would watch a film with 40 questions in it! Fair enough, so we got it shortlisted down to 10, filmed for the best part of half an hour and then it got edited.

You should know of course that there were really rather brilliant questions and challenges which were edited out 😉 In all seriousness though, it should be pointed out that Tesco did have full editorial control.

The Complaining Cow and Tesco CEOs

Can you see the chair I was sitting on and those nice biscuits on the table? I told the team that there was no way I was eating that chocolate biscuit until after the interview because I had cream trousers on. I don’t think people believed that I would be as daft as I was implying. By the time I had finished the biscuit there was chocolate on my trousers and underneath me on the chair. (I wonder if it still there? I did apologise). This skill of getting chocolate under oneself whilst eating was inherited from my Dad. So was the grey hair and funny bones but sadly not the brains! Anyway, I digress…

What do I think? Well to be fair, I like both Dave and Matt  who are both very personable and with a sense of humour, which is a heck of a lot more than a lot of CEOs out there, I will say that! Dave is a lot better than his predecessor too but again, let’s be fair, Clarke was pushed. I think they are pretty genuine and I think they have the respect of their staff and really are working towards improving service (yes I know it couldn’t have got much worse!) The proof is there in the figures that sales are increasing.

Their answers?

How Dave sees Tesco connecting  was interesting. I’ll be watching how they develop that, which is no easy task!

The Complaining Cow asks Matt Davies about pricing in Tesco

Pricing – Tesco is getting better in this area and, yes, we all love a bargain but I still don’t want to be working out whether 2 blocks of this cheese is better value than 1 block of that same cheese and needing a calculator to work out price per gram?!

Service – time will tell – what was cut actually was a question from my Mum. She wanted to know why staff couldn’t just open a bag of oranges and let her buy a single one when there were no single ones available. Matt spoke about moving towards enabling customers to feel that they could be empowered to make those choices. Now that is an interesting concept and a tricky one to navigate, so we shall see.

Perceptions of quality – testing – Tesco will be doing an updated post on how to become a tester soon.

The Complaining Cow asks Tesco Dave Lewis about fake farms

The farms? – The farms? Huh! Dave and I have batted emails back and forth about the fake farms issue and I still don’t agree or accept what he says. Shall I agree to disagree? Of course not. You can read more in the article Fake farms – a bad country smell that won’t go away, including background information from social media, NFU, ASA and Trading Standards

Right. Those adverts?  I’m pulling faces at Dave because he knows what I think of them. Tesco takes flak in the battle of the Christmas adverts and I don’t think they are getting any better. He didn’t answer the question about stereotyping (he must realise?! As someone who works in children’s services I don’t like the way the adverts portray Mum as knowing what she is doing and Dad doesn’t know about offers etc. and the message this is sending to children) And in any case why do you need to be paying expensive actors for these awful ads anyway?   Also – cut from the piece – I suggested that Dave might like to get some creative ideas from customers – we could tell him what we would like to see in an ad? He did say he thought it was a good idea… You could email him and tell him your ideas if you like.

As for the clothing? Well I can tell you that sitting in front of them the evidence regarding shirts was right there! When we can buy wellies in May we will know they listened.

All in all? Had a good day, personable people to chat with (and the team involved with filming were fab, has to be said), lots to talk about and I’m quite sure quite a lot to complain about in the future! Remember Dave DID tell me to keep complaining and well, seems like a nice chap, so happy to oblige.

 

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6 Responses to The Complaining Cow interviews Tesco bosses Dave Lewis & Matt Davies

  1. Pingback: Fake Farms - A bad country smell that won't go away...

  2. Jane Simmonds says:

    Interesting interview, particularly about perception. I still think all the supermarkets have got a long way to go with pricing and simplifying it all. This was good publicity for them though are they going to use anywhere else other than your blog? Will you be interviewing other CEOs?

    • The Complaining Cow says:

      It is hosted on the Tesco YouTube channel doubt it will be used anywhere else though. Don’t know re other CEOs, have to see what happens!

  3. Lee Edginton says:

    They were loving big fish little fish cardboard box with their hands! All they needed were glow sticks!
    They used standard replies and would have made our politicians proud.
    F&F clothing is bobbins doesn’t he get paid enough to buy good quality clothing?

  4. Stewart Bailey says:

    I found it to be a very interesting and informative interview and felt that meeting the CEOs in person is always a positive start to get your message across – it will be interesting to see how many issues raised are addressed and the timeframe.

    I feel that more company CEOs should follow suit and listen to what the public – their customers have to say as without customers there is no business.

    There is a lot of competition out there and they really need to be at the top of their game all of the time.

    I feel that Helens persistence and determination will pay off and that we will see improvements as a result of her efforts.

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