Complaining about customer service Complaining about faulty goods

How, why and when to email the CEO!


A guest post from Marcus Williamson, Editor of Want to contact a CEO? This site is not affiliated with in anyway. Requests for CEO contact details will not be provided on this The Complaining Cow website. Go to you’ll find contact details there! If does not have the address or it is out of date please email the site. Marcus will find the correct one for you. I cannot do this.

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.

Who is the CEO?

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.

Alternatives to Customer Services

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, 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 most companies. Marvellous. Blooming marvellous. If the company isn’t listed, email him and he will do his best to find it! I am honoured to call Marcus a friend. I have only met him the once but you’ll see he’s thanked in my books 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 10 years! The site is, quite simply, brilliant. Use it and contact a CEO who hasn’t ensured a good enough customer service team.

Make sure you follow all the Top 20 tips for complaining effectivley before you contact the CEO!

CEO contact details complaining effectively

Help with complaints


To ensure that you know your rights and how to use them take a look at How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results, as one reviewer says you’ll get more than your money back the first time you use it!




101 Habits of an Effective complainer designed to improve the way you look at and make complaints. Each page gives you a complaining habit to consider and an example of how and why it empowers you to become more effective in getting the results you want.


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Purchase downloadable templates to gain redress to get refunds and redress just fill in your personal situation info


Being a Tesco Taster

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 The Complaining Cow’s history with Tesco.

When I met some of the team in late November 2014 I met Helen Wilson who was the Head of Quality Evaluation at Tesco. I asked her to write me a guest post on how Tesco test products and how you could join in.

But four years later things have moved on! So here’s an updated post by Natalie Arpino the Tesco Product Insights Manager:

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

At Tesco, we provide our customers with great quality, affordable products. To do this, we put our products through a series of different tests, looking at everything from taste, to how easy it is to prepare and how convenient the packaging is.

In May 2018, we opened our new state of the art product development and testing centre, based in the heart of our Welwyn Garden City campus. Here, we test thousands of products a year through listening to customer feedback both during and after the development process.

Our testing process includes four key platforms: Product Assessment Centres, the Tesco Home panel listening sessions and expert tasters.

Tesco room pictures on wall of people and "we

We have a large customer base, spanning the whole of the UK, so our testing isn’t limited to sessions on our campus. We also have Product Assessment Centres dotted in the North and the South of the country, which allow us to invite more customers to take part in our product testing process. Anyone can take part in these tests as long as they meet the criteria set for the product we are testing on the day.

One of our most popular testing platforms is the Tesco Home panel, which is made up of a large group of online testers working from the comfort of their homes. We invite these customers to trial products they regularly buy from our range of Household, Petcare, Clothing and Health & Beauty products. Due to the popularity of this role, we’re not currently accepting new applicants, but we plan to open this up again in the future. (I am on this but don’t appear to get anything! Had a coat a couple of years ago and some washing tablets, nothing since!)

On our Welwyn campus, we conduct listening sessions in the focus group room. These sessions allow us to understand how customers feel about newly developed products, which are created by our team of innovation chefs.

Two chefs in a kitchenNext door, in the flexible sensory room, we run tasting sessions every day with 24 different expert tasters. Our team of expert tasters have a passion for product and are dedicated to ensuring that the products we serve are the very best quality for our customers. Tasters are chosen following a series of activities, designed to assess each of their senses, and complete 2 months of training before they start product testing.

We use these four platforms to collect feedback from as many customers as possible. Our product developers and suppliers will then use this feedback to either change existing products or create new innovative products to best fit our customers’ needs.



For more details on some of our favourite food products, take a look at our Real Food website