Business Latest News Topical

Should awards companies get awards for misleading claims?

During 2021 I undertook an investigation into corporate awards. Are all awards equal? Some are clearly only paid-for marketing tools. And there are awards across all sectors too.

silver trophy award

As part of this investigation I came across the “Product of the Year Award”. I discovered that Product of the Year charges £18,000 to enter its award! The company running the award claimed that the prize was worth more than £800,000 in marketing benefits.

See ASA investigation forces change of wording on awards claim. Product of the Year removed this claim after my complaint.

Established in 1987 in France, Product of the Year is a global company operating in over 40 countries around the world.

I made a further complaint in November 2021. The company’s website featured this claim:

“Winners typically see a strong sales uplift immediately following their win, as 86% of shoppers are more likely to buy a product bearing the Product of the Year logo, and we have a logo recognition of 64% across the country. Sales tend to uplift by 10-15% on average, with some brands seeing increases as high as 135%.”

I believed they were misleading and questioned whether they should be substantiated. So, I alerted the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about the claims.

Following an intervention from the ASA, Product of the Year has agreed to remove the claims from its website.

The ASA announced its decision today, 26 January 2022, stating that the case had been “informally resolved”.

“Product of the Year” has now removed both of the misleading claims from its website.

I contacted the company for comment but at the point of publishing it has not responded.

Organisations such as Product of the Year, which seem to be misleading both businesses and consumers, should be more careful in the claims they make and in the advertising material that they publish.


Companies customer service Complaining about customer service Latest News Topical

Complaints increasing & customers want better service!

The Institute of Customer Service has released its annual UK Customer Satisfaction Index today, 25 January 2022 and reveals that complaints are up!

The report comes out twice a year, this was my analysis of the figures in July last year.

man talking across table to coupleImprovements in complaint handling

The report this year reveals that consumers have experienced some significant improvements in complaint handling.

However…! 16.4% of consumers say that they have experienced a problem with a company in the last year. This may indicate that people are getting better at complaining and doing it more often. It is not necessarily that customer service is getting any better!

It is difficult to tell if there really is an improvement or whether the complexities of the COVID-19 context changes things. At the beginning of the pandemic we were seeing more tolerance of poor customer service and consumers making allowances. As time has gone by consumers’ no longer tolerate the “COVID excuse.

Complaints to companies on the increase

The number of customers who made a complaint to a company increased to 13.1% from 11.7% in the previous year.

The research also showed that 34% of customers will pay for better service. This is an increase of 4.5 percent compared to a year ago and 8.1 points more than in the January 2020 UKCSI. Customers who prefer excellent service, even if it costs more, have higher levels of satisfaction with organisations than other customers.

Invest in customer service

I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall when I try to advise businesses on investing in customer service!

It doesn’t always have to cost more, because in the long run the investment will mean more satisfied customers who do the heavy lifting of the marketing for them. More satisfied customers and less time spent on dealing with issues means increased sales!

Improve ethical choices

The research further showed that “significant numbers of customers deliberately choose an organisation for a range of ethical reasons, especially a focus on customer service, local relevance and or commitment to environmental sustainability.”

Consumers are demanding more from companies which need to step up their game to survive. They want better customer service and for companies to do more to commit to environmentally friendly practices.

What do consumers want?

The report sends out a loud and clear signal to companies. Consumers want better service and they are prepared to pay for it. Consumers are frequently time poor and companies need to realise that consumers value their time and would rather pay for better service than pay less and be inconvenienced.

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