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What is a consumer champion & how they can benefit business

What is a consumer champion?

A “consumer champion” is the name given to an individual or organisation that speaks up for consumers and their rights.

But how do you see a consumer champion?

Are they…

pens paper "complaints" written on the wall

An advocate for the consumer?

Fighting for consumer rights, a consumer champion will help consumers get refunds and redress for faulty items and poor service. They may help individuals or advise in the media.

A campaigner?

Consumer champions will often campaign for change in policies, laws and regulations to improve the experience for consumers. For example, organisations such as Money Saving Expert (MSE) and Which? are currently campaigning for new legislation to force large tech companies such as Facebook and Amazon to protect online users from scams and dangerous products sold on their sites.

An intermediary between you and your customer?

A consumer champion may work as a go between, negotiating between your business and your customer.

An inconvenience to you?

Some businesses may see a consumer champion as getting in the way, when they fight for the customer and want improvements. Some businesses will not listen to consumer champions or act on any of their advice, believing that only they know best.

An asset?

Some businesses do see the advantages of working with a consumer champion.

For example I took Tesco to court in 2013 but when Dave Lewis became CEO of the group in 2014 I contacted him and over the next 6 years I still continued to criticize but also found common ground.

Tesco and I did reciprocal blogs, I visited the Head Office and had lunch with him and his executive team, he spoke about me in his financial reporting and more. I interviewed Matt Davies the UK CEO and Dave which was put on the Tesco YouTube channel. I put forward questions from customers in a win-win for Tesco and its customers.

Case study: Tesco and a consumer champion

What do consumer champions do?

If a consumer champion is well established and credible, they will:

Consumer champion roles are various

Review sites could also be considered as a type of consumer champion. They allow customers to leave reviews on their experience of goods and services. They also provide a “right of reply” for businesses, allowing consumers to make an informed decision about a purchase. These are popular ways for people to research goods and services. The UK government is proposing changes to how review sites are regulated.

Review site examples:

  • TripAdvisor,
  • Google Local Guides,
  • Amazon,
  • Patient Opinion

Consumer Expert examples:

  • Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow, Martin Lewis, Simon Calder, Paul Lewis
  • Which?
  • Various experts in the media

Resources

There are a number of resources that businesses can work with and use to champion the customer, such as:

Advantages of working with a consumer champion

  • Feedback on customer service performance. A consumer champion will be able to provide the unique perspectives of your customers.
  • They will be able to show you ways to do things that work better for customers and therefore increase your sales.
  • Consumer champions will be keeping abreast of trends and changes with topical issues. They will be able to provide information about consumer behaviour.
  • Involving a consumer champion with your work can increase trust in your company and raise its profile.
  • In the same way, it can be used to generate good publicity. For example, quoting a consumer champion in your press releases.
  • Consumer champions will challenge your company and every stage of the customer journey. If you are open to this kind of challenge and the changes it could bring, it may benefit your company hugely.

How much do you read articles about/from or listen to consumer champions?

If you would like to know more about working with a consumer champion to increase the benefits to your company’s reputation, finances and also help vulnerable customers, thereby increasing your sales, please see below:

The Complaining Cow – free support for businesses

26/04/22 The Customer Journey – How to make Superfans one hour webinar with Becky Stevenson Business Consultant and Strategist and Helen Dewdney, Consumer Champion.

It takes 5 times as much to gain a new customer to retain one. So work on turning your customers into superfans who do much of the heavy lifting for you!

Join the Facebook Group Increase Sales through Customer Service: Compassion, Care and  Integrity  A private group where you can give and get support, advice and share good practice on how to improve customer service.

custome ervice 5 ways to gain rave reviews and referrals

 

Free download Customer Service 5 ways to get rave reviews & referrals a few tweaks to your customer service can help you reduce the risk to your company’s reputation, finances and impact on customers and increase sales.

 

 

The Complaining Cow services

The Complaining Cow logo, complaints, consultancy, speaker, workshops and more

To see how The Complaining Cow can help you increase your sales through improving your customer service see Services. Consultancy, power hours, speaking, training, workshops and videos.

The Complaining Cow testimonials

 

 

 

 

Categories
Property

How to complain about poor rented accommodation conditions

On my blog I cover most areas of consumer rights. However there are some topics where I ask a specialist to give expert advice.

I have asked Christian Weaver, barrister and author of The Law in 60 Seconds: A Pocket Guide to Your Rights* – to explain your rights when it comes to problems with renting. This is the fourth in the series. The first was

3 things you need to look for when signing a tenancy and the second What you are entitled to when moving into a rented property and the third What are your rights regarding tenancy deposits?

flowers in vases on window sill in front of closed windows looking out to garden grass

Basic tenancy rights

You have the right to live in a home that is ‘fit for human habitation’ (note –  this, strictly speaking, applies in relation to England only, While homes being fit for human habitation features in the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, at the time of writing, this is not in force). A home will be deemed ‘unfit for human habitation’ if conditions are so bad that the home is unsuitable for you to live in while in that condition. Examples include fire safety issues, security issues (e.g. not having a lock on your front door), hygiene or sanitation issues (e.g. not having a working toilet), and infestations (e.g. cockroaches or mice).

Landlord’s responsibility

It is your landlord’s responsibility to carry out basic repairs. If the problem in your home is not quite one that makes it unfit to live in, then your best option may involve looking into the ‘Repairing obligations’ provisions from the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. Regardless of what is in your tenancy agreement, your landlord has a general responsibility to ‘keep in repair’ the following:

  • the structure and exterior of your house; for example, the drains, gutters and external pipes
  • basins, sinks, baths and toilets
  • boilers, heaters and their associated pipes and wiring

If your landlord stated additional things in your tenancy agreement that they would do in terms of repair obligations, they must stick to these. Another reason to read the tenancy agreement carefully.

If issues like those detailed above arise in your house, you should tell your landlord as soon as possible. It is best to do this in writing (letter, email or text) and keep a copy as evidence. If you are particularly concerned, you may also wish to tell the local council, as it has legal powers it can use to get repairs done very quickly.

Once your landlord is aware of the problem, they have a duty to repair it within a reasonable amount of time. Exactly what the problem is and its severity will have a bearing on what will be classed as a reasonable amount of time.

What to do if your landlord doesn’t do the property repairs

If this does not happen, it can be a good idea to write to your landlord again, stating:

  • what the problem is
  • the history of your communication (i.e. when you reported it and what you were told – highlighting that this hasn’t happened)
  • the impact this is having, being sure to detail any inconvenience and potential implications for your health

Follow the Tips for complaining effectively

If all else fails, you may wish to consider legal action. In some circumstances, a court can order that your landlord pay you compensation and/or carry out the necessary repairs. Court should be a last resort: it can be much quicker to negotiate and come to an agreement with your landlord. Before going to court, it is a good idea to speak to your local Citizens Advice or a housing lawyer for advice.

About the author

Christian Weaver headshot

Christian is a barrister at a leading human rights chambers, where he regularly represents clients whose rights are at risk.

He previously worked at INQUEST and volunteered at Liberty and Nottingham Law School’s Legal Advice Clinic.

In 2018, concerned about the increasing number of people he knew being stopped and searched, he created the YouTube series ‘The Law in 60 Seconds’ to inform people of their rights and make the law accessible; those videos have now been viewed thousands of times, and been featured on BBC News, in the Guardian and the i Paper. The concept has since been turned into a book.

(AL)

Twitter: @ChristianKamali

Further help with complaining effectively

 

Cover of How to Complain updated 2019 large cow logo

 

More tips, advice, template letters and all the details on consumer laws you need GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS! too!

 

Note that did not cover lettings – you need Christian’s information see his book for that!

101 Habits if an Effective complainer book cover with logo

 

101 Habits of an Effective Complainer has been 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.

 

 

 

 

Purchase downloadable templates to gain redress and use a ready made template to make your complaint. Just fill in your details.