A few months ago I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my husband’s sister. Now I have to say I’ve used Flowers Direct a lot over the years and never had a problem until now…!
Luckily my husband asked his sister if she liked the flowers and she said she hadn’t received them. As you would expect if you have read anything on this Blog I complained. I emailed on the 30th April to say that they hadn’t been delivered. I got a stunning email in return. I received a confirmation on the 1st May that the delivery on the 30th April would be made. Good eh? I emailed again and got a response to say that they were looking into it. Days later I emailed again but heard nothing. So on the 11th May I emailed the CEO quoting the relevant Laws that they were breaking. (Supply of Goods and Service Act 1982 and Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994) (For goods and services after October 1st 2015 use the Consumer Rights Act 2015). No response. So what does one do then? You can always do something! I drafted a letter to the Credit Card company as Flowers Direct had not delivered anything for the money. I sent them a copy and guess what? Yes, I got a reply!
Flowers Direct was involved in some business buying out another and so emails were getting lost I was told. So often it’s poor internal communication that results in the non delivery of goods/service. The Customer Services Representative gave a full refund and asked if I would like a bouquet sent to the recipient or myself. I told her both (and got them!)
Last Christmas I arranged a Sainsbury’s delivery. Free delivery for over a £100 for the Thursday. Family, visitors and all that stuff ensured it was a large order. Over a week or so I added to it. Now, you have to ensure that if you change your order at all that you must checkout again. You can amend your order until 11pm the day before delivery.
So, there I was amending my order and went to checkout at 11.01pm and lost my order! I could have cried! I telephoned Customer Services who were really unhelpful. I pointed out that no-one else could have taken my slot at that time and they could fax the order through to the store particularly as the delivery was for the afternoon. They would not help.
Although partly but not all my fault, I had still received poor customer service and their system wasn’t great. So, I trawled their site (and I do think that the section has now gone!) and found some wording that suited my needs! It said something along the lines of completing the order by 11.00pm but not actually checking out. (Sorry at the point of finding all this out I didn’t know I would need to keep it all as reference for a Blog so don’t have the actual wording!) So, armed with this ambiguity, the fact that their site is slow at checking out time and the CEO’s email address from this ceoemail.com. I emailed Justin King.
So after pointing out the appalling customer service and how I would never shop at Sainsbury’s again and they would be losing a good customer and a few more moos here and there I requested that I still got my order even paying for the delivery for the following day if necessary as I appreciated that he would not read the email until several hours later. (That was kind of me I felt).
The response was amongst the cream of the crop in the hundreds of replies to complaints over the last few years. Justin King responded personally. Excellent start. It used to happen occasionally, but as people are getting access to CEO’s emails more readily it usually gets passed to his/her Executive Office, but at least it is not the Customer Service department. It IS more likely to get a better response so don’t be disheartened if you don’t get a response from the CEO anywhere when you complain. As for business, well look what happens when the CEO responds personally. Word gets round that you care about your customers. Care about your customers the profits will look after themselves.
Justin King apologised for the Customer Service most profusely and stated that I would get the delivery the following day and some compensation. Pretty good eh? Actually it was better than that because I got through an email from the website thanking me for the order and providing the list of my items and a new delivery date/time and another email with a £30 voucher before I even got the email from Justin King. It is of course most likely that he got someone to sort this out rather than arranging a delivery himself (I don’t think my name precedes me that much!) However, he did something and he wrote. At the very least he ensured that the Customer Service I received once the email to him had been read was superb.
Also worth a mention. I’ve often complained to Sainsbury’s and Tesco and without doubt Sainsbury’s respond more appropriately, do what they can to make amends and always provide vouchers. Treating your customers well and apologising with the word “sorry” and offering goodwill gestures encourages loyalty. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s how you address them that matters.
However, an update as of 05/05/15 I don’t think the new CEO is good for Sainsburys. Look at what he’s done with the rewards card. The jury is still out with Dave Lewis at Tesco but I do think it is going on the right direction. But who is loyal to any of them?
Said it before and I’ll say it again, customer service comes from the top. Justin King clearly sees that Customer Service is vital in gaining and retaining a top position over other supermarkets. It does work, I have been and will continue to use Sainsbury’s more. Compare this with Tesco customer service where there appears to be a quite different approach to customers.
Sainsbury’s contact details
Customer service email here
Customer service ‘phone numbers here
CEO email address here