So bargains. We all love ’em unless of course you are too rich or idiotic to care! In which case you wouldn’t be reading my blog on either count. So last Christmas I thought I’d buy some Body Shop stuff as presents. Get this! 16% off through Topcashback* (that is the best cashback site, gives the most) then a 50% off code. So off I went to buy lots of stuff!
Apparently though, it would appear that lots of other people had the same thought and the site went down. Not completely. One could waste one’s time putting items in their basket only to not be able to checkout. I took to Twitter and Facebook, as did many other people. I emailed. I was told that due to all the problems of course they were inundated and one had to wait days for a reply. I am The Complaining Cow, I don’t do waiting.
I told the social media team on Twitter that I would get a response quicker than they said. They argued that I would not. I emailed the CEO of the Body Shop. I got a reply within five hours. Actually I got a ‘phone call within hours but as you know I don’t do ‘phone calls regarding complaints either!
I wrote explaining that I had been inconvenienced and that now the Topcashback percentage had gone down and casting doubts on the legality of the site stating that one could purchase items online when one couldn’t.
The CEO (Jeremy another one on first name terms this early on!) apologised, told me he had assigned the issue to someone else and would follow up. I thanked him and pointed out that I had deliberately finished my Christmas shopping in stores to continue on line and that the site had been down for many days. I put in a plea for everyone else too saying that I noted his remark regarding that he too would be frustrated and annoyed in the same position but nothing was being done about everyone else in the same position and that having the website down for so many days was just ridiculous. So to anyone else who had problems with The Body Shop website last Christmas I did try and sort it out for you too!
(Incidentally you can use ceoemail.com to find contact details for any CEO.)
Anyway I agreed to a ‘phone call to get my order in time and with all the discounts. Of course some of the items had gone out of stock in this time so I got a couple of upgrades for free a gift and a £10 voucher.
Excellent. Nope, look how it was delivered:
As you can see the oil lid was not on properly. Oil leaked over everything including my carpet.
So obviously I complained! Surely you would? Surely people would complain about this? Tell me why if you wouldn’t!
So back I went to my mate Jeremy and Sonja who had been dealing with this. (The chappie she got to ‘phone me each time was very good has to be said). I pointed out their legal obligations and of course they offered to pay for the carpet to be cleaned.
I was gutted, the professional clean got the stain out. Could have done with a new hallway carpet.
I spoke about this on ITV News:
Simple lessons for consumer and business
So consumers, if you don’t get the response you want when using social media go higher. Consumer rights, remember you have them! Make sure you have your legal rights to hand and be assertive, but not rude there is a difference. As for business, look it isn’t rocket science. You offer good bargains that close to Christmas your website is likely to have problems. To not be prepared is short sighted and the trouble caused reflects badly on your company. To continue not sorting the problem, several days later is daft isn’t it? Really? Prepare for problems and make sure you have the technical support to deal with any issues as soon as they arise. It’s no good thinking that you are going to bring in more sales with great offers if you can’t deliver. In this case deliver service and products safely! Look at every part of the team which is going to be under pressure with increase in orders which will increase with a backlog. Ensure that your social media team are geared up to help and assist customers not just spout the same useless lines all the time. It isn’t their fault if they are not helping customers IF they have not been given the tools and resources to resolve problems.
So am I right? To me, it’s just common sense. It’s not rocket science to prepare for a promotion. Getting your website to work properly and putting in measures to deal with problems before they arise? Is it more complicated than I would suggest?
Here is a lesson in why you should always complain. A few months ago my mother and I were in Dunelm and ordered and paid for 2 cream teas. It was a little after 1.30pm. Our money was taken and the assistant made the tea and then told us that there were no scones. We were told that there had been a rush on. I know, a rush at lunchtimes for cream tea, hilarious! It might have been in the lovely West Country but Dunelm is hardly the cream tea mecca of the world!
The assistant then had to go and ask someone to do the refund. Eventually someone came and then took a ridiculous length of time to work out how to do the refund! In this time my mother had actually drunk her tea and my son eaten his biscuit! My tea had gone cold. Now, depriving me of my tea is not good. In fact it’s just a little bit short of very very very silly ‘cos it doesn’t go down well….
So guess what I did? No, no, actually I didn’t complain.
Oh of course I did, what do you take me for?! Just not there and then! Always dubious about complaining in eateries, you never know what someone may do! But as I always say in my tips anyway, complaining in writing is nearly always better.
I wrote to the manager and told him that although the assistant was polite, I did not see how there can have been a rush of cream teas over the start of the lunchtime period or how she could not have known that the last one had been served! It is also poor staff management for staff not to know how to issue refunds! (note management fault NOT the member of staff – unless they have been shown of course..) While I was there complaining I also pointed out that in the ladies toilets neither cubicle had any toilet paper. Added the usual won’t use your services again and would be interested in feedback and waited.
Few days later I got a very nice letter back. The Manager was very apologetic. Someone hadn’t undertaken the ordering properly, training was being undertaken etc etc. Here’s a tenner to spend on the next visit. So sent the letter to my mother and she took her friend there one day. My mother being my mother and being a nice person, (I know, some of my genes are unique and not “very unique” as those XFactor fools will keep saying. You can’t be VERY unique, FOOLs, (albeit rich fools which is just unfair!) anyway I digress) tentatively gave over the letter and then got chatting with the Manager for who knows how long! He apologised again explained that someone had been sacked (look, don’t have a go at me, I don’t think someone got sacked just because they didn’t order enough scones and cream!!! I was a firm but fair manager and even I would need much more than that! That’s not to say that at other times I’ve probably been instrumental in disciplinary procedures… oh get off your high horse, think what would happen if people never got into trouble for not doing their job properly! I told someone the other day that I didn’t do subtlety, don’t understand it, I take things at face value and don’t understand hidden agendas and politics with that small “t”. “Oooooh doesn’t that get you into trouble at work?” she said. Yup, yup it does! Anyway I digress… again) and then found out all about the latest shop developments to happen in the area! So she was very happy!
I love the complaints that only take five minutes and you get a good return. Also to be fair let me point out that the redress was good from Dunelm. Not like Tesco eh?! So it just goes to show you that you should always complain! Done properly you always gain something and so actually does the company and they are getting some praise here too! It’s not about gaining freebies. I didn’t anyway! I gave it to my Mum like a good dutiful daughter! Yes I know if you were my mother you’d want more than £10 as compensation but hey ho, thems the breaks. My time was wasted and I wanted redress for that. In addition, they annoyed my mother and given what happens to people who annoy my mother I think they got off lightly don’t you?! It’s rare that you actually end up having to go to court!!