Yesterday Martin Lewis asked for people who have had successes with gaining money back using Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Obviously I have! More than once! Having good stories to tell I got in contact with Laura. She wanted me to come in to be interviewed this morning. I couldn’t because I wouldn’t have been able to get there in time (despite her kind offers of help). She told me that for the rest of the series they will be looking at people that need Martin’s help on various topics. This is the only segment where they needed to find people to talk about their success stories. For example, they’d be looking for someone who has had a private parking ticket further down the line, but not someone who has already successfully appealed against it. (Of course I have had success appealing a parking ticket!)
The excellent Watchdog, and charismatic Dominic Littlewood etc. all focus on people who need help in gaining redress. How about a programme showing people who are doing it without help? Don’t get me wrong, there is certainly a place for these informative programmes (even threatening to take matters to Watchdog is often enough to get what you want!) and they do cover the more difficult ones where often I would simply be taking the company to Court. (Yes done that and won too more than once!) However, in addition to this style of programme wouldn’t it be good to see normal people challenging CEOs on their customer service? Or simply gaining redress on simple matters? Wouldn’t that make for a different kind of programme? It would be just as helpful as the other types. Sometimes people watch Watchdog and think that there’s no point in trying to gain redress from companies because it’s too difficult, takes too long or they don’t have the knowledge. I would love to see (be part of even!) a programme where average people assert their legal rights and indeed are part of improving customer service with their feedback. This might encourage people to fight too! I’d give Anne Robinson a run for her money if I could speak with Phillip Clarke CEO of Tesco who ignored me! More than once. Perhaps some more women on there too BBC?!
Would you like to see a programme where you see people fight back at companies treating them inappropriately? Find it interesting, useful, and/or helpful? Who wants to put the TV series proposal together?!
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.
Now, one of my ploys when something is, to be perfectly honest, partly my fault, is to find how it is possible for it not to be my fault! Then add this to the poor customer service and take it further. 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 site . 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