public figures interview series

The complaining habits of public figures – Tim Johns

A series of interviews by The Complaining Cow

In my series of interviews with people in the public eye regarding their complaining habits, today is the turn of Tim Johns producer/reporter on the Jeremy Vine show.

Tim Johns outside BBC Building

Tim John’s complaining habits

1) Generally, do you complain to a company regarding a faulty item?
Unless the fault is pretty serious I probably wouldn’t complain. I’d send it back, sure, ask for a refund or a replacement, but I probably wouldn’t additionally make my annoyance known.

2) How much does the likely redress have to be before you will
complain and why?
I’d say ‘significant’. There needs to be a relatively serious problem before I engage in complaining because. To be frank I normally can’t be bothered! I’m not going to throw money away so if I’ve clearly been ‘wronged’ and can claim back what I’m due I will. But I don’t complain ‘speculatively’, frequently, or for very small sums.

3) How well do you know your legal rights (Consumer Rights Act, different sectors regulations etc.)
I’d don’t know them very well off by heart. However I would say that if I feel I’ve got a poor product of have had poor service and I do intend to complain, I’ll get clued up on my legal rights before I do register a complaint.

4) If you receive service over and above good do you give feedback?
I do! I actually do this more often than I complain. I do think people are pre-programmed to moan about about products and services more often than they praise them. I might praise companies on social media, on TripAdvisor, by giving it a good review on Amazon, or perhaps more often I’ll send a personal email. For example last year I praised the train company I commute on. I thought that, all things considered, they’d actually got me to work most of the time in a pretty efficient way and given the absolute heap of complaints they must (often rightly) receive, it would be nice for their staff to read something positive.
Also some family-members were in a nasty car crash recently but saved by the car and the airbags. I messaged my thanks to the car manufacturer and they passed it on to the department who design the safety features.

5) If you receive poor service how many people do you tell (include
your social media followers too!)
It depends how poor it is. I try to strictly limit ‘publicly complaining’ on Twitter. I have a fair few followers and I think with that comes some responsibility not to abuse it. Wild accusations against small companies on social media can be quite damaging to them. Equally, I think it can look pompous and self-important to try to leverage customer service ‘just because you have a lot of followers’.
However, when customer service is truly woeful it can be irresistible. For example after a huge drama with a hire car company, and after getting no-where by phone/email I tweeted them publicly and got a far better response by DM.
I guess like most people I whinge to friends about poor service in general.

6) If you receive good services how many people do you tell?
Not enough! I think ‘good’ service for most of us is what we expect. So it probably takes something or someone to go over and above, to be exceptional, before I start telling other people about it.

7) If you don’t really complain or it has to be a significant amount
in question before you will, what stops you from complaining?
Life is busy and normally I’d rather be doing other things. In part I also probably feel a bit awkward about it. I’d rather not cause a fuss, you know?

8) What do you think of using social media to complain?
Ah – see #5

9) Is customer service/being able to gain redress a factor when deciding where to purchase an item?
Yes. I would be a repeat customer to a company which I’ve noticed has particular good customer service, a quibble-free returns service and a compensatory attitude to complaints.

10) Do you ever contact a CEO of a company? If so at what point in the complaint process?
I never have.

11) If you have ever used an ADR scheme (ombudsman/mediation/arbitrator)
or gone to Small Claims Court tell us about it

I haven’t…

Tim Johns outside BBC building

About Tim Johns

Tim Johns is a producer and reporter with the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2, a weekday lunchtime current affairs programme reaching seven million adults in the UK.


Read about the interviewing habits of other public figures and consumer people in the series of interviews by The Complaining Cow

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