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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

 

 

 

 

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Business Good customer service Latest News

Asda listens and takes action

Supermarket giant responds to consumer activist Jack Monroe’s campaign

In a spectacular move, the activist and campaigner Jack Monroe got Asda listening and taking action. Less than a month after tweeting that supermarkets needed to make their cheaper products more available, the supermarket giant has responded positively.

On Twitter on 12 February 2022, she announced that Asda had reduced prices and made the cheaper products available in all its stores.

Monroe has shown what can be done when people really want to make a difference and take action. This change will help thousands of people across the country.

The pasta test

The cheapest pasta available in her local Asda supermarket cost 70p per 500g in January 2022. Thanks to Jack’s campaigning it’s now been cut down to 29p. That’s the same price as it was last year.

She got huge support on social media and she praised Asda for its speedy and great response.

Handling complaints properly

A well-handled complaint is one where the customer has been shown empathy, listened to, understood, treated fairly and given a satisfactory response in a timely manner. That’s certainly what has happened here where Monroe took the voice of the people to Asda.

The outcome clearly shows that by listening to customers, both retailers and customers will gain from the win-win situation.  Asda does the right thing, gets lots of free publicity (the story was reported in mainstream press as well as going viral on Twitter). The supermarket will consequentially increase sales, as many people will undoubtedly choose Asda over another supermarket, if they have a choice!

Which?’s research Aldi pips Lidl to cheapest supermarket of the year (published 22/01/22) showed that grocery prices were rising sharply.

The consumer champion said

Which?’s analysis uncovered an average price rise of 3.4 per cent for a trolley of 19 items across all the supermarkets. Waitrose prices went up the most (9.2%), and Sainbury’s the least (0.59%)”

Which?’s table:

Supermarket Grocery basket price rise Jan – Dec 2021 (%)
Sainsbury’s 0.59%
Tesco 0.89%
Ocado 1.62%
Morrisons 2.50%
Asda 2.89%
Aldi 4.32%
Lidl 5.13%
Waitrose 9.20%

What do other supermarkets say?

Interestingly, I asked Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Tesco for comment.

Sainsbury’s replied with a long statement regarding the work it was doing regarding prices. A spokesperson said that they are

“… using Jack Monroe’s Vimes Boots Index as an example and expanding it further to include a full basket of 71 essential items including other fresh items popular with customers, two thirds of items have either stayed the same price or reduced compared to last year and this rises to a similar majority when compared to 2020.”

At the point of publishing, more than 24 hours after requesting a statement, neither Morrisons nor Tesco had replied.

Tesco – once the listener

Dave Lewis, the former Tesco Group CEO, turned the chain around during his 2014-2020 leadership. Much of this was put down to listening to customers and doing what they sought. My relationship Case Study: Tesco and a consumer champion demonstrated this a number of times.

It included an exclusive interview with the UK CEO and Dave Lewis and me. The interview was unique, asking real questions from real customers.

Tesco | Complaining Cow meets Dave Lewis and Matt Davies

 

Within Dave’s first year, for example:Tesco trading

We had a number of disagreements which he acknowledged and took on as feedback! But, perhaps surprisingly, we also agreed on many things. Sadly, the new CEO seems to have made it clear that he does not wish to continue communicating with me in the same way as Dave did. We are yet to see if this approach goes wider than not listening to this consumer champion and whether he listens and responds to Jack Monroe or indeed any customers.

The Complaining Cow – free support for businesses

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 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.