Fewer than 45% of People in the UK Use their Consumer Rights

Well that was interesting. Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey How, When and Why Do You Complain?

Key findings

How many people complain?
According to this survey undertaken July 2014 70% of us complain when we receive poor service. This rises to 90% who complain when we purchase a faulty item. If you look to your own networks this doesn’t really ring true and I think many people put that they generally complain because they felt that they should! Or it is not every time they receive poor service. Or many of those complaints are not successful in gaining redress. This theory is backed up by answers to another question, “If you usually don’t complain is it because…” Now, 59% of respondents gave reasons and only 41% said that they always complained.  However, complaining is on the increase and the latter figures fit in with The Ombudsman’s report on complaining. 38 million customers complained in 2013. But 40 million more complaints went unaddressed as people stayed quiet. 48% and 52%.

In addition, as detailed below many more people are now using social media to complain and some people may consider writing a 140 character tweet as regularly complaining! It’s not necessarily always gaining redress and it’s very difficult to assert your legal rights in 140 characters!

46% say that when they don’t complain it is because it is too much effort or takes too much time.

Gaining redress
When considering purchasing an item/service either online or in store how easy it will be to gain redress if anything goes wrong is a factor in 74% of people’s decision making about where to buy (either sometimes or always). The same number of people shop online as do in store because they think it will be easier to return an item that way.

How well do you know your legal rights?
This is what I found the most interesting. Given that 70- 90% of people say they always complain, only 7% said they know their legal rights well and use them regularly. 5% know the basics of the Sale and Supply of Goods Act and Supply of Goods and Services Act. A further 33% will check out their rights before complaining, so assuming that they won’t always do that for various reasons, we know that fewer than 45% of people use their legal rights. So 7 + 5 + 33 = the 45% but I believe that is lower as some of the 33% won’t always check out their legal rights and complain.

Uswitch undertook a survey in May 2014 and found that almost two fifths of consumers (38%) are unsure about their rights and 36% say they do not know them well. Only 4% claim to be truly confident.

How many people do you tell about poor service?
Remember the line “Receive good service tell 1, receive poor service tell 10”? Not any more.
Less than 2% of people tell no-one.
49% tell 1 – 10 people
11% tell 10 – 20 and now
38% tell hundreds and sometimes thousands of people due to social media.
So companies be warned! It is wholly irrelevant how many complaints you actually receive! Less than 60% don’t always complain but look how many people are they telling?

Social media
68% of respondents use social media to complain.
37% of those find it effective sometimes
16% find it always effective
12% find it is never effective
Clearly social media is on the rise. There are more details on what social media works for in complaining here.

When you receive good service do you give feedback?
The majority of people think they do. I think some customer service people may disagree!

Summary
It would appear that people think they complain more than they do, certainly less know their legal rights. There is an increase in using social media to complain and whilst this may be considered complaining, it often doesn’t gain the legal redress that longer correspondence elicits. The main reasons for people not complaining are that it takes too much time and effort which might suggest that companies make it difficult to complain? Thoughts around how easy it is to gain redress when things go wrong are becoming a key factor in where people choose to buy.

People really need to complain more. If they did perhaps service would improve it would have to. And now, to help you, here’s a book! #complainlikeacow

How to Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and RESULTS! Take a look at the reviews too! #chuffed 🙂

Don’t forget, The Complaining Cow’s Top 20 Tips Tips here and video here:

Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow BBC Breakfast TV Discusses How We Complain in the UK

The Real Reason Tesco Clarke Was Pushed!

Because he never listened to anyone, least of all the customers.

child with fingers in her ears

Just like a child he thought he knew best, but unlike the child who learns to listen…

Who’s Philip Clark?

Philip Clarke was the CEO of Tesco from 2011 to 2014. During that period he frittered away 1 billion pounds of Tesco’s money on a failed recovery plan in the UK. He was widely known for not listening to his business colleagues and in my own experience did not listen to customers either

Who says Clarke didn’t listen?

Well, firstly, followers of this blog, know that I do and have frequently said it on many a blog post, including the very first one and Facebook status over the last couple of years. I have described how, many times he has ignored the comments of customers, ignored the complaints, ignored ideas to improve customer service and ignored opportunities to do something different and not just cut prices. Stick “Tesco complaint” into Google and up come the contact pages and my blog! I think that’s quite funny. But on a more serious note, what that and my statistics on which pages get the most views and comments (and their content) on Tesco posts show, is that people really want to complain about Tesco, are interested in other complaints about Tesco and want to know what else to do when they can’t get redress from all the contacts.

But hey, I’m just a customer, what do I know?

What did I say?

I won’t bore those of you who have read all, or at least some of my Tesco posts by going on one of my rants but in short I have always maintained:

  1. he ignored emails from customers (and by this I mean he didn’t even pass down to his executive team and many people have said this) Justin King of Sainsbury’s didn’t
  2. he didn’t go to the shop floor and talk to staff and find out what was going on, or ask for their ideas (after all they are customers too) Justin King of Sainsbury’s did…
  3. he didn’t look at or respond to my posts on here, Justin King did….
  4. he didn’t thank customers for bringing complaints to his attention, or apologise for  or learn from, complaints sent by customers,  Justin King did..
  5. that Clarke should have been sacked..

Justin King left Sainsbury’s this month having turned the place around, maybe he was getting out when he knew things were going to change who knows? But what we do know is that Justin King took up the post when the place was in trouble, Phillip Clarke didn’t. Although it was about to hit trouble of course and King’s replacement may be in the same kind of sinking ship as Clarke was. The new Tesco chappie has the opportunity to do what King did.

But hey, I’m just a customer, what do I know?

What did others say about Clarke leaving Tesco?

A few things:

  • One former Tesco director said Clarke, 54, “confused activity with progress,” took a series of “short term knee jerk decisions” and had failed to listen to colleagues. “Phil has never listened, Phil is a teller,” he said (Reuters)
  • Analysts said that Lewis’ “…experience with branding could help a company that was no longer associated by many Britons with either low prices or quality.”
  • ” … as shareholders and business analysts bemoan the falls in revenues, profits and market share. But he said: ‘I don’t listen to what others have to say about us’” said Clarke, quoted just 9 days ago…

But hey, I’m just a customer, what do I know?

New chappie at Tesco

photo of Dave Lewis

Dave Lewis, currently the head of Unilever’s personal care division. Lewis will be the first chief executive of Tesco who has not come from within the company. As someone who worked in local authority for many years and saw people being promoted from within to jobs way beyond their capability and by the same token seen many a useless highly paid consultant come in when the authority could have given someone extra duties and back filled the post, I personally think that’s probably a very good move.

But hey, I’m just a customer, what do I know?

According to this article in the Guardian today, Nick Bubb a veteran retail analyst said “Dave Lewis knows nothing about retailing, but maybe that doesn’t matter, because as a leading supplier he certainly knows how to win price wars and perhaps that is the big issue now facing Tesco in the UK.” Sir Richard Broadbent, chairman of Tesco, says Lewis knows the supermarket chain well”. “He knows the brand. He knows consumers. He is the right person to bring that perspective.” Ah now there’s the thing. He “knows consumers”. Does he? Does he listen to them and deliver what they want or is he going to tell everyone what consumers want? Clarke believed he knew consumers and what they wanted but he didn’t listen to any of them.

But hey I’m just a customer, what do I know?

See The Complaining Cow’s history with Tesco for lots of posts about challenging Tesco, meeting and interviewing the CEO and THAT court case!