A series of interviews by The Complaining Cow
In my series of interviews with people in the consumer world regarding their complaining habits, today is the turn of Octopus Energy CEO Greg Jackson.
1) Generally, do you complain to a company regarding a faulty item?
Only where I think they’ll be relatively straightforward in dealing with it.
2) How much does the likely redress have to be before you will complain and why?
For me, It’s less about the amount than the hassle. If I think I’ll get reasonable redress without too much hassle, great! But I simply haven’t got time or mental energy to get into long drawn out issues.
4) If you receive service over and above good do you give feedback?
Yes. I try to make a point of it. If it’s personal service, by tipping and complimenting and ideally letting a manager know. And I’ll often visit tripadvisor or twitter to give positive feedback.
Recent examples include:
Incredible service from @FatLlamaHQ. Register online at 830pm, get phone call at 9pm saying "looks like the owner of the van you wanted to hire says it's not available. Let me ring around for you…" And by 930pm a van is booked. #jointheherd 🤘
— Greg Jackson (@g__j) February 20, 2019
5) If you receive poor service how many people do you tell (include
your social media followers too!)
You know, I used to do social media a lot – but I’ve realised that people are much more likely to complain on Twitter (etc.) than compliment – so I try to redress the balance a bit and consciously don’t tweet complaints in anger any more. I very occasionally use it to try to get something resolved, but have found that companies who are poor at handling complaints offline, by phone or by email tend to be equally bad on twitter etc. But I do tell friends, family and colleagues when I think something was poor. I do try to distinguish between culturally poor, and a poor experience because of an individual, etc. and am far less forgiving of the former.
6) If you receive good services how many people do you tell?
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?
Mental energy – Moving on is usually less stressful.
8) What do you think of using social media to complain?
I’ve realised that people are much more likely to complain on twitter (etc) than compliment – so I try to redress the balance a bit and consciously don’t tweet complaints in anger any more. I very occasionally use it to try to get something resolved, but have found that companies who are poor at handling complaints offline, by phone or by email tend to be equally bad on twitter etc.
Social media is effective at complaining against organisations who care about their image – but then so, generally, is every other form of complaint. But I’ve tried complaining against crap organisations on Twitter – like the High Street electrical retailer who took my 90 year old gran for a ride with utterly pointless aftercare insurance – and then didn’t pay out on it and treated her terribly, but nothing was effective – complaints procedure, Twitter, email the CEO. That was infuriating. But the more I pushed the more infuriated I got, with no progress – so I’ll simply never use them again.
9) Is customer service/being able to gain redress a factor when
deciding where to purchase an item
Yes… because I don’t have bandwidth to deal with crap redress, so I just purchase from places I’m confident that things will go smoothly, and if not that complaints will be handled well. I’ll never use a majopr online hotel booking site for this reason, but I’ll pay a little more to use one which handles issues better.
10) Do you ever contact a CEO of a company? If so at what point in the complaint process?
Yes… I tend to do it quite early because as a CEO myself, I want to see how they handle it.
11) If you have ever used an ADR scheme (ombudsman/mediation/arbitrator) or gone to the Small Claims Court tell us about it
Not really. I just don’t use businesses where this is likely to be an issue.
Read about the interviewing habits of other public figures in the series of interviews by The Complaining Cow
Greg is also featured in my blog post Why CEOs should have a presence on social media.
About Greg Jackson
Greg is an experienced entrepreneur and passionate advocate of technology-driven innovation, particularly in legacy industries where customers are underserved. He’s founded a number of successful businesses and served as Director of innovative businesses, including Zopa, the world’s first peer to peer lender, which has now lent several billion pounds fairly and responsibly whilst generating excellent interest rates for lenders.
As a technology entrepreneur, Greg built and sold ecommerce company C360, built HomeServe’s innovation business and is an angel investor in a wide range of tech startups.
He founded Octopus Energy in 2015. Octopus Energy uses technology to be highly efficient – empowering customers with a full digital experience, and then using the same systems to provide the highest standards of support to its customers by phone, email and chat. This technology allows Octopus to challenge normal energy models, challenging ‘tease and squeeze’ practices by offering good value to new and loyal customers, and maximising price transparency.
And if you need help with complaining effectively and making sure you are never fobbed off. GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!