Customer service in stores and Head Office!

  spuds 11:14 25 Mar 09
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Do you find them really effective in dealing with consumers complaints or problems!.

Over the past few months I have found it very frustrating to have to join a usually slow moving queue, raising a complaint or problem, then still seeing the same overcharge or misleading advert display later in the week/month.

Writing to head office, usually brings the normal apologetic response and perhaps a voucher, 'for your troubles'. But is this the way forward, or doe's consumer law and perhaps regulatory enforcers require further action plans!.

  interzone55 12:27 25 Mar 09

To side with the retailers I have to ask what exactly you expect.

The average supermarket will have 10-20 thousand product lines in stock.
They also don't have national pricing, some products will have different prices in different stores, and prices will change at least twice a week. So your looking at around 1/2 a million pricing records.

That's a lot of prices to organise, and get right.

Now most retailers are not out to deliberately defraud customers, but mistakes do happen, and I would think that when there's a queue of customers a mile long, fixing that pricing mistake you pointed out just gets pushed further and further down the to-do list...

  spuds 12:59 25 Mar 09

I agree with you to some extent, as to individual pricing structures, and perhaps availability of 'advertised' stock.

But a few months ago, I had cause to take up an issue of overcharging at a major supermarket local checkout, and in-store advertising for a certain product. Over a period of four weeks, the in-store advertisement and price being charged at not changed, even though I was assured 'immediate action' would be taken. Seeing that other people in the meantime was or had a similar experience of being overcharged, I took the matter up with Head Office. An apologetic letter and voucher was issued, but this didn't really address the continuation of people being overcharged in that particular for week span. I recall last year, that one major supermarket was fined £16.000 for ignoring trading standards repeated advice of overcharging at one London store.

The same could perhaps be stated about 'guess your own price' on reduced price section counters or shelves. Items that are at their final 'use by' date, yet the pricing structure and labelling is confusing.

Most people haven't the time or inclination to queue and make a complaint over a few pence, but I am a great believer of helping my fellow person, if at all possible ;o)

  interzone55 16:57 25 Mar 09

With the reduced price products the pricing, in the supermarkets i visit, is usually attached to the products, so price on shelf should be irrelevant.

As for your example of the wrong price being displayed for 4 weeks, on my second visit I'd have reported it to trading standards...

  BT 17:09 25 Mar 09

I had an issue with the giving of 'Green Clubcard Points' at my local Tesco. An Email to their main Customer Services Dept. at Head Office brought a very quick response, and the appearance of obviously 'Homemade' notices on the checkouts reminding customers to make sure they were getting the points they were entitled to, pointed to the fact that the local management had been 'Reminded' of their obligations.

A similar approach regarding a serious H&S issue brought a very quick response.

  spuds 17:38 25 Mar 09

Funny that you should mention two similar experiences to that of myself.

In the case of Trading Standards, our local TS appears to contact the relevant TS in the Head Office location area, and the 'designated TS officer' for that company.They then hope or perhaps assume the matter will then be taken over!.

With regards to Green Points, our local Tesco checkout operators seem to forget to add these to the receipt on a few occasions, even after reminding. According to the checkout supervisor's, they are "constantly reminding the checkout staff" about this error!.

On the subject of Green Points, our local Tesco gives 1 point per reusable bag, 10 points for large cardboard/plastic storage container or box. Recently, they were offering as a special recycling offer of 20 Green Points if you used surplus cardboard boxes from the store. On a number of occasions, only 10 points were given due to checkout operator's forgetfulness.

Surprising how the advantage always seems to be in the stores favour at the cost of perhaps customer or consumer relations!.

  laurie53 21:28 25 Mar 09

Sorry but I find it difficult to accept the "half a million pricing records" reasoning.

If you're running a business you should have the relevant infrastructure in place no matter how big. or how small, you are.

  interzone55 21:36 25 Mar 09

The store will have - but the staff may not.

You wander round a superstote, look how many price tickets there are - most of those will change twice a week, not an easy task to get exactly right, every time. Especially when the job will be done by night staff who may have 2 or 3 other jobs, or be studying during the day.

As a possible solution to this problem, one of the local Co-Op stores has started to introduce electronic shelf edge tickets. These are little LCD displays that are automatically updated...

  laurie53 07:15 26 Mar 09

Point taken on shelf pricing.

I was referring more to the checkout price which should be done on the central database but is all too often wrong.

  BT 07:36 26 Mar 09

On a second occasion when I wasn't given 'Green Clubcard Points' I went to the customer services desk and complained. Their answer was that the checkout operators were "very busy, its up to you to ask". As the operator has to press a button to confirm it I disagreed and sent another Email to Head Office. Since then I've always received my points and many times the checkout operator now actually gives the points without asking how many bags I've used. Presumably the Local Manager has had his A**e kicked once more.

  interzone55 09:52 26 Mar 09

How do you know the checkout price was wrong?

Usually the checkout price is correct, but the advertising, POS, shelf tickets etc are wrong.

The only time it would be incorrect is if the nightly batch update had failed.

When you say "but is all too often wrong", how often is it wrong?

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