Imagine… you are at the checkout in Tesco and have just bought eight bottles of Taittinger Champagne as gifts for clients… the scene is set for an excursion into poor customer service which we can all learn some lessons from.
So back to the till… As you go to put them in your various bags for life a Tesco employee skips up and takes six bottles, replacing them with some pink fizzy nonsense and by way of explanation says that someone had already bought the bottles online.
Actually the sorry episode I’ve just witnessed over the past painful few days was different, but the principle remains the same. My better half bought the eight bottles online, they were available and she paid and delivery would be the next day.
Two bottles of Champagne arrived… with six inferior bottles of pink Champagne as replacements and when challenged, Tesco’s explanation was that someone had bought the other bottles in store. So to be clear, bottles which had been offered for sale, accepted, paid for and promised were then actually sold to someone else?
Really? Is that what passes for stock management at Tesco? You are able to sell something and promise it to a customer and then take it away and sell it to another customer and replace it with an inferior product.
Naturally in the days that followed there was sorry excuse after sorry excuse and the next promised delivery didn’t turn up and various coupons and platitudes were offered, before it finally turned up in a remarkably allotted ten minute window on Sunday morning.
There is scarcely a day when Tesco is not in the news for some failure or another and all the time you just know it is haemorrhaging customers faster than you can mutter ‘Champagne? Bit of a first world problem surely?’
Rather than crying over the spilt milk in aisle three Tesco needs to get a grip for this kind of customer experience has as much to do with why the likes of Aldi and Lidl are thriving as does price.
The lesson is blisteringly simple. Do not continue to offer for sale something you have already sold!
There is a PR lesson too… when you mess up like this today there is every chance it will be lived out on Facebook and perhaps someone will blog the sorry story and share that widely. Gone are the days when a snafu like this could be hushed away with platitudes.
Surely good customer service should be borne of a desire to help and provide a great experience, therefore engendering loyalty. Failing that, surely you should recognise that sloppy customer service is the bread and butter of social media rants and how many customers does that alienate?
I suspect the beleaguered Chief Executive Philip Clarke will be getting a letter about this very soon and no doubt the response will be informative…
Have you had an interesting customer experience with Tesco? Or any of the other supermarkets? Do share, good and bad examples are welcome as are tales of what you do to provide great customer service.