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Tesco – Every Little Helps – Unless It’s Customer Service

September 5, 2010 by  

tescoFor a company that goes all out to entice customers into their stores, with their ‘every little helps’ tag line and numerous voice overs from stars, I’m afraid the level of customer service is going down hill.

And funnily enough it appears to be coming from management outside of the branches.  I’ve had a spell working for a small branch of Tesco’s so I do feel justified in making these comments.

My first complaint is with the ‘fantastic’ voucher swapping they have been advertising.  Just pop in to your local branch and exchange your £5 vouchers to double the amount.  Wow . . . on the advert she just handed the vouchers over and IMMEDIATELY got given the £10 vouchers.  Not so in real life.

I only had a small amount but never the less having double the amount to spend in store was worth it.  Imagine my and other customers disappointment when we turned up to find out the system was ‘off line’.  My husband jokingly asked if they’d turned the system off and on again. We were told we could go to another local store who were still on line to change our vouchers and then come back in store to spend them.   The problem with that was the fact that if the whole system was playing up we could have ended up going to the other store only to find out they were down too.

We don’t go to our big store often (it looks such a mess in there and the clothes department looks like a jumble sale) but I knew they had school blazers from the year before that my son liked.  With the system down the staff had absolutely no back up plan.  It was a case of the ‘computer says no’.  We asked why they couldn’t sort something out at the tills but this was beyond the staff.  I asked to see the manager and was seen by a Compliance Manager who tried in vain to call Head Office but kept getting an answering service.

It was a Sunday when we went, but, if you insist on opening on a Sunday then provide a full service, not a half hearted one.  The Head Office had left their stores in chaos.

The only saving grace was that as we headed towards the tills we realised the system had come back on.  They’d rebooted it (so my husband was right!).  This then caused queues while people had their vouchers exchanged which took ages!!  Not a straight forward swap like on television.

The second problem was they didn’t have any blazers in my son’s size.  I therefore asked when they would be getting their next delivery only to be told – we don’t know.  We should be getting some in within the next few days but we don’t know what will be sent through was the response.  I’m sorry but not being able to tell a customer what stock is coming in is pretty poor.  Again a Head Office issue not the staff within the branches.

I duly went back in a couple of days later to find that they’d had any more.  I asked someone else who repeated the same line of we don’t know what will be coming in.  I was about to really get cross when I had to check myself because I was angry with the wrong person.  I could look on line I was told, but with a growing son I needed for him to try a blazer on.

I asked the staff member if they had a suggestion box and was told that a number of staff had made suggestions about the ordering process.

My mother phoned another store to find out they had one blazer left in the size we thought my son needed and they offered to hold it for 24 hours.  She took my son to try it on only to find that they hadn’t actually put it by for her.  They found one for him but it was too small.  Good job Asda was close by because this is where we ended up spending our money.

The upper echelons of Tesco really need to re-think their customer service attitude and get their hands dirty on the shop floor to see the problems staff face.

In the small branch I worked we had 2 self scan check outs along with 3 people operated ones.  I suggested (amongst many other things) that there should be someone posted on the tills at all times so that there is a point of contact when a customer comes into the shop.  I was told that Tesco is all about productivity and they wouldn’t like that.  So that sums it up really.

Get the numbers right but stuff the customers.

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