WDDTY update – Appaling customer service from Tesco

This post is a follow up to ‘WDDTY – make your voice heard’

After reading these comments left by MikeH on the Quackometer blog;

“I used to work for the Tesco customer service HQ (which is based in Dundee, their administrative HQ is based in Cheshunt) on evenings and weekends when I was an undergrad student. I responded to customer complaints that came in by e-mail or letter (evenings) and by phone (weekends).

Bear in mind when contacting the customer service department that you are not talking to the company. You are in all probability speaking to a student or yound adult who isn’t even employed by Tesco (most of us were employed by the temping agency “Search”) who is sitting in a drab office, counting down the minutes until they can go home and forget, completely and utterly, about Tesco until their next tedious shift. They couldn’t give a rat’s fat arse about Tesco or anything to do with it. It’s just a job they’re doing until Search (or whatever temp agency they’re using now) punts them on to another call centre down the road (BT or Mastercard or whatever).

When the email pops up on their screen, they skim read it, do a keyword search on the company’s software which will call up a pre-written letter and they’ll batter that off to the customer. There is some scope for customising responses but, as I said, these people don’t work for Tesco and have absolutely no power to change anything and, anyway, they’re more interested in chatting to their neighbour about what’s going on at the student union that weekend, so nine times out of ten they’ll just go with the default. Moreover, they have a quota of e-mails that need responded to in a shift so, in the interests of avoiding some annoying ear-bashing from their manager, they’d mostly prefer to deal with issues via the path of least resistance (i.e. skim reading and stock letters). They then have to fill out a summary form, with the customer’s details and they “categorise” the complaint using an extensive menu of complaint categories (some are amusingly specific: “prawns were glowing in the dark” was a good one; some are exceedingly vague). The idea is that a spike in complaints in a certain category will alert management, who will investigate. But I would not rely on this system. Half the time, the staff just stick in the first category they see, knowing that the record will just disappear into obscurity alongside the literally millions of other records and will never be seen again.

I would either (a) ignore the customer service centre entirely, and contact the administrative HQ in Cheshunt; or (b) phone the customer service centre (don’t write in the first instance) and immediately ask to speak to the most senior manager available, tell that person of the issue, get their name and postal address and follow it up in writing with them.

Contacting the front-line customer service staff may get you somewhere eventually, but it’s going to be exceedingly inefficient.”

I tried emailing Tesco corporate services with a complaint against the stock emails being sent to people complaining about WDDTY.

Showing just how much Tesco care about the issue this is what they did:

To: customer.service@tesco.co.uk
From: cr.enquiries@uk.tesco.com
Received: 24/09/2013

Subject: FW: Unsatisfactory customer service

Followed swiftly by this from customer services:

Dear Matthew

Thank you for your email.

I understand you have concerns over the magazine, What Doctors Don’t Tell You, and I can appreciate your views on the matter.

 We are in the position of offering our customers choice rather than appointing ourselves as censors or moral guardians. The publisher of this magazine prints on page 3 a liability statement advising readers to consult a qualified practitioner before undertaking any treatment.

 While we cannot comment on the contents of these magazines, your comments have been duly noted and fed back to our Buying Teams.

Kind regards
Sandeep Dhiman
Tesco Customer Service

Look familiar?!

Thanks Tesco.


Have now replied to Corporate Services over the above with this:
Dear Tesco,

 I find it highly offensive that you would disregard my email complaining about your customer service team sending stock emails out regarding the magazine What Doctors Don’t Tell You, by forwarding it on to your customer service team, who then send me the same email again!
This is wholly unacceptable.
I contacted Corporate Services to try and get some sort of reasonable response to my complaint.  I explained that members of the public that email your Customer Service team all receive the same stock email, which I find ignorant and disgraceful. It shows that you are not listening to your customers views and due to the sensitive nature of the complaint – show that you don’t care for the health and well-being of your customers.
I do not expect to have my complaint disregarded so flippantly that you just send it on to Customer Services.  If you could be so kind as to acknowledge mine, and the other customers complaints over WDDTY, with an actual response to why you find it acceptable to sell biased, dis-proven and unproven medical information to the public.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Dr Matthew Lam

5 thoughts on “WDDTY update – Appaling customer service from Tesco

  1. Pingback: WDDTY: My Master List | Josephine Jones

  2. At least you got a reply! One week on and I’m still waiting for even the meanest acknowledgement of my response to their stock “I understand you have concerns over the magazine, What Doctors Don’t Tell You, and I can appreciate your views on the matter” email. Appalling.

  3. Pingback: WDDTY – Tesco choose profit over people | Western Sloth

  4. What nobody here seems to apprehend is that there is not a level playing field for natural and alternative medicine. Substantive randomised clinical trials cost millions of pounds to undertake, and as natural products cannot be patented such an undertaking cannot be contemplated, as there is simply no-way to recoup the massive investment needed.

    I became a convert to natural medicine for one reason, and one reason alone – because it works – profoundly, remarkably, and completely.

    With every health condition I’ve experienced, I have indulged my doctor and his prescription remedies with little or no effect. On every occasion, I’ve gone on to research and identify a natural remedy that has completely cured and reversed my condition, while modern medicine has entirely failed me.

    Let me give you just one quick example of what I mean. Science has yet to conclude a substantive study which proves outright the benefits of the Echinacea herb. Yet after suffering severe bronchitis every year for 10 years I stepped out on a limb and gave it a try. As a result, I’ve completely eliminated bronchitis for the last 9 years running. No more Christmas’s ruined by the misery of painful coughing and wheezing due to a terrible infection. Result – one very happy camper!

    If you want to wait until the benefits of Echinacea have been completely substantiated, go right ahead. For me, I prefer to make my own mind-up and live healthily and happily now, thank you very much. I’ve now cured and reversed every condition from IBS to heart disease. I literally owe my life to natural medicine – and have often been led toward the cure by articles such as those you are so ready to criticise and condemn. Call me crazy – but I believe articles like these are doing more good for the health and wellbeing of our nation than the entire medical establishment combined (who admittedly do much good). And I will continue to invest my money and my faith in natural remedies – because they work – full stop. A fact which is a far cry from the barrage of synthetic chemicals produced by corrupt drug companies which are deliberately designed to do nothing more than mask and ameliorate the symptoms of disease. If you care for your health and that of your loved ones, I sincerely hope you leave your bias under you seat long enough to discover this happy truth for yourself.

    And the good news is that as high quality natural supplements pose no risk to your health, you can experiment and try them out for size until you find one that gives you the results you’re looking for. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of pharmaceutical drugs. Death due to adverse drug effects is now estimated to be the fourth leading cause of death in the world.

    Unfortunately, due to the dynamics of modern medicine, natural medicine will be forced to remain the poor brother to the pharmaceutical industry – and those of us who have experienced the life-changing benefits of natural medicine will have to continue to rely on tradition and small scale studies to uncover the truths of nature’s miraculous remedies.

  5. Pingback: What Dr. Who Doesn't Tell You » WWDDTYDTY

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