Who’s to blame for poor customer service?

Don’t bury your head in the sand when it comes to complaints.

Who is really to blame for bad customer service: the shop or the customer?

Well, according to a company that has developed a complaint and feedback management application, the real problem is usually with the customers themselves — although that doesn’t mean retailers are exonerated for poor service.

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“It’s simple. As long as customers are reluctant to complain, then nothing changes,” says Andrew Aldred at managemycomplaints.com, which conceived the system. “But what really matters is how and who they complain to.”

Referring to the recent Secret Shopper series broadcast on Channel 4, Aldred says that retail consultant host Mary Portas advocates customers direct their complaints to the store manager and take their custom elsewhere if not satisfied, but argues the reality is that most customers will put up with bad service.

He adds: “What customers need to do is complain in store. Then complain again to head office! It’s the only way you can be sure that the organisation is listening. Most retail businesses prefer that complaints are dealt with at a local level. Of course, it makes perfect sense to the business to manage complaints this way.

“However, the reality is that complaints are rarely logged or reported back up to head office. Add to this that no store manager wants to promote the fact that he or she has the worst store for customer service then complaints and feedback will always remain hidden.”

The result, according to managemycomplaints.com, is that companies can never really be sure of the true scale of the problems and what the impact on the business is.

The company says that low cost retailing operations are also less likely to invest in what may be perceived as ‘expensive’ customer service initiatives.

However, it notes that the Secret Shopper series proves that even modest investments in delivering an enhanced customer experience can pay dividends, which all starts with an ability to capture customer feedback.



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