There’s nothing I love more than connecting with fellow consumer champions who spend their time fighting for your rights. Today’s fabulous guest is a firm thorn in the side of Currys PC World and Carphone Warehouse as she daily calls out ‘Their abysmal customer service & abuse of Consumer Rights.’ Please welcome Consumer Sue.
Sue lives on the outskirts of London and her day job is a HR Manager. Sue says that she ‘Cares about people hence my job and I also care about how people are treated.’ Back in March Sue went onto Twitter to contact Currys PC World. She had ordered 2 laptops for her granddaughters so they could do their schoolwork during lockdown. She says that one arrived and ‘There the saga began.’
‘After 9 hours of trying to get through on the phone and various interactions with TeamKnowHow on Twitter, I was getting nowhere. I used the CEOmail website and emailed Alexander Baldock, the CEO. I researched my consumer rights and used a template letter from Citizens Advice. It did the trick and I was contacted by the CEO support team a few days later. All in all it took about 6 weeks to receive a refund for the missing laptop.’
Sue had a good conversation with Gemma Mooney who assured her that they were doing everything possible to reduce the telephone waiting times as they had to close their contact centre and set everyone up for working from home. But as time went by Sue could see that nothing was improving so she started sharing ‘Consumer rights information and also the direct email address of the CEO complaints team to help other customers.’
After a while, Sue was blocked by CPW and TeamKnowHow, which made her even more determined to stick around and help people. Back in July, Alice Beer picked up on the tweets, she was contacted by This Morning producer and mentioned in Alice’s consumer slot on the show. Alice has a direct link to the CEO Resolution team and has advised that anyone experiencing issues may contact her.
Sue is still on Twitter and now has over 500 followers, 99% are Carphone Warehouse customers who have been let down. So to the question, why does Sue do on Twitter? She thoroughly dislikes ‘People being taken advantage of and lied to’ so works hard to raise awareness of on-going issues and how to get help.
Naturally Sue considers good customer service as ‘Extremely important, it guarantees repeat business and sends a message that a company cares. Without customers basically you don’t have a business.’ Exactly Sue, that’s it in a nutshell.
Some may be surprised at this, I certainly was but based on a recent experience Sue has found the best example of good customer service to be from BT. She says she ‘Recently had Broadband installed into another property. The Openreach engineer went out of his way to come up with a solution when he realised there was an issue with getting a line to the property. On the day of installation the BT engineer was really pleasant and he accommodated my request to extend the cabling so that I could have the BT point exactly where I wanted it.’
Sue goes on to say that she was ‘Kept informed by email and text throughout the whole ordering process and when I couldn’t access my online account, I used the online chat – was answered in less than 5 minutes and all resolved in less than 10 minutes.’ This is lovely to hear Sue, as usually it’s quite the opposite experience for many.
Sue says that the worst undoubtedly has to be Currys PC World for the reasons set out above and that ‘In addition, Currys have shutdown the customer services email address, which leaves just Twitter for contact. This is unacceptable – there are people out there who do not use social media and also people with disabilities who cannot use social media. There is no ownership of the customer.’ Agreed Sue, reducing options to contact the company is an increasing, exasperating and unfair problem.
Sue’s biggest customer service gripe is ‘Being fobbed off with “we are experiencing higher than normal volumes of calls and waiting times maybe longer than usual”. If companies get the service right in the first place, customers wouldn’t need to call. If there is a high volume of calls, then just redeploy staff to get on the phones and help customers.’
The best advice she’s ever been given is the same as me and funnily enough something I was recently discussing with fellow travel expert Globetrotter Rob. ‘Treat people how you would like to be treated. ‘ Sue goes on to say ‘Show compassion, you have no idea what is going on in someone’s life.’ Again, agreed. As discussed on BBC Your Money and Your Life in July, whatever you do and say please be kind as you don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors.
In 5 years time Sue says that she ‘Will continue in HR as I love the people aspect and would also like to get more involved with consumer issues and rights and see where that takes me.’ As for her breakfast choice it would be something ‘Healthy, porridge with fruit etc. I am always on a diet!’
Apart from me obviously, Sue would like to have breakfast with her ‘Two aunts who are no longer with us. They were amazing ladies who had a wonderful sense of humour and if I was ever having a bad day, a quick chat with one of them would cheer me up no end.’ That’s another great strategy Sue as with some of the complaints, fob offs and in some cases downright lies we come across then we can either laugh or cry!
Thanks to Sue for taking the time to have breakfast with me. She certainly is a force to be reckoned with particularly when it comes to standing up to Carphone Warehouse Currys PC World. Check her out on Twitter if you need help.
Until next time everyone!
Lady Janey x