If it’s not good enough, then it’s just not good enough. This week’s fabulous breakfast guest is a fellow consumer champion who has become my firm new ally in the quest to challenge poor Customer Service. Please welcome Grumpygit himself, Consumer Champion Scott Dixon.
A ‘posh Geordie’ from Northumberland, Scott is originally via the Isle of Man where he lived for most of his adult life working in financial services before relocating to Edinburgh in November 2013. Scott is now a writer and author with a passion to make a difference on consumer issues. He says he does it because ‘He wants to change things for the better and raise awareness on consumer rights and how customers can seek redress,’ a bit like my good self then.
Scott’s first ever job was working in Quantity Surveying after a ‘Few short stints on YTS schemes from being involved with a Numeracy College in Newcastle when I left school.’ As for the worst job he has ever had, Scott says ‘I think working in a commercial Christmas decorations factory during the heatwave of 1995 is the most memorable for all the wrong reasons! We had to dress 6ft Christmas trees for shopping centres around England and France with 400 fairy lights, 36 baubles, bows and other assorted decorations in 33 minutes. Bar swags and everything else also needed to be prepared and dressed. I could never hit the (timed) targets with supervisors watching you with a stopwatch and I tried to resign twice but they wouldn’t let me go. They put me in the warehouse tying plastic tube lighting to metal balloons instead.’ Think I’d also be re-assigned to the warehouse as am too small to dress a 6ft tree for one thing. Scott ‘Still remembers how to dress a Christmas tree to this day – I think it was burnt in to my conscience!’
When it comes to good Customer Service, Scott is of the opinion that ‘In an era where everything is much the same, the one thing that sets a firm apart is exceptional Customer Service. Every firm has to be customer-centric to succeed and any organisation that fails to do so will struggle to have a future. Customers are becoming increasingly savvy about their consumer rights and know they have various platforms to air their views (and do).’ I couldn’t agree more. Any company which does not have the interests of its customers at the very heart of what it does, will not survive.
Scott uses Jet2 as a ‘Shining example of a firm that has everything right. They have won awards for their customer service and it’s no coincidence that they are thriving whereas Thomas Cook isn’t. They both operate in the same market and provide the same products and services.’ I didn’t expect to hear an airline mentioned when it comes to good Customer Service, as it is an industry, which frequently gets a lot of bad press. Great British Air for example is far from the prestigious airline it used to be and Ryanair is top of most complaint lists! Scott went on to say that ‘Jet2 even have a hotline manned by staff in Leeds that you can speak to direct if you think you have missed your transfer coach from your hotel to the airport home. They can track your transfer coach by GPS and tell you where it is while you are waiting. It is a brand which the staff are genuinely proud to be a part of.’ This is so lovely to hear. I think I might have to try Jet2 out for myself.
Scott also sees Ryanair as ‘A firm that provides the worst customer experiences. They are never out of the news for all the wrong reasons and provide no support whatsoever if things go wrong. If something can go wrong, it probably will with Ryanair and they hide behind reams of legalese jargon that you have ticked as agreeing to their terms and conditions. As you say, if you pay less you get less.’ Agreed!
To date, Scott’s personal best experience of excellent customer service is ‘Lookers Nissan in Newcastle. They are honest, the staff are all easy to deal with and are trustworthy. The customer service is consistent and it is a brand that is well thought of and recommended by many motorists. I live in Edinburgh and this is the only garage I know and trust.’ This is quite interesting as next week’s fabulous guest states the automobile industry as being the most distrusted. It’s nice to hear that there are exceptions to the rule.
That said, Scott’s worst experience of poor customer service is with car dealership Evans Halshaw. ‘I bought a car that lasted 11 weeks and they said, “That’s the chance you take when you buy a second-hand car” because I hadn’t taken out a warranty that would have been worthless anyway. It was a protracted and filthy experience which I eventually won but it was an almighty struggle even with an A Level in Law behind me. This was the catalyst for me to write my consumer book.’
Scott’s biggest Customer Service gripes are ‘Not ever being able to find an assistant when you need one and self-service checkouts. They simply do not work for me and finding staff to reset them drives me insane.’ I’ve written a poem for Scott about this. You’ll find it at the end of the interview.
As a consumer champion, Scott has helped many people to obtain redress and refunds for poor service and says that his biggest success ‘Has to be a claim for £23,000 from one customer who bought my book and followed my advice.’ That’s just amazing. Scott’s blog and book are most definitely worth a read. Here’s the Amazon link if you’d like to pick up a copy.
On his Complaints Resolver Facebook page, Scott’s motto is to ‘inspire, educate and inform.’ This links nicely into ‘Inspired’ being my word of the year and I was interested to hear about Scott’s own inspiration, J K Rowling. Scott says that he ‘Can connect with her journey as a writer and author insofar as my consumer book was one that no agent or publisher saw any value in so I self-published it. I knew I had a good product based on my own life experiences and I believed in it and myself in being able to make it a success.’
In 5 years time, Scott hopes that he will be ‘Self-sufficient and living my best life as a successful consumer champion, writer and author.’ I hope so too.
Last but not least, on to breakfast and it’s good old ‘Porridge and coffee’ for Scott, which he quips is ‘Nothing exciting.’ Scott also says that apart from moi obviously that he would love to have breakfast with Piers Morgan as it would be ‘Fascinating simply because we share the same tendency to speak our mind and truth without fear or favour and get results every time.’
After this interview, I doubt anyone could argue with that and if you’d like to find out more about Scott and how he can help you then take a look at his Grumpygit blog. There’s more about Scott as a writer on his A Writer in Edinburgh website and he’s also on Facebook and Twitter.
Until next time everyone! Here’s the poem!
Lady Janey x
Self Service Checkouts
The thing about self service
That drives me up the wall
Is that if there is a problem
There’s never anyone to call.
If I say I have no bags
Then the system disagrees
And I cannot do a thing
Until an assistant has appeared.
If I buy three bottles of wine
Because they are on sale.
No discount is applied
So I have to call someone again.
Two seconds later
I’m in need of further help
To prove I’m over 18
Something you cannot do yourself.
I only picked up 5 things
Just some milk and bread and wine.
Self service should be quicker
But it’s taken far more time.
Please scan your item
But that’s what I tried to do
I’m holding everybody up
And now there is a queue!
I’ll give it one more shot
But then I’m giving up
Because now I’m getting tired
And I’ve really had enough.
Why does this never work
When I’ve followed instructions to the letter?
And when I look around
Can everyone do it so much better?
I’m pressing all these buttons
But I do not have a clue
Is there anyone who can help
And show me what I need to do?
Next time I’ll save my sanity
And check out the normal way
Because it has to be much easier
Than what I’ve tried to do today.
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