Supermarkets - A trolley-load of complaints?

(16/11/2015) We’ve been doing a spot of research at resolver.co.uk recently, and we’ve found that ASDA heads our list of the UK’s most complained-about supermarkets

Asda Trolley Complaints

Image: Resolver founder James Walker with a trolley-full of ASDA customer service issues

The Black Friday sales frenzy is just around the corner and Christmas looming large, so could ASDA be in danger of losing the all-important supermarket war if they don’t address their poor customer service?

With more than 5,000 complaints being raised to ASDA in the past 12 months via Resolver.co.uk – literally enough to fill a shopping trolley – the site’s users have raised more than four times as many complaints with ASDA than with the next most complained-about supermarket.

Customer service left on the shelf? Russell Barber’s case…

Russell Barber, a 57-year-old retiree from Lancashire, feels so strongly about ASDA’s poor customer service that he’s withdrawn his £50,000 investment and placed it with a rival.

“My complaint could have easily been resolved in 10 minutes,” he told us. “The fact that it wasn’t reflects very shamefully on their complaints procedure. All it would have taken was a sincere apology.

“I was eventually invited to complain to the CEO of Walmart International – ASDA’s parent company – and to the CEO of Walmart Stores. These came from conversations I had with disbelieving Walmart staff in America.

“If I were running ASDA I would look to disband Executive Relations immediately. Apologies are non-existent or begrudgingly given.

“Sometimes things do go wrong and when they do a company is judged on how it puts them right. ASDA FAILS on every aspect. ASDA needs to start apologising to people.

“I have withdrawn investment of £50.000 and placed it with a rival. I no longer shop at ASDA after 33 years as a customer. My Family has also stopped shopping with ASDA in protest, and I am in the process of purchasing the minimum amount of shares to enable a vote at shareholder meetings. Sometimes the customer bites back!”

How the supermarkets stack up

ASDA
UK market share – 16.7%
Stores – 600
Complaints via Resolver 5478
Complaint-to-store ratio 9.13

Most common customer service issues: Product issues and returns, conduct of staff, home delivery problems

Resolver response – Poor. Refuses to respond directly to Resolver complaints, but does offer a resolution path via an online form
Morrisons
UK market share – 10.7%
Stores – 555
Complaints via Resolver 1348
Complaint-to-store ratio 2.42

Most common customer service issues: Product issues and returns, conduct of staff, Complaint handling

Resolver response – Excellent. Responds directly and effectively to Resolver-raised complaints, and is proactively engaged with the Resolver process.
Tesco
UK market share – 28.2%
Stores – c 3,500 (includes sub-brands)
Complaints via Resolver 1073
Complaint-to-store ratio 0.31

Most common customer service issues: Conduct of staff, product issues and returns, complaint handling, pricing issues

Resolver response – Reasonable. Customers likely to get a response, but not necessarily in a consistent way. Responds to Resolver complaints but not actively engaged with our process.
Sainsbury’s
UK market share – 16.2%
Stores – 1,312
Complaints via Resolver 241
Complaint-to-store ratio 0.18

Most common customer service issues: Conduct of staff and product issues and returns


Resolver response
– Reasonable. Customers likely to get a response to their issues.

ASDA, it seems, is the only major supermarket chain not responding to customer issues raised using Resolver.co.uk and does not want to listen to its customers’ complaints.

James Walker, CEO and founder of Resolver, said:

“We’re not trying to pick on ASDA unfairly, but we want to show that there is an issue here. That trolley represents thousands of customers whose issues have not been dealt with effectively – and that’s just the disgruntled customers who have gone via Resolver.

“We’ve reached out to ASDA on several occasions to explain that issues raised via the Resolver system come DIRECT FROM THE USER, but they continue to tell customers they will not interact with a third party –which we are not.

“Resolver does not get involved with individual complaints – we merely provide the tools for customers to raise and manage their own issues. But we have built up such a depth of unanswered complaints that we feel there is an opportunity to use the sheer weight of complaints to get them heard and responded to – all we’re asking is that ASDA talks to the customers who are directly talking to them.

“This is about resolution, not mud-slinging or confrontation - We have provided ASDA with a secure USB drive containing links to the online version of each individual case, offering customer support staff a chance to easily find and respond to the unanswered complaints.”

ASDA definitely has some ground to make up – compare its performance with that of Tesco and it seems that four times as many people have issues, despite Tesco having roughly twice as many customers as ASDA.

It’s Waitrose that sits at the top of Resolver’s customer service tree – with just 61 people having felt cause to complain via Resolver in the past year.

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