Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

Tesco needs you to spend more but do they value their customers?

Tesco sloganTesco hasn’t been doing so well of late. CEO Philip Clarke hasn’t delivered on his promises and their overseas ventures in the USA and China aren’t doing much either.

According to the financial pages pressure is mounting on both the Chairman, Sir Richard Broadbent, and the CEO.

Britain’s leading store is losing out to what the trade calls the “discounters” i.e. German firms Aldi and Lidl.

Now Sainsbury’s is relaunching the Danish brand Netto (which sold its stores to ASDA some years ago when it found it couldn’t compete with the Big 4 – how times have changed) to add to the pressures.

For me it’s about a decline in customer service as much as the prices (although so-called bargains aren’t all they seem to be especially when buying multi-packs).

Going into my local Tesco extra the other day to buy a handful of items I found that both “basket” tills (used to be the fewer than 10 items tills) were unstaffed, yet again. For the past 12 months or so only one has been open anyway and I’ve complained about that several times, clearly to no avail. On this occasion I was told that they were always closed at 8.00 pm.

The supervisors say they are short-staffed but that I can use the self-service machines, which I detest (and I know I’m a Luddite when it comes to them but it’s costing jobs and the staff don’t see it).

Today I went int M&S and as usual on Sunday they had two regular checkouts and one member of staff on the basket tills. Seeing that the people in front had only a few items we joined that queue only for the machine to freeze. They had to move the customer to another till, boot up the system and start again. A second member of staff came to open a second till and when I mentioned the long wait she said they were short-staffed.

Then I went into fast-growing discount store B&M (which bought the old Focus DIY store and since 2013 has had ex-Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy on the board). It was really busy but to get the queues down and customers served quickly they put a packer at each till and the people moved through very quickly.

The stores want our business (and how I dislike that Tesco slogan about shopping to save) but aren’t prepared to put enough staff on to make us want to go back more often.