How to win customers and influence them

Tesco FeatIs it just me, or are some of Tesco‘s woes down to the way that they treat their own customers? They say that they stand for value and convenience but their marketshare has fallen 2.1% in the last three years (to 28.8%), they’re besieged by the likes of Aldi and Lidl and then of course they have their little accounting issue to deal with as well.

That being the case you’d think the least they’d do would be to look after their customers but I don’t feel loved and cared for by Tesco.

Overcharging by 16%

Yesterday I visited the Newbury Tesco for some pretty basic goods: Apples; Carrots; Grapes; 6 x Tins of soup; A loaf of bread; 4 x 1lt cartons of Orange Juice (bargain at £3.50); and a bottle of household cleaner. The bill came to just over £18, but somehow Tesco calculated that with their price match they’d overcharged me by £3.03. That’s a 16% overcharge, Tesco obviously aren’t delivering the value that they promise. How can Tesco possibly be 16% more expensive on such mundane items and why?

The reason is of course they won’t give the £3.03 off at the checkout or even let you redeem it the same day. It’s Tesco’s idea of a customer loyalty program – charge inflated prices but only offer a refund if you revisit them to pay their inflated prices again.

I wasn’t that happy with my 16% overcharge, but at least I had a £3.03 voucher to spend, so today I decided to buy lunch from Tesco. I selected a sandwich, packet of crisps and bottle of orange juice on a £3.00 meal deal and went to pay. Of course Tesco no longer employ enough humans so there’s a self service option but the self service option still requires a human to verify a voucher.

No we won’t let you forget the 3p

That’s where the problems started, remember it was a £3.00 meal deal and I had a £3.03 voucher, Tesco refused to let me forget the 3p, you have to spend more than the voucher amount in order to redeem it.

That’s just crass, how many of us have paid and said to the shop assistant don’t worry about the 1p/2p/5p change? I certainly didn’t care! All I wanted to do was buy lunch and recoup some of the 16% overcharge from the day before. Even the assistant didn’t have the power to use their common sense and just override the 3p.

Searching the store Tesco don’t appear sell anything for as little as 3p (not that I could find), so I ended up with a 10p chew. It turned out to be Cola and Lemon flavoured and was revolting. It left as sour a taste in my mouth as how I felt Tesco had treated me as a customer and certainly didn’t make lunch any better.

Frankly Tesco would have been better off charging me whatever they liked, leaving me to realise I’m paying over the odds which I’d never have noticed… and I could have had a much nicer lunch from Greggs without having to find something to spend 3p on.

Why do we put up with these large companies treating us like this? What happened to the common sense “Don’t worry about a couple of odd pennies”. More to the point don’t they realise that the reason that they’re losing market share is because of the way they make their customers feel?

Would you tell your customers you’d just overcharged them but if they shopped with you again you’d give them their money back (and probably overcharge them again and give another voucher for yet another visit)? Are Tesco mad, or is their overcharging, voucher giving, loyalty scheme a stroke of brilliance to keep customers coming back for more?