‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ – Justin King’s response

Many of you that read the blog post featuring the experience of Helen Kewell (http://ijgolding.com/2013/02/11/dont-judge-a-book-by-its-cover-it-does-not-matter-what-you-look-like-a-customer-is-a-customer/) will be extremely interested to know if Sainsburys responded to the blog. You have probably guessed by the title of this post that they did. To their credit, Sainsburys responded very quickly, advising that it would be passed directly to their CEO, Justin King, who would get back to Helen and I personally.

I think that Mr King’s reply is very honest and open. I appreciate the time he has taken to both read and respond to Helen’s experience, and the fact that he is very keen to ensure no-one in the future experiences it again. Some would argue that this is exactly how any business leader should react when being made aware of poor customer experiences.

In order for you to form your own conclusion, you will need to read Mr King’s words for yourself – so here goes: (if you did not read the original story, do so first here – http://ijgolding.com/2013/02/11/dont-judge-a-book-by-its-cover-it-does-not-matter-what-you-look-like-a-customer-is-a-customer/

Dear Mr Golding

Thank you for your email, bringing the very poor shopping experience of Mrs Kewell to my attention.  I would like to assure you, and Mrs Kewell, that this is certainly not the standard of service you should expect from Sainsbury’s and I am very disappointed you have both been left with a poor impression of us.

We always want to provide our customers with the highest standard of service ensuring shopping trips are easy and enjoyable for all our customers.  We do understand that some customers may struggle with certain situations or environments, hence our training materials place great emphasis on treating our customers as individuals.  I am therefore very disappointed to hear of Mrs Kewell’s experience in one of our stores.

Our colleagues should be polite and courteous to our customers, and certainly not make assumptions or dismiss their need for assistance.  We should strive to fulfil any requests from our customers, going the extra mile to deliver quality service and it is certainly not the responsibility of a single colleague to help with bag packing.  Our colleague on the checkout should have immediately offered packing assistance and slowed down to accommodate this.

We do monitor the scanning performance of our checkouts colleagues, however, colleagues are trained to moderate their speed to suit the needs of each individual customer and should slow down if they are asked to do so.  We also value the customer feedback we receive, as it shows us where we can improve, and our supervisor should have given Mrs Kewell’s complaint the serious attention it deserved.

I would like to apologise to Mrs Kewell personally and would welcome the opportunity to address this incident at the store in question.  I would therefore be grateful if you could reply with Mrs Kewell’s details, if she is happy for us to contact her, and the name of the store involved.  This will give us the chance to ensure there is never a repeat of this.

Customer service is at the heart of what we do and we go to great lengths to ensure our customers feel comfortable in our stores.  Our colleagues receive training focused on disability awareness, however, we are always looking for ways to develop this further.  We will certainly take your feedback on board and learn from Mrs Kewell’s experience.

I do appreciate you bringing this matter to my attention and I hope I have helped restore your faith in the service we provide to all our customers.  I look forward to hearing from you and hope we have the pleasure of serving you, and Mrs Kewell, for many years to come.

Yours sincerely

Justin King

So what do you think? Please let me know.

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