Never shop at Dixons Group, they don’t KNOWHOW to do Customer Service

26 07 2011

My long running dispute with Currys, part of Dixons Retail plc has come to an end, by no means a happy one, but one that at least allows me to get on with doing things I enjoy as opposed to chasing incompetents within the organisation to resolve what should have been a very simple complaint. At the bottom of this post I have included the letter sent by members of Currys ‘Customer Action Team’ and also from the KNOWHOW franchisees who are responsible for delivery – make your own mind up about them, I’m not going to comment on the complaint any more. However,I do want to end this whole sorry episode with some recurring themes that have popped up through the month and half this has been running for.

Pretty much all the people I have spoken to about Currys or Dixons or PC World have all expressed some form of dissatisfaction that has led them to state to me; “I never shop with them now, my expectation is to receive crap experience and it’s usually what I got”. Customers with this point of view are never going to back unless things change significantly – and for information Sebastian James and Katie Bickerstaffe, that change isn’t just rebranding the failed ‘Techguys’ as ‘KNOWHOW’ and expecting anything different.

The other common response I receive from people is that they will only ever go to John Lewis now, yes things may go wrong – they always will and I can accept that as long as they try and prevent it going wrong in the future – but when they do go wrong they fix it quickly and effectively. The repeat business and additional business when customers tell their friends more than outweighs the immediate short-term loss. I’ll be following that advice in the future, just as lots of poor comments are a good indication of poor service the number of positive comments I have received about John Lewis are a good indication of a good experience for the customer.

So what could Currys have done better to improve my experience? Rather than repeat some old-ground on their call centre I made some suggestions in the first post relating to the first point of contact complaint and I’d urge Sebastian James to go there and read what I suggested. I’m assuming he may read the blog given the number of people who pointed him this way yesterday evening (thanks very much for doing so) – sadly, he didn’t have the guts or simply couldn’t be bothered to respond.

However, after I complained to John Browett CEO of the organisation the customer experience could have been better and I shall comment on these learnings for Sebastian to review should he be able to do so whilst also fitting in the various government reviews he gets asked to do (and no doubt paid for) by his ex-school buddy David Cameron;

  • The customer has a contract with Currys (or whichever part of the business they have the misfortune to buy from), therefore don’t hide behind organisational boundaries and get different parts of the organisation respond to different parts of the complaint – seek advice from them, yes, but then speak to the customer as the combined voice of the organisation.
  • Given the immediacy of an e-mail do not press send and leave the business for the day, especially when supervisors or team leaders have left – this gives the impression that the thought process of your ‘Customer Action Team’ is “the message I just sent was a difficult one, I know it hasn’t addressed the concerns of the customer and I am not going to get into that discussion tonight”. If it’s a difficult one and you can’t justify the answer – it’s probably because the answer isn’t right.
  • A very simple one, when you say you are going to make a call, refund a charge, send an e-mail – do it when you said you were going to do it. So many occasions throughout the process I was chasing responses from the organisation because they didn’t do something as simple as make a call. I stressed to them every time that I would rather hear from them to say they need more time than not hear from them.
  • This one is directed at Sebastian James (if anyone else needs to try and contact him his twitter address is @dixonsops). If you chose to open up a Social Media presence in a public area like Twitter and clearly state in your user name that you are representing Dixons then be prepared to receive customer comments and respond to them. Again, my experience would have been better if I had received a tweet saying you will get someone to look into it – instead you buried your head in the sand and ignored social-media pressure and made my experience even worse. Go back a few paragraphs and read again what I said about the change that will bring back customers and how it needs to be real – so far Sebastian James all I see from you is paying lip-service and spinning a story that customer experience is so important to you.
I’ll finish here and re-iterate a message I would like anyone who reads this to follow;


– you can find these on the Wikipedia page for Dixons Retail plc.
Thanks to everyone who re-tweeted, posted on Facebook, spread through word of mouth the appalling service I have received and if anyone knows a flooring company that can replace my floor for half price please point them my way.
To close off the sorry tale, here are the last four mails, two from different parts of Dixons Retail plc and my final responses.
Date: 25 July 2011 19:24

Dear Mr Dyson

Firsly, please again accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused to you in relation to the delivery of your appliance, or in dealing with your claim.

I believe you have been speaking to one of my colleagues Melanie Robinson, First Line Manager from our Call Centre in relation to your telephone conversations to the Call Centre and also to Tom Littlejohn, Operations Manager for our Franchisee CW Scotland since our initial telephone conversation in relation to the points raised in your letter.

I understand that Mr Littlejohn has offered you compensation to the sum of £250 to cover the damage to your your flooring, or the option to pursue the damage claim through his Insurance Company and that Melanie Robinson has offered you £50 as a goodwill gesture over and above this sum. It is also my understanding that you have declined this compensation.

I would like to clarify that we have completed an investigation in relation to the delivery of your appliance and confirm that the individual who visited your home on our behalf has now left the company.

Please be assured that we have taken learnings from your experience and put processes in place to ensure that no other customers are similarly disappointed.

I understand that we have failed to meet your timeslot and provide you with the high level of service which we would normally provide. I would like to make a final offer you to the sum of £350 in total as a good will geature in order that we may bring this matter to conclusion for you. This offer is made to you in full and final settlement of your claim.

Kind Regards

Lynn Liddell

Site Manager

Knowhow Customer Service Centre


Mob: 07739 653219

From: Richard Dyson
Date: 25 July 2011 22:09

Prior to me responding to this e-mail, can you provide me with the e-mail address of Melanie Robinson. I have asked on several occasions that the two elements of the complaint are considered together along with the additional complaint that I have raised concerning the poor customer service I have received as part of the complaints process. For absolute clarity these three elements are;

1. The poor service received by your delivery crew including the damage caused by them which I have already stated has been quoted to me as £575 plus VAT

2. The poor service that has been provided by the call centre in Sheffield where they called me a liar and handled my first point of contact complaint in a disgraceful way.

3. The abysmal way in which the complaint has been handled – there has been poor attitude from members of staff (primarily in the Customer Action Team); not returning calls when promised; refusal to respond to all elements of the complaint in one communication; the amount of time I have had to invest in getting you to provide responses; poor quality responses, including your own, that contain simple spelling mistakes evidencing the importance you place on customer service; the assertion I have turned down the offer of your insurance company – I turned down the derisory offer of £100 and since this time you have prevaricated in engaging your insurance company.

You may wish to reconsider your e-mail based on this feedback and finally respond in a way that represents the combined views of all areas of Currys.

I have asked Melanie to call me before 10am tomorrow and I still expect this telephone call where I shall raise the same issues as I have stated here. I have also been trying to engage Sebastian James through his twitter account and used significant social media contacts to raise the poor service awareness with him. I shall continue to use this medium until such time as I receive a response which meets my requirements expressed in various e-mails and telephone conversations.


Date: 26 July 2011 13:28

Dear Mr Dyson

Following on from our recent telephone call this morning, I am able to confirm that I am now in receipt of the decision in respect of your complaint, issued by Lynn Liddell our Scotland site Manager.

I see from the mail sent that Lynn has offered you a more than generous sum of money, £350.00, in respect of your complaint about the delivery aspects of your matter, inclusive of your property damage claim.

During our conversations we have discussed the poor communications that you have witnessed and as a result of your feedback, I have initiated my own internal investigations with the members of staff that have touched your good self at some point on your journey with us.

I proposed to offer you £50.00 because of the experience that you have encountered when you initiated correspondence between you and our Contact Centre, this offer remains.

This further offer means that your total compensation package reaches a sum of £400.00 in full and final settlement of your claim, without prejudice from the KNOWHOW™ team.

May I assure you that we will continue to improve our business end to end to ensure that this type of complaint is eradicated and that further purchases that you may make in the future will result in you receiving a standard of service that not only meets your expectations but exceeds them.

Please let me know as soon as possible if you wish to accept our offer, I look forward to speaking with you again shortly.

Yours sincerely

Melanie Robinson

DSG Retail Limited Customer Solutions Manager

KNOWHOW™ Customer Contact Centre

Tel: 01142 806021

From: Richard Dyson
Date: 26 July 2011 17:35

Dear Ms Robinson,

Thank you for your response which has combined the response of the various parts of the Dixons Group involved in this complaint.

Whilst I do not, and will not in the future, accept that the offer received from Lynn as ‘more than generous’, given the damage caused by your employees amounted to £575 plus VAT, (i.e. £714) I will reluctantly accept the offer that is now being proposed from your company of £400 relating to £350 for damage caused to flooring and £50 in relation to the quality of service provided by your call centre function.

It is obvious throughout the entire process that I have been ‘banging on a closed door’ in terms of your customer service and whilst your public display of improving customer service is spun in the press by the likes of Sebastian James, the actions I have seen throughout this process are the demonstration of reality.

Given the legislative changes that were made to ‘Faster Payments’ between banks last year, I do not think it is unreasonable to receive the sum of £400 by the end of this week (Friday 29 July 2011). In order to assist you my Bank Account details are as follows – Sort Code: xx-xx-xx; Account Number xxxxxxxx

I note your comments in relation to the customer service improvements you are making, however, I do not intend to test in the future if they have had any effect. This entire experience has left me in a position where I would not have any desire to shop in any part of the Dixons Group in the future and I will strive to ensure that any of my friends, colleagues and other contacts are fully aware of the experience I have had and can hopefully decide to take the same position.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Dyson


Why is it so hard?

25 07 2011

The whole Currys Customer Action Team is really beginning to frustrate me! On two occasions now, one of their Team Leaders, Melanie, has promised to call me back at a certain time and has failed to do so – how far up in this organisation does one need to go to to get any decent customer service – Sebastian James (contactable through Twitter @dixonsops) tells his staff that their customer service is improving yet the reality is this complaint – poor frontline service, poor customer service after the event. If Sebastian James had anything about him and lived up to his promises about how good customer service is he would take personal interest in this complaint and intervene – I fear that his customer service is the same as the rest of his organisation.

Current place where we are is that I have had a quote from the flooring company that the cost of repair to my floor is £595 + VAT (£714) – the offer from Currys stands at £250 plus £50 gesture of goodwill for the service elements. This is unreasonable or am I a lone voice on this one?

I would urge my friends to assist me by sending a tweet to @dixonsops pointing him to this blog and asking him to take personal action to resolve this quickly and efficiently. To help here is something you can copy and paste;

Will @dixonsops please investigate the complaint raised by @rich_dyson – his complaint is here

When will people do what they say they will?

19 07 2011

I know this is going to upset a certain John Sutherland, but hey, some people are reading this so his views can’t be representative of everyone. The Currys saga continues as the promised call on Monday didn’t happen so I contacted them late in the day and spoke to a very pleasant person called Adam that informed the person who was going to call me was actually on annual leave and their deputy wasn’t in that day so he would ensure that someone would call me. I requested a specific time for the call and actually received one this morning at the time specified – well done Currys, you have kept a promise.

The person I spoke to, Melanie, who was very pleasant seemed to recognise that the complaint hadn’t been dealt with well, acknowledged that not accepting calls in the Customer Action Team wasn’t appropriate and tried to defend the improvement in Currys customer service by telling me that there are only 3% of customers who do not get the service they paid for from delivery staff, so it would seem I am one of the unlucky 3%. It woud be interesting to know what the overall complaint figures have been at Currys, this could be my first foray into a FOI request territory – anyone with experience want to assist me in wording the question?

The long and short of the call is that Melanie will speak to the ‘top man’ in the delivery office at Glasgow and will then provide me with an update by the end of the day with progress. It’s now 6:35pm and I have left a message on Melanie’s answer-machine (looks like she must go home at 5pm too) asking for the promised update.

On a totally unconnected matter, I am very much looking forward to photographing Jo Caulfield (@jo_caulfield) tonight. Will be good to have a chat about tweets that she has retweeted recently as well as enjoy her show. I’m sure I’ll be posting a photo on my daily Blipfoto page

Two weeks and this?

15 07 2011

Finally, I receive a response from the Dixons Group on my complaint but it really isn’t what I would expect. Sorry Michael Hibbard, it is time for your name to be named as your customer service is appalling. This is the response, compare it against what I asked for in my original mail and tell me what you think…

Dear Mr Dyson,

Thank you for your email dated 25th June 2011 addressed to John Browett, Chief Executive of DSG Retail Limited.  As reported in my telephone call, I have been authorised to investigate and reply on his behalf.

I am very concerned to learn of the problems that you have encountered with the delivery and install service and I do understand the inconvenience and frustration caused.  Your comments relating to the delivery team and the service you received have been noted and I can confirm that this has been forwarded to the Area Manager.  The matter has been investigated internally and steps have been taken to ensure that this type of incident does not happen again and that other customers are not met with the same experience.  We strive to offer the very best of customer service, so it is very disappointing to hear when this has not been the case.

The refund of your time to suit delivery charge has now been arranged and should in your account shortly. As advised on our call the remainder of your claim has now been handed onto the insurers of the franchises who will be in touch in due course.

Yours sincerley,

Michael Hibbard

Customer Action Team

My own personal point of view is that this doesn’t respond effectively to any of the points and is grammatically incorrect (note the missing ‘be’ in the final paragraph, probably due to the rush Michael was in to send it before 5pm on a Friday). I phoned within 5 minutes of the receipt of the e-mail (4:39pm) and was told that Michael wouldn’t come to the phone as he was getting ready to go home. I asked to speak to a manager and they said they couldn’t speak either as they were ready to go home as as well. I then went through the entire structure up from Michael Hibbard to John Browett to understand who the people were that I could speak to and apparently everyone in Dixons Group go home at 5pm and couldn’t speak…. I am now expecting a call from Michael Hibbard’s line manager, Amanda Brightmore on Monday.

In the interim I have found that the direct report to John Browett, one Sebastian James is on twitter @dixonsops and I have pointed him toward this blog and asked him to comment on whether this is the service he would expect from his company. I wonder if he will take notice or just ignore it like the rest of his team seem to be doing?

This will never land on the desk of John Browett – a social media challenge?

14 07 2011

I’m unable to post a letter from the Dixons Group today as the entire interaction has been by telephone during which there was a challenge set down by one of the Executive Complaints team that I am sure some of the people I know would like to take up and prove wrong.

As I had heard nothing from my last e-mail I firstly contacted the representative from Knowhow delivery in Glasgow (who is very close to getting named on here). He told me that he had spoken to the company that had fitted my flooring and that they had decided it would be uneconomic to repair the floor and therefore he had agreed with his directors of an offer of £100 for me to accept instead of having the floor repaired – my response was immediate and conclusive – “this isn’t even in the ball park of what I was expecting and they needed to go away and think again”. He agreed he would go back to the Directors and the likelihood is it would be passed to insurers.

I had already been in contact with the flooring company to know what the replacement cost would be for my damaged floor and asked them if they could confirm if the Knowhow rep had been in touch and he confirmed that they had not. Not only is their delivery service poor but it would now seem that they are bare-faced liars when dealing with complaints!

I then decided to contact the Customer Services Team at Sheffield as they hadn’t acknowledged or responded to my earlier e-mail and the additional information I had now received escalated the complaint even more. (Here’s a tip I’m sure most people use but when calling to an IVR take the option for sales and I want to buy now – it’s amazing how quick they pick up the phone and then you can insist on getting put through to the customer services.) I was eventually put through to Michael in the Executive Complaints Team where I remonstrated that  had not received a response to second e-mail and indeed I was still waiting for the entire complaint to be answered and wanted to know what was happening.

He explained that there was a 14 day period for Franchisees to respond to complaints, which was the first he had mentioned of this although he tried to suggest that in our previous conversations that he had made this clear. I told him that the way the complaint is being handled where I am being forced to deal with two parts of the organisation was unsatisfactory and that I had used far too much time flitting between the two parts when my contract was with Currys and it should be them that do the running – this simple suggestion didn’t register with the Executive Complaint team as being right for the customer, but based on current form of Currys dire service it isn’t really surprising is it?

Whilst trying to get through Michael’s poor attitude I raised the three financial points that were raised in my original complaint. The first relating to the damage to the floor – Michael agreed to go away and speak to Knowhow franchisee and confirm when I would receive something from them – I’ll touch on this later. The second was relating to the fees I had paid for the service that I didn’t receive and that I had been assured on two occasions would be refunded – Michael form within the Executive Complaints team told me that whilst he could tell the accounts team to make a refund he had no control over them and therefore couldn’t agree a time when they would contact me to get my account details! I’m sorry but the art of complaint handling is to understand what has gone wrong and take personal responsibility to fix it – not act as a postbox and then absolve any responsibility! The third element related to compensation for me being inconvenienced on the delivery day and now the subsequent poor complaint handling that I had experienced – the previous call Michael had stated the maximum amount that would be paid is £250, however on the basis that I hadn’t any financial loss the maximum would be £50. I told him that this wasn’t enough on the basis of the hours I have spent in writing letters, waiting in for the Knowhow rep to arrive etc to which I was told (and Michael now deny’s this) that we (Dixons Group) do not give any value to your time! At this point I told Michael that he had better get some of these actions moving and that I could see things weren’t going to get resolved to my satisfaction so I asked who do I need to speak to in order to get this on the desk of John Browett. Michael retorted “this will never get on the desk of John Browett” hence the title of this blog and one I would like to put out a challenge to everyone in Social Media at the end of this post.

Ten minutes later, I had a call back from Michael who had spoken to the Knowhow rep and I was told that the contact with the flooring company hadn’t been by telephone but by e-mail and he could provide the e-mails (I have since spoken to the flooring company who have again confirmed this is not the case) – I shall be requesting copies of said e-mails in my next correspondence. The offer that was made by the rep was £100 offer of compensation and the floor repair passed to the insurance company which was clearly not the case when previously offered – I confirmed this twice with Michael that in respect of this part of the complaint the offer was now £100 compensation and a repair funded by the insurance company and he has confirmed this is the case. He then stated that he would then go to the accounts team and get the refund sorted.

10 minutes later I received a call from the most helpful gentleman so far, Matthew in the accounts team who efficiently took all the details required to make a refund for the fees, provided me with a reference for my refund, gave me his name and direct dial number and set a clear expectation of when the refund would be in my account – success! See it is possible to give good customer service in the Dixons Group – I think Matthew should run their training scheme!

Michael came back to me after the call and confirmed that the refund had now been processed and I would see it in my account shortly, I asked when the Knowhow team would contact me and I was told that I will get a call later tonight or tomorrow after them meeting with his Directors. I asked Michael for his direct dial number as my confidence level of receiving such a call was low on current form and I finally got a number for Dixons Complaints Team which for anyone else wanting to make a complaint is 0114 280 6051.

So it’s now a waiting game to see what happens with the Knowhow person and then the consolidated response including the compensation offer. Next update looks like Monday.

In the meantime I would love the Social Media gurus I know to see if we can get this whole complaint issue onto the desk of John Browett. The man who stated on only 5 days ago in an interview with the Daily Telegraph that the group is

“more humble after the recession”


“You have got to have the right price and you have to have the right products, but it is really about service and we have improved every single year for the last three years the quality of the service.”

If this is improved service from three years ago how bad was it previously!! – I really think it would be great to let John Browett to have a real life example of where his company isn’t doing what he thinks it is – and I am sure Social Media pressure is the way to do it.

The Saga Continues

12 07 2011

And so despite my complaints and home visits Currys still don’t seem to want to respond – they obviously aren’t reading this blog to see how poor their service is and how many people are reading what a terrible service they are providing.

Here is complaint number two going off to them;

I am now in the unfortunate position where I am having to write and complain about the way your organisation is dealing with my complaint. Your initial response when this was obviously top of Mr Browett’s concern was good – I had telephone contact within 48 hours and the following Sunday I was visited by your representative from Knowhow who informed me of swift action made against one of his members of staff and then took away an action to respond to my complaint concerning the damage to my flooring. I was told that this would result in him having a conversation with his Directors to agree a response to the damaged floor.

During the visit I also stated that there were elements of the complaint that related to the activity of the call centre (also branded Knowhow as I understand) and was told that they would be contacting me soon. I did receive a call from the call centre the next day who still seemed to be preoccupied with the actions of the delivery men and did not really acknowledge the short-comings of the service offered by them, however I was assured that a combined response would be issued and would involve an offer of compensation from your company. This was on Monday 4 July.

As I had not received a response by this Saturday I contacted the Knowhow representative by text message as I was away from my home asking for an update and I was advised that he was having another meeting with his Directors on Sunday evening and would provide a response to me by Monday.

At the time of typing this email (Tuesday evening) I have still not yet had the courtesy of either a telephone call or an email either apologising for the length of time that this has taken to resolve, nor have I had any response to this complaint. This is now totally unacceptable and needs to be fully resolved within 48 hours.

The full resolution would be for you to provide a full written response (I am quite happy to receive it by email) which answers the eight initial points raised in my original complaint and also follows up on the four requirements for resolution that I stated in my email. In addition, I think you can gather from this mail that I am frustrated by your complaints process firstly not responding in a time I consider reasonable, and secondly seems geared to responding on the basis of your organisational alignment as opposed to responding to the customer who has the contractual relationship with Currys – not with your various subsidiary companies. This chasing and writing additional mails has taken up my valuable time and should be compensated for.

I hope I do not have to send a further complaint concerning this to yourselves and that you can meet the requirements I have set out in both this email and my original email.

Richard Dyson

Pease feel free to RT this blog or post a link on Facebook.

Currys Complaint Update

3 07 2011

I’m one for being fair so I thought it was right for me to drop a little update following a visit by Knowhow’s Operations Manager in Cumbernauld. I’ve actually been quite impressed by the way the Scottish end of the operation has dealt with the complaint – I received a call on Monday evening from their Manager who arranged for the visit today and I have been kept informed throughout the week which is total contrast to the response I have seen from the call centre operation in Sheffield who are still to contact me.

So the response so far is that one of the delivery men has now been fired from the company, as my complaint was one of three on the same weekend and the other one is subject to a disciplinary process, although as I have told the Ops Manager today he was probably only guilty by association of the gentleman that has been fired. The Ops Manager has seen for himself the damage caused to the floor and is off to have a meeting with the Directors to decide if they are going to replace the floor or offer me a cash alternative if I am prepared to live with scratches.

I have asked for him to remind the Sheffield operation that there are still elements of the complaint that need to be resolved and that I would like a formal response that covers off all eight points.

Hopefully next week I can report the closure of the complaint and let you know the outcome. Keep tuned…