Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Complaints from newsagency shoppers

Mark Fletcher
November 6th, 2018 · No Comments

Over the years, I have received complaints from newsagency customers about an experience in a newsagency. They have contacted me through here as other points of contact have not been obvious to them.

If I have contact details for the owner, I usually pass on the complaint. I always respond to the person making contact, suggesting other avenues for their complaint.

Here is a complaint I received recently:

I want to complain about the newsagent is [        ]. They are very intimidating and they harass customers from other stores that are good people.

They make trouble by gossiping about certain people of low economic backgrounds, people that are poor and about people who go to the chemist across from their store.

I have been humiliated and I have been threatened. I have heard them lie too.

I don’t want them to know my details as I am  afraid by complaining about them they might get me kicked out from the shopping centre.

This is the third complaint in the last year from this business. It is a newsagency with which I have no connection. I passed the first two complaints on to the owner without response.

While complaints like this are about a specific business, they reflect poorly on the whole channel and this is problematic for all newsagents. We don’t have a discipline mechanism. While some banner groups do, I don’t see it used much.

Retail can be challenging, customers can be challenging. How each situation is dealt with matters as the impact can be significant. Today, more than ever, customers are empowered with platforms readily available for broadcasting complaints and rating businesses. Often times, these complaints and poor ratings can be unnoticed by the affected business for a long time.

Here is a complaint I received Thursday night for one of my stores:

Hi,  Just wanted to let you know that there ate two staff on duty at your store right now. They’re having such a great chat that they let me stand at the counter looking for some help without even acknowledging me. Needless to say I left the store without purchasing anything. Might be an idea to recruit better staff in the future…

I  checked and advised that we only had one staff member on and they were helping a customer at the counter with a significant ($150+) order. Speaking with the staff member at the time, they advised the person making the complaint was acting suspiciously and that they approached them, thinking they were stealing.

We need to be cautious with every complaint, not to deny it but to get the facts where we can.

The purpose of this post is to lay the issue here for others to contemplate, and to share the first example of a specific complaint, in the words of the shopper. I am not saying what to do or that customers are always right, because they are not.

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Category: Ethics · Newsagency management

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