Monday, 2 February 2009

Tesco Losing Face..?

I know this is technically old news in cyberspace terms but I couldn't resist bringing it up. Apparently the employees of Tesco had set up a group on Facebook, where amongst other things they chose to wade into the customers! Check the link -

Now, on the face of it, laying into the customers is not a good idea, speaking as a Tesco shopper myself. And I really draw the line at criticising old ladies. I mean come on, I'm going to be a "senile old cow" or something similar in a few years and I'm hoping for a bit of sympathy and support, not a tirade of abuse from some fuckwit in a pair of polyester slacks.

But I can see the flip side of this issue, as I suspect can anyone who has worked with Joe Public (Sorry, that should read 'customer facing role') at any time, like I have in my dark and distant past. It's generally hell on earth, with a few highlights. I too have cursed many an innocent customer and many an asshole too. And I've done some terrible things aside. I know, i should hang my head in shame. But at the end of the day, that's retail, or leisure, or whatever other customer intensive sector you may work in. If you don't like it, get out of it! Don't stay in it if the best you can offer the customer is some lame and cynical attitude.

But what of Tesco in all this? Well, I think their attitude to all this is a bit like their overall personality - chilly. Check out Facebook properly and you will find any number of groups relating to other retailers that contain comments of a similar vein. Let's take Wal-Mart as an example. There are several groups on facebook featuring employees or ex employees of the organisation. One, the aptly named 'Disgruntled Wal-Mart Employees Unite' contains a number of choice discussion threads, including 'Stupid Customer Moments' and the delightful 'TOP 13 THINGS I WANT TO SAY TO WAL MART CUSTOMERS'. I may be wrong but I have not seen any action by Wal-Mart towards any of these groups as yet.

Perhaps Tesco should stop obsessing about the use of Facebook by these employee groups and spend a little more time working on their selection criteria and their own cultural messages. Every Little Helps? Not if it's wearing polyester slacks it doesn't.

Would be great to hear the view from anyone at Tesco, assuming they can drag themselves away from slapping up a 'senile old cow'.


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