Customer care in England

Hello everyone,

The way customer services are handled can greatly affect your views on certain brands, products, companies or stores. As a consumer, it is important to get familiar with local practices regarding client assistance in England and try to understand how things work in the country.

How would you describe your customer service experiences in England?

Do you feel welcome when you enter a store? Do you get useful tips and advice?

Are after-sales services available in England?

Thanks for sharing your experience,


I like to be left alone when I enter a store. I don't care about feeling welcomed or not. I don't want 'useful' advice or tips. They can keep it to themselves or go bother someone else with it. I know exactly what I'm after before I go in. I'm simply in to get it, and back out again asap.

I have always been welcomed in the shops in England by the smiling staff. Always good advices and what i enjoyed the most is when i was not satisfied  with my purchases they 've always been taken back  without  problems.

If you enjoy shopping without being has spelled by Staff; then IKEA, UK has a policy where by the staff must wait for the customer to seek your help 1st.

I spent 12 years working in customer service and I went out of my way to help polite and concerned customers and gave the least to angry moaning ones. And being in charge I got to ban the down right arrogant rude ones from every entering my store again.
It was great fun and on the whole the service we gave was always great.

I never understood the point of shouting and threatening the person you spoke too regarding of position. Politeness always got you further.

I haven't ever held a Customer Care job in my life, although often in business and in jobs that involve lots of meetings one learns to be patient, polite, clear and understanding, even sympathetic and respectful.

Unfortunately, when people feel that they have been cheated or lost out in some way, they often become aggressive in their tone, nasty in their words and sometimes sarcastic. My response to that is to remain polite and to try to find an amicable solution.

In the UK, unhappy customers can get upset and even a little nasty, so giving a little or compromising seems to quieten the situation. The feeling that the establishment understands and will do something to help solve the situation really helps and can often diffuse a difficult situation. One must always bear in mind that what a disgruntled customer may be requesting is often very trivial in comparison to the kind of profits that some businesses are making, and that an apologetic attitude, small loss or gesture of goodwill is often the best way to solve a difficult situation.

In some stores, customers may get the hard line from Sales staff who are doing nothing wrong but following the guidelines that have been set to deal with them. Requesting to speak to either a Supervisor or the Manager often improves the situation and commonly leads to a better chance of a solution satisfactory to both parties.

Dealing with unhappy customers can be very tiring and time consuming, but if you are in any way responsible for their unhappiness then I believe that you should take responsibility and resolve the situation even at your own loss if necessary.

I have never believed that "the customer is always right". I think that went out of the window not long after the British Government stopped telling the their citizens to "go to work on an egg". But I believe that courtesy and a conciliatory attitude will go a long way to helping solve a potentially difficult situation..

Customer care has come a long way within my lifetime and most retail, health, social care and utilities organisations have departments dedicated to dealing with complaints.  Customer complaints are generally treated seriously.

Concerning retail, shoppers have the right to return purchased items within 30 days (provided they havent been used).  Goods must also comply with and operate as advertised (when instructions are followed). if they don't then the customs is entitled to a refund, or replacement.  Shops must be accessible for customers who have disabilities and to cater for all needs.

Shop assistants are generally welcoming and eager to assist, but this may be because they get a commission from sales and/or selling store cards, extended warranties and so on, so be aware of this.

An unfortunate spin off of improved customer care, is that the British very easily become aggressive and threatening, if complaints are not dealt with in the way they want (even if the complaint is unreasonable).  It has also turned the British public into amongst the most litigious in the world.  It can make life exceedingly unpleasant for those providing services.

I worked in social care for many years and when people didn't get the services they wanted (rather than actually needed), the would very frequently become very unpleasant indeed.  I was frequently met with threats of legal action and on a few occasions threats of physical harm. 

As others have noted, a calm and considered approach has to be taken, but with the willingness to, end a meeting or phone call in the face of rising aggression!

If the British public are litigious, then goodness knows what the American public are.
in dealing with customers, I would be far more willing to be generous in settling a problem with a polite customer than one who behaves aggressively. I do not know if that is just me or whether others feel the same way. I think if more customers spoke politely and requested assistance for a problem then there would be more satisfied customers in this world. Shouting and threatening tends to not work with me.

Customer care is fixed in law in many respects.
The ability to take back goods for a full cash refund and legal minimum guarantee periods being the big ones.
Price labelling is also pretty strictly controlled, that meaning if the price is listed, the shop has little choice but to sell it at whatever price they've marked, even if it's their mistake and the price is a massive and unintended discount.
Overcharging can give the shop a serious headache.
Food is strictly controlled, especially with sell by dates being a requirement on all food.

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