In response to a decline in business and a survey that revealed that they were ‘not good enough’ a new leadership-driven initiative to raise quality standards at Sainsbury’s has been made.
Beth Hart, Head of Sainsbury’s Technical Team, speaking at Fruit Focus identified, in an ever-changing retail environment, the company’s response to meet the future needs of their customers. “We are losing business, consumers are changing their shopping habits, and have new expectations”, said Beth. “The consumer shops more frequently, in smaller stores, prefers a range of offers, and wants a positive response if seeking to complain. In a world driven by social media, one complaint about any of our products can go viral like a forest fire and be very challenging to put right,” she added.
The whole of the vast Sainsbury’s supply chain was under review, including 1200 stores, 160,000 employees and 3000 suppliers, with an overhaul of specifications and complaint management being part of a six-pronged strategy. “We will be smarter and use objective scientific measurements, although at the moment we are unsure as to how to measure perceived quality”, she added. “Today’s customer is ‘social media savvy’ using a mobile phone, wants to shop on-line, and is ready to complain if family occasions are let down by poor quality”.
Beth also indicated that positives will be taken from customer feedback, offering the opportunity to counter complaints with compliments.