Budget Food, Budget Service ?

Reduced Grub
Reduced Grub

 

 

The Lovely Jane from Lady Janey is a master at getting what you deserve and nothing less ! If you get bad customer service, Lady Jane will show you how to fix it, and remember, the customer is always right !

 

Budget food, budget service?

Over the years, our supermarket shopping habits have changed and in many ways, we have become a nation of bargain hunters, always on the look out for a good deal. Budgets are tighter and small penny savings here and there can soon build up to making pounds of difference to our overall weekly shop.

Although I’m Asda born and bred in the northern homeland, nowadays I must admit that I am a loyal Sainsburys follower and have been for years. Nothing really to do with customer service although if ever I’ve had to ring with regard to any problem with my online shop delivery, I’ve always been impressed with the speed and efficiency of the call centre staff. Service in store always reasonably good too.

One reason for the shift in trend in our choice of supermarkets is the growing popularity of discount chains such as Aldi and Lidl, who have homed in on ‘the frequent but less ‘shopping trips. This is in comparison to the ‘weekly big shop’ approach of the larger supermarkets; whereby big savings are offered with discounted bulk buy shops and offers.

So what makes us choose a supermarket and if we choose one of the budget stores then will we be compromising in any way? How do supermarkets retain customers and build brand loyalty?

reduced Grub

Quality of customer service isn’t top of everyone’s list when it comes to supermarket shopping. More likely is choice, cost, quality and availability of products. Also, quick and convenient shopping, hence the rise in popularity of the online shops, along with loyalty cards and promotions. In these respects, Aldi and Lidl don’t have the same amount of choice as the four big supermarkets but the quality of their products can be just as good if not better and they are definite winners in terms of cost.

With regards to quick and convenient shopping, I personally find that there’s nothing better than shopping from my armchair and having the shopping delivered at a time convenient to me. The service by Aldi may not as flexible or well established as the larger stores and Lidl does not offer home delivery at all. However, this does not necessarily mean that these stores compromise in any way in terms of quick and convenient shopping. The quality of an in-store experience is equally as important and all superstores are often centrally located for convenience.

So with the cost of products aside, where it seems to be an apparent no brainer, I’ve decided to head off to my local Tesco and Lidl to see what they offer in terms of customer service and how they compare in this area to see if there is some compromise to be made. The focus will be on speed of shop and checkout, ability and availability of staff to answer queries and also friendliness and general attitude of staff. Watch this space…!

Part 2: Does budget food really mean budget service?

Last month I questioned whether paying less for your groceries necessarily meant you had to compromise on the quality of your shopping experience.

Last month I set off on a Lady Janey mission to my local Tesco and Lidl, two very different supermarkets, and evaluated them in the following areas.

Speed of shop and checkout

My local Lidl is a lovely brand new store, which is visually very appealing. Inside it is crisp, clean, bright and airy. There is so much choice, far more than I thought there would be. The fruit and vegetables looked very appetizing and the absolute epitome of freshness. There were super value products wherever I looked and it was very tempting to grab a trolley and fill it sky high.

But then I saw the checkout queues and put the trolley back.

Just two checkouts were manned so most customers were using the self-service checkouts instead. To put this into context, my visit was at a non-peak time so probably no real requirement to have more than two tills available. However whilst hovering in the extremely well stocked fresh produce section, I took the opportunity to ask a couple of fellow customers about the pros and cons of shopping at Lidl. It seemingly makes no difference when you do your shop as the self service tills would still be the quickest way to pay for your goods. Checkout was said to be often slow with weekends reported as being the worst with consistently long queues.

Tesco also has a vast range of products, lots of choice and although nowhere as cheap as Lidl, prices are very competitive. In terms of aesthetics, Lidl was much more enticing in terms of layout and product selection but that could be because I’m just used to my everyday branded products. Lidl presented me with a whole new selection of goodies to browse through.

Speed and ease of shop is of the essence in Tesco with nearly all the tills in action including the self-service tills. It was significantly busier than Lidl but is also a larger store. There is also a new ‘scan as you shop’ facility, which allows Clubcard holders to scan their products as they shop and simply scan a barcode at the payment area to complete purchase.

Ability and availability of staff to answer questions

There were a lot more staff at Tesco on hand throughout the store, whereas I saw three staff members while in Lidl. Two in the aisles and then one supervising self-service check out. I had been informed sometimes there’s often a long wait for authorisation for alcohol purchases. I put this to the test by purchasing a very lovely bottle of fabulously priced wine £3.85 but had to wait absolutely no time at all for assistance. Wonderful!

Friendliness and attitude of staff

To be honest, in both Lidl and Tesco, I found staff very friendly and happy to help when I asked about location of products. The only difference with Tesco was that the assistant was able to show me personally where the wine aisle was whereas in Lidl I was pointed to the rough area. I suspect this was more to do with manpower logistics rather than any unwillingness to help. You can’t be in two places at the same time.

So in my opinion, yes it might take you longer to do your shop in Lidl and you might have hunt a bit harder to find an assistant who can help should you need it but that’s really the only customer service compromise involved.

I can’t say that my research will change my shopping habits much. Will probably still pop into Tesco on my way home now and then for a few bits. However will also definitely take a look in Lidl now and then to pick up another bottle of very lovely wine- just when I have some time to spare.

Reduced Grub
Reduced grub

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