To whom it may concern at B&Q,

I had the misfortune of shopping in one of your stores recently. This summer I had to complete some overdue projects around the house so I needed a few tools and materials to complete the jobs.

I will be the first to admit that my experience at building things is limited. I built a spice rack once for my grandma when I was about twelve years old but since then things have been a little quiet. However my ambition and determination is second to none. I assumed my enthusiasm would be enough to get me started and the experience of your trained staff would surly help me with the rest.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. The staff working there do not appear to have any training on anything, including basic life or communication skills. I was astonished by the lack of knowledge they possessed about anything they sold. I asked one guy where I could find a funnel and he stared back at me blankly for about twenty seconds before taking me to four different aisles that didnโ€™t have funnels. I then asked him if he knew what a funnel was and he responded back with, kind of. Needless to say I did not manage to purchase a funnel that day.

 

This looks like fun, but can you show me where the funnels are please.

 
How is anybody supposed to ‘Do It Yourself’ if you can’t get any basic information on any of the merchandise that you sell? I spent most of my time on my phone watching DIY tutorials on You Tube to find out what I would need and how to do it (Itโ€™s a good job I have a decent data package on my phone).  Whenever I asked staff where to find all the items that I wanted to purchase, they were clueless.

On at least six occasions their default answer for everything, no matter what you asked for was aisle 36. I quickly realised that this was a tactic they employed to avoid having to help anyone. Once you let a member of staff disappear from your side you might as well give up on finding them ever again. 

 

Try aisle 36…again

 
To make matters worse, when a member of staff is trying to locate another member of staff to assist you, they end up giving you a complete tour of the whole store in an attempt to find them. Why not supply your staff with walkie talkies? This would save time and energy for everybody involved.

My experience was a terrible one and due to the fact that I could not seek the correct advice in store, it meant that I had to make more than two trips to find parts that I was unaware that I needed. The ironic thing is every time you pay for an item and the cashier hands you your receipt, they make such a big deal about asking you for customer feedback, as if they are doing an amazing job or something.

Consider this letter as my customer feedback. I found shopping in B&Q stressful and highly frustrating and I am not in any rush to return there in the near future.

Regards,

Sebastian Bowen.

B&Qs Response 

Good afternoon Mr Bowen,

Thank you for your email dated 26th August 2015. We apologise for the delay in response.

We are very sorry to hear that you have cause to complain on this occasion in regards to the customer service that you have received in store. 

We have contacted the Store Manager to pass on your comments and requested that this be addressed internally as a matter of urgency.

B&Q constantly strive on customer service and it is clear that on this occasion we have failed to meet your expectations. Rest assured this is not the way we expect our customers to be treated and will endeavour to ensure that this sort of behaviour does not continue
Due to the nature of your complaint, an internal investigation will be carried out and we unfortunately will be unable to provide any feedback.
Thank you for taking the time and trouble to contact us and we hope that this incident does not deter you from shopping with us in future.

Thank you for contacting B&Q.

Kind regards,
Lisa Harkins B&Q Customer Services

My Response

Hello Lisa, 

Thank you for getting back to me. I was starting to feel like B&Q really didn’t care about their customers anymore. 

In regards to the internal investigation that you are about to conduct, have you considered just employing or training more staff that are knowledgable about the products you sell? Or at the very least equip them with some form of tech so they are permanently connected to a reliable source of information. That way they have no need to stare back at you with a blank expression slapped across their face whenever you ask them a simple question. 

Why are you not able to share the results from your investigation? I believe customers would be delighted to read that you are fully aware of how bad things are, and they would be eager to hear how you’re planning to improve things for the future.

In the meantime I have come up with an ingenious idea that I think would benefit your customers greatly. It’s called DIY PRO! 

Example of a DIY PRO team.

What is DIY PRO? I hear you ask. 

DIY PRO is my soon to be copyrighted idea that gives customers a “real shop” experience. DIY PRO will allow customers to book a designated time slot with an expertly trained member of staff. When the customer arrives at the store they will receive undivided attention from a DIY PRO.This will allow a customer like myself to show the DIY PRO a photo or a badly drawn picture of what I want to build, and the DIY PRO will lead the customer to every aisle assisting with options on tools and materials and the best way to approach the project. Hence the “real shop” experience. 

After the short market research that I conducted, I discovered that an overwhelming 100% of your customers said they would like to feel like they are in a real shop. 

 

Real shop experience = happy customers.

 
Despite the fact that this service should already be available to your B&Q customers for free, I am willing to bet my hard earned money that you could charge a reasonable fee for this service and customers would be willing to pay it. Anything beats walking around the store for hours scratching your head like a confused monkey. 

If you like the sound of this idea let me know, because for an agreed fee, I would be happy to organise and facilitate the launch of DIY PRO to the people of Great Britain today. 

I look forward to your response, 

Regards,

Sebastian Bowen. 

B&Qs Response

Good afternoon Mr Bowen,

Thank you for your email dated 4th September 2015 regarding your experience with the B&Q Friern Barnet store. Please accept my apology for the delay in our response.

I am very sorry to hear about the poor customer service you received from one of our stores, and must apologise for the inconvenience caused. This is not the level of service B&Q expects for its customers and I can understand your concern and disappointment.

Your complaint has been passed to the Duty Manager of the store for an internal investigation. I have sent them a further email to advise that any comments they can provide in response would be appreciated.

Once I have received a response, I will certainly contact you with an update.

Thank you for contacting B&Q.

Kind regards,

Nicole Turnbull B&Q Customer Services

My Response

Hello Nicole, 

Thank you for getting back to me. It’s much appreciated. What happened to Lisa? Did she find another job. I hope it had nothing to do with me. 

I am pleased to hear that you will be sharing the findings of your internal investigation with me. As a customer I feel like for the first time my input finally matters. I am sure your methods for smoking out the perpetrators are second to none, but I would like to take this opportunity to offer you my services free of charge as a mystery shopper. 

I have no experience as a mystery shopper in the professional sense, but how hard could it be. Essentially I am a mystery shopper every time I enter a shop that I have never been in before. I will even wear a disguise if it is necessary, in fact of course it’s necessary I have the perfect thing upstairs in the wardrobe. To avoid and ensure their is no confusion about who I am, I have included a photograph of what I will be wearing to pass on to your management and security teams.

 

My secret disguise

 
I am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and I can’t think of a more fitting time to try it on. 

In fact the very thought of this has got me excited and I think I’ll do my first mystery shop today. I know if we work together we can eradicate any ill willed behaviour amongst the B&Q family and offer an honest and impeccable service to all future customers. 

Please can you also forward me a shift rota for all staff so I can work out a schedule. This will ensure I get to test everybody and treat everybody fairly. 

I look forward to speaking to you soon, 

Regards,

Sebastian Bowen. 

B&Qs Response

Good afternoon Mr Bowen,

Thank you for your email dated 10th September 2015. We apologise for the delay in response.

Unfortunately we are unable to provide you with the requested information for data protection. All quality on items and staff is done internally within the business.

Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Thank you for contacting B&Q.

Kind regards,

Lisa Harkins B&Q Customer Services

My Response 

Hello Lisa, 

Glad to see you came back. I was beginning to think you had abandoned ship and moved on to other exciting retail adventures. 

Lisa, I would be lying if I said your response did not come as an utter disappointment. Receiving a copy of the rota was necessary in order for to me to conduct a thorough investigation.  

Fear not Lisa, because I have come up with another ingenious idea. I will wear a hidden camera to ensure I remember whom I have spoken with and what they have said. Last year I won a bid on eBay that made me the proud owner of one of those flash spy pens you see in all the James Bond films. I have included a image in case you don’t watch spy films. You should spy films because they are awesome. 
 

My awesome spy pen

 

Is that not the best thing you have ever seen. I can’t wait to use it. Everything will go ahead as planned. 

Is that not the best thing you have ever seen. I can’t wait to use it. Everything will go ahead as planned. 

Looking forward to seeing you all in the near future. 

Regards,

Sebastian Bowen.

No Further Response

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