Paid to Queue
New consumer champion Paul McCrudden has charged over 50 companies for his time spent queuing in shops and waiting in restaurants only to receive rubbish customer service. The London-based blogger calculated that brands owe him £6,000 for time misspent. Pret A Manger coughed up a cheque for £62 to compensate for the time ‘wasted’ in their cafes, even taking the liberty of refunding the £22 he spent on food. Cranberry, the dried fruit confectioners, took a different tactic, calling him a “nut case” and sending him an invoice for the twelve minutes spent answering his letter. McCrudden is recording the findings on his blog 6Weeks and has 1,000 followers wishing to be equally compensated. Some are even charging ‘brand McCrudden’ for the time spent reading his blog, spreading the word and their correspondence with him.
We sort of like the reaction of Cranberry telling McCrudden where to go. If we accept that bad brands should be properly punished, then why not poorly behaved consumers too? Wagamama’s, which promotes the idea of positive eating + positive living, offers discretionary discounts to ‘good customers’, for example.
Following on from Complaints Choirs, we’re seeing consumers increasingly challenge brands about crappy service and shoddy brand experiences. What we once put up with, we now seek compensation for. To the point that this may become a new revenue stream for consumers and brands alike.
If a brand can’t eliminate say, queues, why not offer a service where someone can do it for the customer? Or offer appointments and callback services, which could feel really premium and at the same time, better manage human resources? Services like Everyday PA offer affordable personal assistance for the lifestyle admin we struggle to find the time or inclination to do.
If you enjoy rants about poor customer service (and general strategy stuff), read this Geordie chap’s blog.