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What Tesco Bacon Rashers Taught Us About Customer Service On Social Media

When Ben Roberts discovered only 6 bacon rashers in his 7 pack, he headed straight to Tesco’s Facebook Page to complain. The response he got from Customer Care serves as a great example of best practice.

This social media story has it all – witty banter, excellent customer service, hilarity, great PR and of course… bacon.

On 20th July 2015, Ben Roberts posted this photo on Tesco’s Facebook Page with the following text…

Tesco Bacon

Good Evening Tesco,

I hope this post finds you well. I just wanted to draw to your attention a truly horrific moment I incurred on Sunday morning.

Now in our house it is pretty much tradition, or more like religion that we have bacon sandwiches in the morning on a weekend, as I am sure a lot of families are the same. After all bacon is the food of champions.

So here I am Sunday morning when suddenly I remember we don’t have any bacon. I couldn’t believe it! Heartbroken I was! I was on the brink of complete meltdown when I said to myself “Ben! It’s okay! You can just pop down to your handy Tesco Local and pick up a delicious pack of Smoked, back bacon rashers!” Genius!

So I jumped in the car and drove my happy self down to Ye Olde Tesco. I park up, and skip my self into the shop and head for the meat section. I found the bacon, picked up the pack and thought that can go straight in my basket. Upon closer inspection at the checkout I read the front “7 Smoked Bacon Rashers” I chuckled to myself. 7. That’s a strange number for a pack of bacon. I mean come on 7 is the number of days in the week, or the number of Sins but that is not a great number when it comes to rashers of bacon.

I should of walked away there and then I know but I didn’t. Instead I thought it’s ok, when I get home and have cooked the strange number of rashers I simply will have 4 and my other half can have 3. The thought of this made me smile. I will have the most bacon, because I deserve it.

Anyway, I get myself home, turn on the grill, line the tray with foil to avoid washing it and then ripped open the packet. I beamed from ear to ear as I proceeded to lay the bacon out.

Suddenly.. I stopped. I began to feel myself sink again only this time it was worse. I looked down at the tray and then at the packet, then back at the tray and once more took a real good look at the plastic.

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! There was only 6 rashers of bacon. 6. I could not believe it! Mortified! I called my other half into the kitchen but quickly dismissed her as she did not seem to understand the problem.

Well Tesco, let me explain in case you don’t understand the problem. When I go to one of your stores and see 7 rashers of bacon for sale for £1.50 I expect 7 pieces! Not 5, or 6 or even 8 (well 8 is fine) but I expect 7! 7 of your finest rashers is what I wanted and I was sincerely disappointed.

I have attached photo evidence and basically what I want to know is what the bloody hell are you going to do about this cruel act of betrayal.

I look forward to your your response and hopefully my additional rasher of bacon

Yours sincerely

Ben Roberts

This amusing anecdote struck a chord and other Facebook users took delight in chiming in. At the time of writing the post has 92,442 likes and has been shared 18,233 times, not to mention the 10,794 comments.

But the best part of this story is yet to come. This was Tesco’s reply…

Tesco Reply

Hi Ben,

Well, it sounds like you’ve gone through a whirlwind of emotions for a Sunday morning.

Like you my day, month, and year can be made by a top quality bacon butty. I’ll eat them in all the conceivable varieties: with ketchup or with brown sauce. Sometimes, just sometimes, I’ll treat myself to what I call the Jamie special. This requires three slices of bread, some Brie, some mild salsa, bacon (obviously), a dab of imagination, and a George Foreman grill (other lean mean grilling machines are available).

As a fellow bacon fan I can fully understand your shock, disappointment and unadulterated anger at finding only six rashers in the packet.

Can you Private Message me your full name, address and which store it was purchased in? Please also include photos of the barcode, date area, batch code (by the date) and supplier code (usually starting with SC or UK). I will ensure that you’re refunded!

Also, would it be okay for me to pass your details on to the supplier? They may want to contact you directly smile emoticon

Kind Regards,

Jamie – Customer Care

Tesco’s reply has been liked 31,125 times with 1358 replies at the time of writing. Most of the replies are positive and commend Tesco on great customer service, with some even saying that after all this talk of bacon they are jumping in the car to go and buy some from their local branch.

The original post also prompted others to comment saying that they got 8 rashers, making jokes about what they did with the extra one that should have been Ben’s. This was my personal favourite…

Thanks Ben

The story has been shared so far and wide that major news outlets have been commenting on it. Ben’s ‘bacon ordeal’ and Tesco’s ‘best ever response’ has been featured in The Independent, The Mirror, Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Metro, Mashable and many more.

Jamie in Customer Care must be pleased as punch.

So what are the lessons we should learn from this story?

1. Your customer service teams should be monitoring social media and responding to customers on your behalf. This story could have taken a very different direction if Tesco did not respond and manage the situation. 

2. When communicating with your customers, write like you speak and engage with them on their terms. Ben wrote a light-hearted story suggesting he was amused by the affair, so Jamie responded with equal wit and humour. 

3. Use a first name when signing off. We all know Tesco’s message came from Jamie in Customer Care. He’s a person, not a robot – a “fellow bacon fan” – making him easy to relate to and like.

4. Try to respond publicly if possible. Not only is it fun for the rest of your customers to see how an issue was resolved, but it gives them confidence to see that you are appropriately dealing with a complaint.

It surprises me how many businesses do not use social media for customer services. When a complaint is received, some take it offline or pass it on to the right department.

This story is just one example of why it’s a good idea to have your customer services team monitoring and responding on social media – to the good and the bad.

All it takes is guidelines, training and a pinch of trust. So if you aren’t yet allowing your customer services team access to social media, I hope this story has caused you to rethink.

Bethany Carter,  July 29, 2015

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