Tesco: 'Quantity over quality?'

April 28, 2010, 11:08 PM GMT+0

Tesco’s fortunes on the TellYouGov leaderboard have improved significantly over the last few days as the high street giant rises out of a lull to a peak volume score of 143 on April 28th, impressively just behind current leaderboard mainstays Nick Clegg, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Katie Price and Lady Gaga.

The uber-store recently witnessed profit growth of ten percent to a very respectable net £3.4bn, so it is perhaps in correlation with this that the retailer received 1,074 comments, or ‘tygs’, of which 585 (more than half) were positive, between March 22nd and April 22nd. Many of the positive tygs centred around the attitude of the staff (+141) with many agreeing with one user, or 'tygger', who said ‘the staff [are] always ready to help and [are] always cheerful and chatty’. Another tygger reflected this general mood by claiming that Tesco had ‘good customer service’.

Unfortunately for Tesco however, the negative sentiments (-489) have a significant presence too. Service seems to be as bad as it is good, with many tyggers questioning the levels of customer care that they receive at the retail giant’s stores, of which there are around 2,282 nationwide. One tygger suggested that Tesco was ‘too powerful and throws its weight around’; another lamented that Tesco was a ‘greedy company [with] too many stores being built destroying local business’ and three people said that Tesco was ‘taking over the world’. In this regard, one could posit that Tesco may fast be becoming a victim of its own success.

This may be especially true if we compare Tesco’s leaderboard presence to that of its competitors. Other supermarkets, while not having (yet?) enjoyed the same volume of net profits, or indeed tygs, actually appear to fare better than Tesco in terms of public opinion.

Take another big four store, Sainsbury’s. The supermarket only received 355 tygs, compared to Tesco’s 1074 over the same period, and yet, with 234 positive and 121 negative tygs, managed a sentiment score of 113, meaning that 65% of those tygging had something positive to say about Sainsbury’s, compared to Tesco’s 54%.

Other supermarkets rising high on the leaderboard on volume alone, but with comparatively impressive sentiment scores, include Asda and Morrisons; while high-end supermarket Waitrose’s relatively modest volume and sentiment scores (34 and 28 respectively) belie the fact that 90% of its tygs are positive – a far higher percentage than that of its rivals’.

It seems that Tesco, riding high on volume but dropping in the sentiment stakes, may be a particularly good example what happens on the TellYouGov leaderboard when quantity is seen to override quality.

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