Colin has worked with and for consumers in a great variety of contexts. After an initial spell with Lever Brothers learning the classic marketing moves, he jumped the fence to go and work at Which? Moving from writing to doing he worked in the consumer advice and research arm of Lambeth Trading Standards at local level – experience which came in handy at his next post at the Office of Fair Trading Consumer Affairs Division. After that he worked with John Timpson of Timpson Shoes and Repairs testing the idea of ‘the customers’ friend’ within a company.
All this formed a good basis to go freelance – he wrote ‘Consumers in Business’ for the National Consumer Council exploring best customer service practice in the USA and UK. He then set up the European arm of the leading boutique customer service and complaint handling consultancy TARP with its research-based model demonstrating the profitability of complaint handling as a means of customer retention and increased loyalty.
Working in these areas he researched the work of various Ombudsman offices and more recently has focused on the NHS and its initiatives encouraging patient participation at both primary care and in hospitals. In addition to his work with NCF, Colin is currently a trustee of Age UK Lambeth and is active in his local community street market as a volunteer.3