In praise of retailers who put the customer first

28 August 2015
We’re all so ready to complain when things go wrong with goods or services we’ve bought that it’s only fair to sing the praises of the retailers who understand the importance of good customer service. Top of my list, as ever, is John Lewis. I recently took out contents insurance with the retailer, attracted by its quote and the £25 giftcard it offered as an incentive for joining up. Within weeks, I absentmindedly left a big bagful of gym kit, as well as my Kindle Fire, on a bus on my way home from work. Once I had checked with the bus garage and Transport for London that the bag hadn’t been handed in, I called John Lewis to make a claim. When our house was burgled two years ago, Axa, the insurance company we were with at the time, asked us to supply receipts or photographs for absolutely everything we’d lost and we even had to ask friends who had given us presents that were stolen to write a letter detailing how much they’d spent, which was embarrassing. John Lewis was much more relaxed about it. When I explained that the bag I’d lost was from Cath Kidston and was about five years old so I didn’t have a receipt, the person I spoke to agreed that you couldn’t be expected to have a receipt for everything. She just told me to email over a list of all the items that had been stolen. When I took a few days to get round to doing it, the agent rang to remind me. And once I’d emailed her, she phoned to settle my claim just three days later – paying a fair price for what I’d lost. Keen to replace my stolen Kindle, I ordered a new one on Amazon, together with headphones, a screen protector and case. I’ve always been a guilty Amazon shopper because of the negative impact on local bookstores of buying books on Kindle or at discounted prices but I have to admit that I’ve always found its customer service to be exceptional. When my order arrived, I realised that I’d mistakenly ordered two sets of headphones and no screen protector. The great thing about Amazon is that if you can’t find an answer to your problem online, you can request a callback and an agent will phone you within seconds. When I explained the problem, the agent emailed me a delivery label to print out so I could send back the extra set of headphones. He then waited for me to place the order for the screen protector and then took off the £7.99 charge for next-day delivery – even though the problem with the order had been my mistake. Teletext completes the trio of retailers in my good books. My daughter, Amy, booked an all-inclusive holiday to Majorca with a friend. But when they arrived at the hotel, they were told it was full and they had to stay at more basic accommodation down the road. On her return, Amy complained to Teletext and a couple of weeks later she received a refund of £100 on a holiday that had cost £500. If you’ve had any positive customer service experiences, let me know at