John Lewis: the best customer service in Britain?

6 December 2013

I think I may have experienced the best customer service in Britain in the past few weeks – from John Lewis and the Gina Conway beauty salon in Wimbledon.

I’ll begin my tale with John Lewis – you know, the department store that spent a fortune on its Christmas ad to convince us all of its warm and cuddly credentials? It really needn’t have. I had already been convinced. So much so, I’m going to sing its praises to all my family and friends for years to come. Why? Because of its brilliant customer service.

A couple of weeks ago, the time had finally come for me to collect the decanter I had been given as a wedding present. My parents were visiting so I thought we could show off our new, matching tableware – which would be set off a treat with a bottle of Vintage port (another wedding gift) glistening in the sparkly new decanter.

But on opening its box, tragedy struck – we discovered the decanter was smashed. I headed straight to the John Lewis website to order a new one, as the rest of our new glassware matched the decanter.

Then came another blow – it had been discontinued and wasn’t to be found anywhere else online.

I emailed the John Lewis Gift List team that had been so great months earlier when our wedding list was open. I explained the decanter was smashed and that we were desperately trying to find a replacement. At no point did I imply that it must have been smashed during delivery or that John Lewis should replace it – we could have smashed it ourselves by accident.

Within a day or two, I received an email apologising that it had been discontinued and explaining that it couldn’t be ordered either. However, I was informed that gift vouchers were on the way to me so we could find a suitable alternative. I had neither asked, nor expected, such an outcome but am so grateful for it.

Now let’s move on to the beauty salon. I had booked a treatment that was to be my first I’d had done there. I was impressed with the facilities, the cleanliness of the salon and the friendliness of the staff. However, I was left disappointed with the standard of the treatment.

At first, I didn’t want to say anything as the therapist had been so nice. But the next day, the amount of money I had spent kept niggling away at me. Again, I emailed the company to tell it I was disappointed with the service I had received. Within a day salon owner Gina Conway had called me to apologise personally and the manager had booked me in for a complimentary treatment. I can tell I’m going to be a regular customer.

John Lewis and the beauty salon understand small acts of kindness towards their customers will bring about two things – repeat custom and the best advertising money can’t buy.

We all whinge about poor customer service, but sometimes it’s worth celebrating the people who get it right. So who has made your day recently?