John Lewis

How to lose customers

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nottingham_exterior_img_060115In recent months at home we have been having quite a lot of work done to make the house more pleasant. This has involved dealing with various tradesmen and retailers. I like to think that I choose both carefully, but as experience has shown using the ‘market leader’ isn’t always the best approach…

I have established a relationship with an excellent plumber, a small builder and a kitchen installer. All 3 are great to deal with and do a first rate job – they are also sole traders.

I am not sure why but we decided to use John Lewis (JL) for flooring, curtains and blinds, the flooring has been done in 2 stages; Stage one was the kitchen, it wasn’t totally pain free but the job was completed well (more down to the self employed fitters). But I did have issues with J L and they paid me compensation – enough said.

This week my living room floor should have been laid – it’s timber and needs a fitter to install it. Initially we were told fitting would be 4 weeks from order, but then when we accepted the quote it became 8 weeks! That was also after they found the flooring they had sold us wasn’t actually made any more…A conversation with JL got fitting down to a more acceptable 5 weeks, which was up this week. All should therefore be fine – except it isn’t.

The flooring has been delivered but the fitter couldn’t actually lay the floor as it needs a levelling screed – something that JL should have checked (but didn’t) when they quoted. The fitter was great about it and we are now being fitted in a couple of weeks. But, JL initially wanted me to pay for the screed that they missed – suffice to say after a ‘conversation’, they are now paying for it!

This isn’t our only issue with JL in recent weeks though, we have also had problems with the curtain and blind orders. The process has dragged on for at least a month longer than it should have done due to initial sample requests not being processed and then the order papers not being sent through to the booking office from the shop. Again not what you expect from JL.

So all in all a fairly poor performance from JL, not according to them what they aim for in customer care, but as they say – three strikes and you are out. They won’t be getting any big orders from me in future, I will use local traders and retailers who are recommended to me.

The Christmas advert….

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The ‘big’ Christmas advert is now well established as a part of the festivities, the big stores all now try to out do each other. Last years winner was without doubt the Bear and Hare advert done by John Lewis. I don’t have a problem with the concept of doing festive big adverts, they can add to the festive feel.

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Normally they are fairly predictable and involve snow, party scenes and various celebrities – you can normally guess the store by the celebs they use, every so often we get a weird or wonderful advert. John Lewis seem to fill this quite well, last years was lovely and cute (so I am told), this years with the penguin is just plain weird to me – but harmless.

Last night I saw the Sainsbury’s advert, and I have to say I thought it was poorly judged. If you haven’t seen it yet this links to it. Now they have done ‘the right thing’ and it is in conjunction with the British Legion and raises funds for them – which is good.

My issue is with the subject matter, yes there was a Christmas truce in the first year of the First World War, and it is something special. But is it really the right thing to use the bloodiest war in history to sell a retailer? I don’t thinks so, to me it feels wrong and just badly judged, Sainsbury’s are using the 100 year anniversary for the wrong reason. It will be interesting to see what the reaction is as more people see it…..

What is wrong with John Lewis?

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I have been aware of the growing disaffection with John Lewis in Nottingham by my colleague Tim Garratt, and that John Lyle has recently beaten them easily on price with his new favorite Dixons. Up until today however I have not suffered at their hands, in fact our experience of their staff has been nothing but excellent.

Today however it all went horribly wrong for their relationship with the Dare family! The wife and I were in town doing Christmas shopping – a hateful task at the best of times, but we were well organised and had a ‘hit list’ of shops and items. Top of the list was an Xbox 360 for Sam, we had researched on-line and were aware of the best price on a 4GB unit. A quick visit to Game and HMV confirmed the prices, we then decided to go to John Lewis and, if they had one, to get it.

The assistant was as usual very helpful (no problem there) – but it appears the system was not on his side – the conversation went something like this;

  • Do you have an Xbox 360 4GB in stock please?
  • I will check – no sorry, would you like us to take your name?
  • Yes please, does that secure one for us?
  • No, but it tells us you want one.
  • So we can give you our name and you will tell us when it comes in, but if someone else comes in they can buy it?
  • Yes, but that doesn’t happen often.

So the bottom line is we couldn’t order one and pay and be guaranteed it – John Lewis didn’t want my money obviously!

In the end I went to Game – it was £5 more but was in stock and they were very helpful and knowledgeable.

Sorry John Lewis, you went way down in my list of favoured shops today.