Genteel revolt over John Lewis errors

Customers of John Lewis have voiced their frustration and anger at a botched restructuring of its home furnishings division.

The company announced last year that it was centralising its customer services into one hub.

Last week, The Mail on Sunday revealed how shortages of staff and training issues have led to lengthy delays and errors.

Dozens of readers have since contacted us to tell of their problems with the new system at John Lewis, which has long prided itself on a reputation for high quality customer service.

Spotlight: Readers have told us their problems with the new system at John Lewis

Spotlight: Readers have told us their problems with the new system at John Lewis

Spotlight: Readers have told us their problems with the new system at John Lewis

Anita Freter, who wanted to return items, said: ‘I had to go through the rigmarole of phoning the call centre. They then have to arrange for someone from the store to call you. I was forced to go through the same procedure four times.

‘Before it would have involved one phone call to the branch and all would have been sorted.’

Dr James Carne said: ‘It takes between 30 and 40 minutes for anyone to answer the phone. At no time has the relevant person who could answer our query been available.

‘Our persistent request for a direct line number to whom we could call or name to whom we could write was refused.’

Margaret Warin said she placed an order for a carpet in January but is still waiting for a delivery and fitting date. She added: ‘The most frustrating thing is not being able to get through by phone but being put straight on to hold. On numerous occasions I gave up after 15 minutes. I resorted to emails but they don’t seem to answer them.’

Barbara and Michael Pennington said: ‘The problem is with the management which seems polarised by a rigid bureaucratic system.

‘It beggars belief that an ill- thought out and poorly implemented scheme approved by senior management will result in years of goodwill being destroyed.’

A former staff Partner said: ‘I am speaking as one of the many home furnishing administrators John Lewis chose to throw out of a job.

‘We all knew the decision would lead to total disaster for the customer. In fact, it is actually worse than we anticipated.

‘The Partnership has lost sight of the fact that the only reason to come to John Lewis was for the service. That has now gone and with it so will the customers.’

A John Lewis spokesman said: ‘We are very sorry for the delays. We’ve recruited and trained additional Partners to support the current team. Both our shop and contact centre Partners are working very hard to address these issues in order to return to normal servicing times as soon as possible.’ 

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