After my post here about the problems I had with my John Lewis Partnership card I had a message from John Lewis Customer Services on Twitter to contact a ‘senior manager’ at the Financial Services.
That was easier said than done.
First I had a rather long-winded conversations with a rather unpleasant person, who denied any knowledge of Twitter, ‘To be honest with you Madam, we would never have ‘blogged to you’ (sic) and I have personally never used Tweets (again; sic…), or even know what it is.’
I explained until I was blue in the face what Twitter was and that I’d been asked by a legitimate JL Customer Services Twitter feed to speak to a senior manager, ‘They are not available,’ came the reply.
After being put through to another, even more unpleasant person, I finally reached a supervisor. She at least knew what Twitter was but said they did indeed not use it and that the message I’d received about my partnership card constituted a breach of security. She would investigate and write to me.
‘You are going write to me? Not email?’ I asked, desperately. John Lewis and me had form in regard to Royal Mail. ‘Or I could call you,’ the woman said brightly (Hallelujah) and continued, ‘But I must warn you, there is absolutely no way we can re-instate your card.’
I put the phone down and felt my eyes fill up out of sheer frustration. After writing the blog post I’d accepted I’d no longer be a customer of John Lewis Partnership. It was only because of the Twitter message that I contacted them again, only to be treated in the same way as before.
I actually felt like hitting somebody or something, but the terrier looked so cute I just couldn’t, and there were no humans in slapping distance. (Where’s the Husband when you need him?)
The next day I had a message on my mobile from a very friendly man calling himself a ‘senior manager’. He left a number to call him back. I didn’t – you can see why? Then the following day another call from John Lewis. This time the first thing the woman said was, ‘Sorry’.
‘I’ve looked through your records and I can see that it absolutely makes sense that you would not have paid your account if we didn’t send you statements. And I can see that this is totally out of character for you as a card holder.’ Or she said something like that. I thought I must be dreaming, and had difficulty in taking in all these kind words uttered by someone working for John Lewis Financial Services.
I pricked my ears when I heard this, ‘We have re-instated your card.’
‘Oh,’ was all I could say. After the initial shock I thanked her and also told her that I wasn’t in the habit of ‘outing’ companies on my blog – it was just that this one meant so much to me.
I am so happy.
Finally I must also thank you, my dear ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ friends, who took it upon themselves to post links to my blog on the John Lewis customer services pages. I am truly indebted to you!
I am now off to buy a new red floaty dress….from John Lewis, naturally.
Alison Cross says
Fantastic news Helena! Social networking sites means that customer feedback to big companies doesn't go just straight to them (where it disappears into a black hole) instead we circulate that feedback to each other. The business that is not aware of the power of this sort of feedback is seriously disadvantaged in the Customer Services game.
The contact that you subsequently had with John Lewis shows that there are gaping holes in their customer service strategy – they are either using FB and Twitter as a company or they are not. And they clearly ARE. To have people involved in the business who have not been kept abreast of these developments – nor the importance of them for the company's well-being – needs attention.
BUT – after all that – YOU GOT YOUR CARD BACK!!!!
Huzzah!!! *toots on party tooter*
Am now off to John Lewis on Facebook to thank them for sorting that out for you – but also to re-iterate what I just put here. It's something that they need to address.
Helena Halme says
You are so very right about all this…but also very BIG THANK YOU to you, couldn't have done it without you! xxx
I am pretty sure John Lewis Financial Services is outsourced, dating from when they changed from Account Cards to the new Partnership Card. JL itself always offers amazing post and pre-sale service in my expeience, so your case probably demonstrates that they made a big mistake in pushing their card arm out of house.
Helena Halme says
When I commented on the unfriendly (to say the least) service the reply was, 'They can be pretty single-minded…' Treating everyone as criminals must work for them even though they don't make an effort to chase debts if a postal address doesn't work…so I agree, Anon.,the out-sourcing could be seen as a mistake.
Anon is correct, the accounts are outsourced. And to be honest, not every John Lewis employee (or outsourced person) would be aware that they have a twitter account, or a facebook account. A lot of the population don't subscribe to social networking and wouldn't have a clue if the company has twitter. And an outsourced company certainly wouldn't be aware.
But in the first place the company running the account cards should have looked at your record and treated you as an individual, not used the 'everyone is out to defraud us' approach.
Really pleased they finally did stop and look at your account and sort it out (suspect that was down to the guys who look after the Facebook account who are very good at responding to the customer complaints that have started appearing there). They are a good company, both to work for and to shop in but as with everything in life, they cannot be 100% perfect, but they will have taken on board what you said – your blog is well written and fair to them.
Finally good results, very happy for you. It is worth while being persistent! Hopefully they will inform their (outsourced?)call centre staff better regarding the effect social media can have on their business. Failing that they can be facing tough times in the future when customer loyalty is even more important for the survival and success of any business.