Recent experiences with both John Lewis and Dyson demonstrate the importance of customer service and its true value to a business.

I purchased an iron from John Lewis about 11 months ago. This was to replace one that I had had for about 20 years. I was somewhat nervous about using it on my silk scarves. I purchased a Bosch – a fantastic iron until it started leaking through the base by the wire. I phoned John Lewis and they said “we’ll swap it.” I swapped it for a Phillips. Frankly this proved a less good iron. The flex was too short but, more importantly, its heat settings were very temperamental. The setting for medium heat, normally used to iron the scarves, was better suited to cotton or even linen. This progressively deteriorated until in a blaze of heat and the pungent smell of burning electrics it gave out. Back to John Lewis. I explained the situation to the person in the electrical department and he simply offered either my money back or a replacement. No fuss, no arguments, just customer service. An anticipated confrontation simply disappeared. Instead, I was left with a feeling of relief and gratitude.

I had a similar experience with Dyson. I have had a Dyson vacuum for some time and the turbine head stopped working so I accessed their online help. I followed the very clear instructions, tried everything and arrived at the message that the next step was to contact a representative. So I phoned, got straight through, explained the problem and that I wanted further advice about trying to fix the part, whilst starting to think that it might be expensive to replace.

That’s ok, we’ll just replace it.

5 minutes and more tests later the part was indeed pronounced dead. “That’s ok, we’ll just replace it.” I explained that I didn’t have the receipt and what’s more I’d never registered the purchase and anyway I’d had the machine for some time.

However, the lady on the service desk explained that the particular model I had was less than 5 years old and that Dyson offer a 5-year warranty so they’d simply send me a replacement. Again, exemplary service with no fuss. The result is that I would happily purchase another Dyson or shop at John Lewis and indeed would recommend both to everyone. You become an ambassador for them because of their service.

I have yet to have a scarf returned but we offer free returns via Royal Mail for all online sales. Why? Because I want everyone who shops online at my store to do so with confidence and know that in the event that they wish to return a scarf, I will endeavour to convert them to an ambassador for my brand.