Dean and Donaldson

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Recent reports that John Lewis’s turnaround plan will take two years longer than planned draws into sharp relief what can happen when you aren’t guided strongly enough by your brand, which is, in our view at D&D, partly what led to Sharon White stepping down as Chair.

She removed the “Never Knowingly Undersold” price promise but never replaced it with anything meaningful. Her plans to dilute the employee mutual model by selling a stake in the businesses directly flouted the JL brand values. Marketing support for the brand seems to have waned too.

But despite all negative press, the Partners continue to keep the brand alive and well at the coalface.

Here’s a recent experience that illustrates why Clare Crawshay-Williams, one of our founding partners, continues to be loyal, and like many others, willing to buy from John Lewis and act as an advocate. Here’s her story.

‘A couple of weeks ago my washing machine broke down.  Being conscious of the environment I investigated if it could be repaired. I found repairs would cost £400 for a machine that was 9 years old with designed lifespan of 10 years.

So, I decided to replace it.  As ever it was a seamless experience; bought online from the John Lewis website, paid a little extra and had it delivered on a morning that suited within a week of ordering. A very nice, knowledgeable man turned up on time to deliver it, quietly plumbed it in while I was on a business Zoom call and took the old one away.

But what really made the experience exceptional was when he informed me that John Lewis would be re-cycling my old machine. He himself didn’t know exactly how but suggested I call to find out more.

I was amazed to find you can still call John Lewis. I searched their website for “recycle washing machine” and immediately found a number to call. Someone picked up straightaway. My initial contract didn’t know about recycling but said he’d get someone to call me. A few hours later the phone rang and someone very knowledge gave me chapter and verse.

Working in partnership with companies such as Freecycle, JLP strip out every component that can be re-used from white goods, before sending what cannot to landfill.

It’s not perfect but John Lewis is doing what they can:  in the process making customers feel better about their purchase.

Their commitment to customer service was once more evidenced when I received a link to a follow up survey.  A total of fourteen questions, all designed to ensure that John Lewis gain an in depth understanding of their customers, in the process understanding precisely how they can address any problems and improve service.

I answered “Excellent” to every single question.’

At D&D we believe John Lewis will be able to reclaim its position as one of the UK’s strongest and most loved brands if it continues to engage its partners to deliver on the values that keep customers like Clare coming back for more and telling friends and family that JLP is still the best choice.