As is fairly obvious, I don’t need my looks to earn my living – if I did, I’d have been through a CVA some time ago. However, I do try my best to look after myself.

As is fairly obvious, I don’t need my looks to earn my living – if I did, I’d have been through a CVA some time ago. However, I do try my best to look after myself.

After receiving one as a Christmas gift, for the past couple of years or so I’ve spent an inordinate amount of money every month on skincare products from Lab Series. Yes, I’m not ashamed to admit it.

I reconcile this with the fact that I’ve given up lots of bad habits that I spent more money on previously.

For 18 months, John Lewis was the beneficiary of my monthly expenditure. However, I could never understand why I simply couldn’t go into my account and select to buy the same products that I’d previously purchased.

Each month I had to add them to my bag again. Although they retained all the rest of my details, it felt a little like starting over as a new customer. I grew increasingly frustrated and bored, to the point that I decided to go direct to Lab Series to buy.

Not only does Lab Series let me reorder with a simple process through my account, it sent me (unprompted) a nice branded dressing gown within a week of my first purchase, and it gave me a gift with purchase, a cheeky wee washbag. So they really are thinking through customer retention and what it can do to secure my loyalty.

I’m slightly surprised that, over the duration of my time as a regular customer of John Lewis, I was never once the recipient of any targeted or personalised emails. You know, something that recognised my behaviour, what I bought, how often I bought.

All I ever received was the same generic mass broadcast emails that every customer received.

It would have been quite easy to not only secure my business but also cross-sell me other, related products.

So from this evidence, as big and successful as John Lewis is, it could focus a lot more on customer retention. And it would do well to remember that a new customer is for life, not just for Christmas.

  • Martin Newman, Chief executive, Practicology