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19 January, 2009

Waitrose Voted Top Food Retailer for Customer Service

Waitrose, the food shop of the John Lewis Partnership, has been awarded the accolade of top food retailer for customer service at the inaugural ICS Customer Satisfaction Awards.

The supermarket won the award after being voted the top performer in its category in the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) which asked more than 24,000 people to rate how well companies perform.

More than 30 organisations were vying for awards at the ceremony, run by the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) and held at the Dorchester in London’s Park Lane on Thursday 15th January.

Robert Crawford, executive director of the ICS, told those present that the voice of the customer was of paramount importance – especially in the current economic climate.

“You have all been recognised for your excellence in customer service by the people who matter most – your customers. Most awards are judged by a panel of experts, but the ICS Customer Satisfaction Awards are based on the views of real customers.

Waitrose sister company, John Lewis, won the accolade of best overall company for satisfaction as well as coming first in the category for non-food retailers.

Robert Crawford said John Lewis, was an excellent example of world-class customer service:

“I think this winner displays remarkable consistency across all areas and is exceptional even in such a class field. I hope these awards have given you renewed vigour to go back and make sure customer service is at the top of the tree of priorities for your organisation.”

Notes to Editors:

Notes to Editors: 1)The contenders in the retail sectors were: Retail – food: Waitrose, Asda, Marks & Spencer Retail - non food: John Lewis, Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) is the professional body for customer service whose primary purpose is to lead customer service performance and professionalism. The ICS launched the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) in 2007 and it is repeated every six months. This latest UKCSI is based on a sample of 24,000 adults surveyed online in late 2008. It measured 20 individual factors of customer satisfaction that can be grouped into five attributes: professionalism, problem solving, timeliness, quality/ efficiency and easy to do business with. Each of these factors is weighted according to how important customers said they were in the ICS research Customer priorities: what customers really want and the weighted satisfaction scores are used to produce the Index. This makes the scores exceptionally robust as they are not simply a percentage of respondents who answered a question in the positive or negative – they are derived from a weighted index of multiple questions. 2) Waitrose has 198 branches across Britain, combining the convenience of a supermarket with the expertise and service of a specialist shop. Waitrose is dedicated to offering quality, value and customer service. It was recognised as top supermarket in the last Verdict Customer Satisfaction Report, coming second overall behind John Lewis, and scooping more major wine awards than any other supermarket. As part of the John Lewis Partnership, Waitrose is a very different kind of company, belonging to the 69,000 Partners of the John Lewis Partnership. Each year all Partners share the profits that would normally go to shareholders, producing a very high level of commitment amongst those who work in Waitrose shops, and allowing the retailer to offer the highest levels of customer service.

For more information contact:

Suzanne Hetherington
Senior Press Officer, Corporate
t:01344 82 4006
f:01344 82 5211
e: suzanne_hetherington@waitrose.co.uk