Waterstone's has emerged as an early front-runner in a consumer vote on the standard of customer service it provides.
The bookseller came top of an online survey assessing its level of customer service in comparison to 94 other large stores in Britain, as of Monday [24th January]. However, rival retailer W H Smith was ranked 88 in the chart in comparison.
Visitors to the website of television retail advisor Mary Portas, known for BBC2 show "Mary Queen of Shops" and more lately Channel 4's "Secret Shopper", were invited to give stores grades out of five for their level of friendly and efficient service in a bid to determine the UK's "best and worst" stores.
Waterstone's also trumped big-name retailers such Waitrose and John Lewis for its high standards of customer service, which were placed second and fifth in the chart respectively as of Monday [24th January]. The HMV Group-owned bookseller even beat its sister store HMV in the hierarchy, with the latter ranking at number 46.
A Waterstone's spokesperson said the company was pleased about achieving first place, and found the consumer feedback useful. "It's great to see so many people saying such fantastic things about Waterstone's and especially our booksellers. It is a great tribute to the hard work and great service that our people provide day in day out, and
great that customers are taking the time to report on it to the 'Queen of Shops'."
A W H Smith spokesperson said: "We are proud of the service offered by our 15,000 colleagues in store - serving an average of 12 million customers a week. We regularly monitor our performance through a robust and independent customer satisfaction monitor and score well on ratings for the service offered by our staff.
"That said, we take all feedback regarding customer service very seriously and are disappointed that some customers registering on Mary Portas' site have been dissatisfied."