I lost my watch in a hotel in LA last autumn and the old fashioned ways of doing things didn't help as much as the new customer service trends did.
I phoned the Omni hotel and got a not helpful response; I mentioned this and the loss in the survey the hotel sent me - and got a personal email from the head of loss prevention, who did everything possible to look for it (and found the toothbrush charger I'd left in the room and sent it on).
We went to the gallery where I bought the watch - and it was now a trendy cake shop. We went to several galleries and couldn't find the artist; but Simon searched for them and found them in Sausalito and I mailed them and they had the watch and gave me a price.
While I was thinking about it, I thought 'hang on, we have this travel insurance I'm always banging on about' and phoned Amex. They said if I hadn't claimed in 30 days it might be too late but to phone Axa. I dithered on that for ages, because I hate disappointments ;-) Eventually I phoned, they were really helpful and scheduled a telephone claim appointment at a specific time the next day, asked some basic questions and told me what information I'd need. I retrieved most of it from my Outlook and OneNote via Windows Search, but getting the date I bought the watch involved some detective work looking through Simon's photos (I don't take many pictures of myself) for one where I was wearing the watch (and we found photos of the place the gallery used to be on the previous day). That meant when Axa phoned (on time) I had all the details, from the eticket number of the flight to the phone number of the head of loss prevention to the address of the gallery to the current price to the explanation of how I knew the date I bought the watch even though I didn't have a receipt, which sounds a lot more impressive than 'I bought in San Francisco but I can't remember when'. The claims assessor said she was happy and would phone within 24 hours if she had questions; instead I got an email saying the claim gets paid (less the usual 20%) and quoting the Xe.com site as the source of the exchange rate. Digital history and digital customer service for the win!