By Andrew McMillan
So, here we are with the last of the articles in this short series. Thank you for taking the time to read them and special thanks to all of you kind enough to leave comments on the online versions. Clearly, some of my writing has created debate in the industry, which is all I hoped for. Some of my thoughts appeared to cause quite heated exchanges, but this last piece may be the most controversial.
Andrew McMillan spent more than 20 years with John Lewis Partnership, developing industry-leading customer service across the department store division, before becoming a principal partner at consultancy Engaging Service.
Anyone who followed the articles for the past 18 months will have come to understand the approach I used to shape the customer experience when I was at John Lewis, namely:
♦ Define the behaviour and attitudes that will differentiate your customer experience
♦ Measure the defined behaviours, segmenting the reporting of those measures to make individual managers accountable for the culture they create within their teams
♦ Communicate relentlessly what the business is doing about employee and customer experience and why, re-telling stories of great successes
♦ Create the time for inspirational and supportive leadership to model and develop the customer experience
♦ Look for every possible opportunity to recognise and reward really good behaviour
♦ Be very clear about the sort of people you want to recruit into your business.
Is that enough?
Well, it can be and I have worked with clients in many sectors since leaving John Lewis in 2008 and helped them apply that framework with success.
Many attributed their enhanced commercial success to their improved customer experience and some even went on to achieve national cross-sector recognition for their efforts. Specifically in the automotive sector, for some, their efforts were rewarded with enhanced manufacturer relationships too. But could even better performance be achieved without the constraints of the traditional remuneration and reward structures?
This thinking came about when an automotive client asked me “Why can’t we recruit people like those at John Lewis?” The answer is simple – many of the people employed in high street retail would be unwilling to swap a regular salary for what may be perceived as a high-risk, commission-based remuneration structure.