Customer Experience Lessons From The Best


I had the privilege to attend the first day of the recent 20:20 Customer Experience Summit. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for the second day but I wanted to highlight a few things from two of the keynote speakers that stood out for me.

Simon Russell, Director, Retail Operations Development at John Lewis, delivered a talk called ‘Delivering a seamless service’. In his talk he started with a quote from John Spedan Lewis, the founder John Lewis, who said that:

“The Ultimate Purpose of the Partnership is the happiness of all of our members through their worthwhile and satisfying employment in a successful business”.

He then went on to say that John Lewis consults their frontline staff very early in the process of developing any new initiatives. They do this because they realise that to make any new initiatives successful they need to make sure that they, their employees, are involved at all times and support any change.

In another keynote, Reuben Arnold, Brand & Customer Engagement Director at Virgin Atlantic Airways talked about ‘Getting the details right’. One of the things that he said was that Virgin Atlantic had abandoned their ‘mystery shopping’ programme and, instead, had recruited customers to blog about their own end to end customer experience.

In addition to this, he also said that they believe that observation of their customers is, for them, key to their ability to continuously innovate.

He added that they spend a lot of time hiring the right staff to deliver their brand promise. However, when they do hire people they then encourage them to bring out their own personalities at work.

Finally, like John Lewis, they believe that they need to treat their employees as well as they treat their customers if they are to deliver a great experience. Thus, staff areas and facilities are modelled on, or are similar to, Virgin’s Clubhouse airport lounges.

These two very different businesses, which are customer experience leaders in their own fields, show, amongst other things, that:

  • If you want to deliver a great customer experience, your employees are just as important as your customers;
  • To drive innovation and change you need to get as many of your employees as possible involved at all points in the process of change. This might take longer but it will be worth it; and
  • If you want feedback and insight from customers, allow them to do so in ways that make sense to them and not just in ways that make sense to you.

This post was originally published on the 20:20 Customer Experience Summit network here.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Adrian Swinscoe – View the original post

Published On: 31st Jul 2014 - Last modified: 5th Feb 2019
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