Customer Experience Lessons From Marks And Spencer

Last week, I was in London to lead a panel discussion for Tealeaf at the MarketingWeek Customer Retention Conference. The opening speaker was Jo Moran, Head Of Customer Service/Experience at Marks & Spencer. She presented a lot of great ideas that other companies can learn from.

Moran outlined a number of steps that the retailer uses to infuse service into its traditionally “product-centric” culture:

  • Define the service proposition. Marks & Spencer defined what it calls “Our Service Style” which has four elements:
    • Be positive
    • Be determined
    • Take ownership and responsibility
    • Be respectful
  • Embed in the structure. Moran described a new position, Coach, that acts as a role model and also as a trainer on the floor to teach employees how to deliver the service style.
  • Support with training. The retailer has a full spectrum of training from one-off events to a fully developed career path. She said that there are three key words for all of their training:
    • Simple
    • Memorable
    • Do-able
  • Keep up the momentum.They do audits of the customer experience, have champions across the organization, and a cross-organization steering committee. She said that you need to figure out if you are on a “journey or separate chapters in a  book that aren’t linked.” [editorial note: you need to be on a customer experience journey].
  • Look at what’s getting in the way. The retailer looks at tasks and red tape that either keeps employees from spending more time with customers or wastes the customers’ time.
  • Improve or remove. Moran talked of very coordinated recognition programs (daily, weekly, monthly, and annual customer service awards), but they also use the “stick” to get rid of employees that can’t deliver the service style.
  • Measurement to drive continuous improvement. M & S uses mystery shoppers (which Moran said she “loves and hates”) as well as a voice of the customer program that explores new ways to get feedback through mechanisms like Twitter, Facebook, and Fizzback.

Moran also discussed the company’s “service circle” which had at its center: “SERVICE: Doing what’s right for customers” and was surrounded by five circles:

  • Understand your business
  • Understand what customers want
  • Make a connection
  • Be flexible
  • Be commercial

One of the final things that Moran presented was this model (which I’ve recreated, so it’s not exactly the same as her slide):

The bottom line: There’s a lot of good stuff here.

Congrats to VoC Winners: Experian, Progressive, and Vanguard

Well, it’s been a wild day; the Grand Hyatt was hopping today as we kicked off our Customer Experience Forum.

My opening keynote speech seemed to go over really well. I weaved the story of the customer experience journey together with the story of Dorothy’s journey in the Wizard Of Oz. I actually ended my speech with a rewritten version of the song “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” I also showcased some data from my new report that went live today called “Customer Experience Boosts Revenue.” I’ll talk more about my speech and that research in future posts.

For now, I want to congratulate the three winners of Forrester’s 2009 Voice Of The Customer (VoC) Award: Experian, Progressive, and Vanguard. We received 40 strong nominations, so these winners did a really great job. They all were adept at the four key elements of a VoC program: Listening, Interpreting, Reacting, and Monitoring and were able to identify significant business results from those efforts. You can download their nomination forms from Forrester’s customer experience blog.

There were so many outstanding nominations, that we named 11 finalists:

  • Cardinal Health
  • CIGNA
  • Experian
  • Gaylord
  • Hyatt Place
  • iRobot
  • Logitech
  • Oracle
  • Progressive Insurance
  • Symantec
  • Vanguard

Voice of the customer is a critical component for just about any customer experience effort. And the trends indicate that VoC will become even more important in the future. A lot of the advances in VoC are coming from innovative work from a number of vendors. That’s why one of the questions we asked was: “What technology vendors or service providers are critical to your success?”

Here’s a shout out to the vendors that were mentioned by the 11 finalists:

Bain and Company, Burke Research, CAHPS, Clarabridge, Cognos, Convergys, ECHO, Healthways, iModerate, JD Power, Lotus Notes, M/A/R/C, Medallia, Microsoft, National Committee for Quality Assurance, NICE, Opinion Lab, Oracle, Radiano, RightNow Technologies, Satmetrix, Somentics, TeaLeaf, Vovici, and Webtrends.

The nominations were loaded with great insights, so I’ll be writing a lot more about what we found.

The bottom line: Congratulations to all of the winners, finalists, and the vendors that helped!

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