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.

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile: www.linkedin.com/in/brucetemkin

4 thoughts on “Customer Experience Lessons From Marks And Spencer”

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with the article above and my own expereices with Marks and Spencer over the last few years has shown that they are definitely improving customer experience across the board. I particluarly enjoy the fact that in their stores generally speaking the adage of the customer is always right seems to ring true. Would that many of the other origanisations we deal with as consumers could replicate this philosophy across all the service channels. In my own expereince the worst interactions are often with the call centre – a disembodied group who strive (sometimes) to help but are often burried under poor processes, lack of authority and poor technology

  2. I Was in Castle point today with my daughter and staff member Lorraine gave the best service I have ever had in Marks and I wished she worked for me. Please celebrate her hard and good work that she performs you should be proud

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