John Lewis on tackling CX woes

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 28 September 2018
John Lewis is famed for its Christmas ads

Marketers need to be across the whole customer journey – from the delivery of banner ads through to the entire customer experience involving call centre handling.

British department store John Lewis may be known for its dogged ‘never knowingly undersold’ mantra and emotional adverts, but its customer service experience offering was trailing behind.

Speaking at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, the department store’s senior manager of customer experience (CX), Lynne Wood, explained how falling short in this area impacted the brand and discussed the necessary customer service experience steps it had to take in order to improve.

Fashion, home and tech retailer John Lewis, which has 50 stores, 28,000 partners and delivers to 38 countries, handled 3.5 million customers cases in 2017 across six contact centres. This encompassed 10 million calls, one million emails and 500,00 live chats.

Wood’s role sees her involved in the implementation of Salesforce for customer relationship management (CRM) for John Lewis and more recently she has been tackling the brand’s CX health by working with the Salesforce ‘Service Cloud’.

“This transition to Service Cloud was a business decision, not an IT decision. The business decision was to ensure we deliver that connected customer experience and make it easier for our partners and agents to talk to customers, solve their issues and deliver sustainable value,” Wood said.

Wood explained how the company has a strong vision, is obsessed about listening to the customer at every touchpoint – from calls, emails to live chat - but knew something wasn’t right. Customer and partner feedback soon confirmed this.

Customer complaints included feeling ill-informed by the brand and receiving different levels of service

Armed with the insight that customers didn’t feel the brand was connecting with them in the right way, Wood said it was clear change was needed

“We had some work to do to ensure that customer experience at every touchpoint was the experience we wanted to deliver,” Wood said.

“What was missing was a strategy and we wanted to make sure what we were doing really meant something.”

She explained how John Lewis’ strategy is around customer promise management. Its next steps included communicating the vision to staff and partners before adding an automated process strategy to ensure customer queries were dealt with more formerly, within a set time frame, instead of getting back to them in more of a haphazard fashion.

Steps included creating an end-to-end process based on customer feedback, which in turn created a bespoke resolution structure to “create the best possible user experience”.

“We had a good lot of work to do but we started off with a bold vision - a shared vision across the business,” she said.

“We really went for a one size fits all but what we ended up with was a different type of screen/process depending on the user.”

Wood said the feedback on the new system was “phenomenal” and the next step now includes integrating the Service Cloud with its artificial message bots and marketing cloud.

The whole venture “has paid for itself already” in less than a year of implementation, she revealed.

Average handle time of a customer issues has been reduced by 26 seconds, first time response had been improved by 8% and it no longer needs such strong development and configuration teams.

“That is significant business benefit,” Wood said of the time reduction.

“Next for us is to join the data a lot more. So, as an example, we could get our marketing [data] from John Lewis or Waitrose through the marketing cloud and then combine it to build that 360 customer view.

“If you rang one of our contact centres today about a particular marketing communication they wouldn’t be able to see that moment so we want to join that data together.

“That’s a big opportunity and hopefully this will be next year but it’s easier said than done.”

Did you catch the new John Lewis and Waitrose ad?

AdNews attended Dreamforce as a guest of Salesforce

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people

comments powered by Disqus