John Lewis has built one of the most loved retail brands in the United Kingdom. People are attracted to the John Lewis Brand because of its purpose, core values, unique business model, emotional advertising and employees (partners) who deliver a great customer experience.
The John Lewis Partnership is an employee-owned company which operates John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarkets. The company is owned by a trust on behalf of all its employees — known as Partners – who have a say in the running of the business and receive a share of annual profits. John Lewis is one of the largest private companies in the United Kingdom.
The John Lewis Partnership puts the happiness of Partners at the center of everything it does. The goal was to create a different type of company owned by Partners dedicated to providing customers with great service. Happy empowered employees with ownership in the company who have a vested interest in providing high levels of customer service.
John Spedan Lewis formed the partnership in 1929 and began distributing profits to employees. His goal was to create a company that gave every Partner a voice in the business they co-own. His combination of business acumen and corporate conscience was ahead of its time.
The Partnership’s ultimate purpose is the happiness of all its members, through worthwhile and satisfying employment in a successful business. The Partnership is owned in trust for its members, they share the responsibilities of ownership as well as its rewards profit, knowledge and power.
They have won a number of awards as Britain’s favorite retailer because they provide a better customer service experience than their competition. Their advertising including this years holiday campaign builds a strong emotional connection with consumers.
The success of the John Lewis Partnership retail operations can be attributed to a focus on the following:
1. Partners Who Care About Providing Great Customer Service
None of the 70,000 people who work at John Lewis is an employee. They are “Partners” who jointly own the business. They earn profit-sharing based on how much profit is generated by the business. This encourages them to give great service because they feel a sense of ownership. John Lewis believes that if you treat your partners well, it will lead to good customer service.
2. Providing Great Training For Their Partners – But Empowering People to Make Decisions
Allowing Partners to think for themselves gives them a sense of responsibility – which, as a rule of thumb, they tend to want to live up to.
3. Encouraging Feedback from Customer Facing Staff on what Customers Really Want
John Lewis involves customer facing staff in improving the way things are done. They leverage their unique insights to improve service.
4. Be Exceptional
Partners at John Lewis have strong product knowledge and embrace every opportunity to provide great service.
5. Provide Great Customer Service Levels Online
John Lewis has a user-friendly website. They also make it easy for customers to contact a real person as soon as they want to.
Can you think of another retail brand where employees “live the brand” and create a great customer experience?