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Making the best customer service in the country even better, so customers will “Love to Buy” even more

The business environment for John Lewis is a complex one. With the widest product/service range in retail, service experiences that range from a simple in-branch purchase to an in-home installation, delivered by and through the usual Omni channels, to a set of customers that expect the best possible service experience every time. Couple this with the need to increase sales revenue and reduce costs, fighting off niche competitors on a variety of product fronts, and finally add into the mix a unique heritage and culture.

The Challenge

Impact Innovation were asked to deliver on a number of challenges:

  • John Lewis is famed for its service… it’s a fundamental part of our history and constitution – how can we enhance even further this high level of customer service (and not damage it) to give us increased sales and reduce costs?

  • Too many customers are seeking our expertise but then buying elsewhere – how can we address this but not through price?

  • We are John Lewis, our Partners don’t do “hard sell” –  so how do we enable customers to buy?

  • Our branches see John Lewis online and the John Lewis call centre as competitors – how can we harness the power of multi-channel buying to deliver greater levels of sales and customer satisfaction?

The Programme

We started with deep insight into customers, partners, products, services and the business as a whole to really understand the opportunities and barriers. This included behaviours, culture, measures of performance, structures, processes, organisation, teams, roles, leadership, development, data...

We designed a new service philosophy “Love to Buy From Us” which put the focus back on always enabling our customers to buy. A core set of simple service behaviours were created that worked for every type of interaction, with every customer, through every channel and every product. These service behaviours enhanced the ability of Partners to tailor the experience to suit the customer standing in front of them or on the phone. Insight enabled us to debunk myths, for example, customers who buy from John Lewis online come into their local branch MORE often than those who only shop in-branch.

Leaders at every level in the retail organisation were developed into “Love to Buy From Us Leaders”. Change Champions were created in every branch to support and coach colleagues.


After the design, Impact Innovation led the pilot and proving phase in a variety of different trial branches and product categories across the country.

Rollout was achieved through a train-the-trainer approach, developing the skills of the in-house JL L&D teams and delivered to all 25,000 Partners.

During the rollout, success was measured in terms of revenue uplift and also through live feedback tracking from those delivering the programme, ensuring that if there was an issue in a particular branch, a quick intervention could be put in place to provide extra support.

This programme involved branches, contact centres and online working together to ensure a seamless, similar John Lewis experience through every channel.

3% increase in like for like branch sales

16% increase in catchment sales

11% increase in Contact Centre sales

25% increase in associated services

17% reduction in Average Handling Times

19% reduction in escalated complaints

21% reduction in repeat calls/contacts

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