Discussing John Lewis Partnership with former head of customer services

The Workplace Evolution Podcast had the pleasure of meeting with Andrew McMillan – Former JLP Head of Customer Services at the John Lewis Partnership to discuss the organisation's incredible history, the storm ahead and some of the secrets to its reputation for service excellence.

We cover a huge amount of ground together including: 

  • The Unique Business Model of John Lewis Partnership
  • Whether the profit sharing model is broken Building a reputation for service excellence
  • The quest for consistency in customer service and the value of customer complaints
  • Giving freedom and autonomy to make decisions on the front line
  • Whether John Lewis really is in crisis right now – can they weather the storm and what advice would Andrew give to newly appointed Chairperson Dame Sharon White

Andrew started his career as a management trainee with the John Lewis Partnership at Brent Cross in North London. He quickly moved up through the management ranks and led a number of selling teams in different branches, culminating in heading a department in the flagship Oxford Street branch.

From there he moved to the head office to take charge of the department stores’ Intelligence Team. They acted as an internal business consultancy, reporting on competitive strategy, product differentiation and value, catchment area demographics for new branches and customer experience.

In 2000 Andrew was asked to lead on customer experience for the department store division.  The role saw him develop JLP’s market-leading culture and attitude towards customer experience and sales with the 20,000 customer-facing Partners in 26 John Lewis shops across the UK.

That customer-driven culture is something that has now become synonymous with the John Lewis brand. During his tenure John Lewis frequently won awards for customer experience from Which? Verdict and Retail Week and were regularly cited in the media as a leading customer oriented organisation. He was also responsible for the management and resolution of the group’s customer complaints.

Andrew advises many other non-competing organisations on their customer experience strategy and has become a recognised as an expert in the field. 

Andrew McMillan’s Website: https://engagingservice.com/ 
Youtube Clip Mentioned of John Spedan Lewis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chzISD-uQfY 
Employee Ownership Association: https://employeeownership.co.uk/
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The Workplace Evolution podcast is brought to you by Workplace Evolution Ltd - The Natural Selection For Workplace Solutions! Michael Costello is the Managing Director of Workplace Evolution based in Lancaster, UK.