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What can we learn from Marks and Spencer?

I love Loyalty Day. I love hearing from speakers who we wouldn’t usually hear from, sharing lessons from other sectors… I love being challenged by people who aren’t in the same bubble that we live our lives in… and I love the idea that nearly 300 fundraisers, campaigners and more will give up their valuable time to hear about how they can better treat their supporters.

This year was our fourth annual Loyalty Day. In this, the last of our reflections on this year’s Loyalty Day, we’re looking back to the presentation from Hayley Ward, Head of Customer Experience at Marks and Spencer.

As I mentioned above, I always enjoy hearing from knowledgeable, experienced and determined people whatever the sector. I believe that there is a lot we can learn from other sectors, and Hayley proved that to me again.

When it comes to customer experience, M&S has a great reputation, but with this comes high customer expectations. They can’t relax at all.

The language Hayley uses is different to the language we use in the voluntary sector, but the concepts are just as relevant for us.

I’m sure we’d all recognise the description of an organisation with multiple products, multiple channels and multiple teams. The teams may have different names, but the challenges are familiar to us all. I found it particularly valuable to hear Hayley talk about how, when pulling together cross-functional, mission-based teams, it’s essential to always have the customer goal in mind and remain “outcome focussed”.

I also found it useful to hear about the four pillars that lie at the heart of M&S’s customer experience planning. Whilst two of the four are directly based on delivering ever improving customer experiences, two of them are about how M&S needs to change internally. We know that we can’t consistently create communications and experiences that really value our supporters without the whole organisation joining in with this aim, but I wonder how many of us put 50% of the effort into addressing these internal leadership, processes and people challenges?

Music to my ears was hearing how Hayley is clearly an advocate of having the right customer metrics. Of course M&S wants to know about sales, conversions and profitability. But the metrics also include satisfaction, net promoter score, measures of frustration and more… because they know that customer satisfaction and loyalty are intrinsically linked with customer profitability.

Again, this is something that applies very much in our sector, but few have the metrics and the dashboards to monitor this.

There was so much more. Hayley showed us how M&S have created avatars to bring the customer journey to life for colleagues and identify problems and opportunities throughout the entire customer experience… She talked about lots of testing and learning… She talked about the importance of using every opportunity (and creating opportunities) to collect data… She talked about their approach to trying new ideas (even quoting Churchill, “Perfection is the enemy of progress”)… And she talked about the importance of authenticity.

I’m not quite sure how she fitted it all into the 25 minutes. But we’re very grateful that she did. It gave me a lot to think about.

And now I’m looking forward to next year. We’re already thinking about how we can top this year, so please put Thursday 18th November 2021 for the 5th Loyalty Day in your diary now.

If you’d like to know more about how About Loyalty can help you measure the loyalty of your supporters, change the culture of your organisation to put supporters at the heart of your communications or to create supporter strategies and experiences that keep supporters coming back, give us a call today.

Roger: 07929 208 848

Richard: 07703 483 220


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