Stuart Rose, head of Marks & Spencer, said on the radio after heading a 3 year turn around noted that they had been going 125 years and for 110 of those were very successful. When asked how the turn around was achieved said "Good products at good prices in good shops with good service."
When asked what was done to achieve the transformation said " Our people did it. When I joined three years ago I went round asking people what was wrong and how do we correct it? They all gave the same answer so I asked why they weren't doing it." He continued "I realised that they had a collective fear that they couldn't get it right. So I made sure they had support and they got on with it."
Two incidents that I witnessed recently sum it up. I went into Marks and saw a large display of glassware and a few minutes later someone bumped into it and glass went everywhere! The staff rushed up and picked the lady up and sat her down on a chair that another staff member had grabbed and brought over. Several more made sure customers were safely out of the area and no more came in. They made sure the poor victim was ok. Only then did they turn to the mess to make it safe and clear it up.
A couple of weeks earlier I was up the road in John Lewis when I noticed a mannequin on the corner of two walkways through the ladies fashion. An elderly gentleman caught his foot on the stand falling over and taking the mannequin to the floor with him. Several partners, as the staff are called, turned, walked over, picked him and the mannequin up asking him if he was okay. When he replied "I think so." they turned away to discuss the mannequin and how they could make sure it didn't fall over so easily.. ignoring the customer and the fact that the mannequin was an obstruction.
Guess which store we visit most?
Both stores are successful. M&S has real competion, John Lewis less so.
I am reminded that Brand Loyalty can just mean "Lack of anything better." So eventually M&S might eye up JLewis's customers and..... Oh they are already putting Simply Food near Waitrose (owned by John Lewis Partnership).