Andrew headed the John Lewis Intelligence Team, with responsibility for customer service and analysis of demographic trends. He believes service tends to reflect internal culture; you can’t teach it and stick it onto an unhappy organisation. Even when cuts need to be made, Andrew argues that changes to process can often reduce costs whilst enabling service levels to be maintained, or even improved. The priority is to keep in touch with customers’ expectations.
Andrew McMillan is an expert on customer experience, leadership and company culture. He spent over 20 years with John Lewis Partnership, the last eight responsible for leading customer service across the department store division. Credited with developing John Lewis’ much admired sales and service culture, Andrew now advises organisations big and small. He helps them to identify and develop a brand personality and to re-establish the core values that led to their success in the first place.
Andrew started as a management trainee in John Lewis’ Brent Cross branch. He moved up the ladder to head a department in the flagship Oxford Street store, before switching from the shop floor to the Intelligence Team. The team acted as an internal consultancy across all areas of service including strategy, product differentiation, demographics and customer analysis. They reported directly to the Chairman as an independent body and the work led Andrew to focus on all aspects of customer service from in-store to call centres and online.
After John Lewis, Andrew took the lessons from the company’s culture and applied them to other businesses. He’s since worked with organisations from the NHS to Virgin Atlantic enabling leaders and employees to share a vision of what they are for and what they can achieve, and how to make it a reality.
Whether it’s a small, family-run firm or a large multinational, Andrew places emphasis on understanding what makes (or can make) them different. Often different parts of an organisation believe they have different purposes, but Andrew enables them to cut through the differences in perception and experience. By uncovering values and a shared enthusiasm he has helped bring about employee engagement and growth.
Andrew also looks at the roles of leadership, communication, trust, and even enjoying work in creating success. In presentations, he explains that great customer engagement cannot be taught but reflects a great internal culture. By developing a personality and values that are realistic, honest, and shared, organisations can deliver a degree of long lasting, competitive differentiation that few achieve, but many aspire to.
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Leadership vs. Management
Conference Speaker Andrew McMillan on Customer Service