Human interactions still key to loyalty says John Lewis director

12th Oct 2017

The marketing director of John Lewis believes that human interactions will continue to make the department store stand out.

Speaking at the Festival of Marketing, Becky Brock said that as ecommerce businesses increase their global market share, the store must step up to remain relevant.

“I read an article that very soon three companies – Amazon, Alibaba and eBay – will account for 40% of the world’s ecommerce, “ she said.

“This means there’s a real urgency to rise to the challenge because if we don’t we could become irrelevant. 

“In a world where tech and data allow a number of analyses, where there’s also granular attribution and zero-based budgeting, we run the risk of losing sight of the immeasurable and the intangible. For me, that is the human side of retailing.

“You must embrace tech and digital but you can’t let it lead you, you have to take the lead. Humans still want human exchanges and I still feel that’s the best way to connect on a deeper level. Human interactions are still the primary and core driver of loyalty, and that’s where we’re putting a lot of our energy. It’s crucial for us,” she added.

Her comments echo those made by Jo Causon, chief executive of The Institute of Customer Service, earlier in the year.

Speaking in August, she said: “I believe that even with the enhancements we will see in artificial intelligence and robotics, we will always need the human to help deliver a truly great customer experience and relationship, rather than simply a series of customer ‘services’. 

“That is why we will always need human customer service. People who have all the skills of problem solving, decision making and empathy. While technology helps enhance an experience, whether behind the scenes or directly, it is people that deliver customer service, itself.”

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