John Lewis staff to be theatre trained

20th Jul 2017

Staff at a new John Lewis store will be given theatre training to help them improve their customer interactions.

Around 300 new recruits at the new Oxford branch will be trained in stage presence, vocal techniques and stage confidence in order to give shoppers the best experience possible.

The staff will meet and greet customers as well as working on the shop floor.

Customer experience director Peter Cross said: “Retailers have talked about the power of ‘retail theatre’ for many years. 

“Our new Oxford store will recognise the power of our partners [staff] as the key players on the stage of this new shop, so their training will include not only all the critical product knowledge our customers expect, but also the tools and techniques of the theatre to ensure every customer interaction is as magical as possible.”

Simulation and immersive training using actors is becoming something of a trend in customer service. 

Speaking at The Institute of Customer Service’s annual conference this year, Graham Edwards, chief executive of Wales and West Utilities, described how the company had built a street in one its depots to train staff in customer interactions.

Speaking at the event he said: “It’s served a fantastic purpose where we’ve had actors on these doorsteps playing awkward customers.

“It was a load of fun, but the benefit that our people got from it was enormous in terms of how they address these things in the field.

“I think it’s fair to say that a number of years back, our engineers would think their job was to get in there, do the job and get out, and if they didn’t have to have any contact the customer, great. 

“That’s been transformed now. It isn’t good enough anymore. It’s about communicating with the customer, explaining what you’re doing, keeping them comfortable and making sure that they are satisfied afterwards with the job that’s been done.”

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