LONDON, 2018-Mar-07 — /EPR Retail News/ — Over 500 John Lewis Partners are being trained in theatrical skills by actors working for the National Theatre to help them deliver outstanding customer service at the retailer’s new shop at White City, Westfield which opens later this month. The initiative forms part of the retailer’s plans to respond to growing customer expectation for its shops to be inspiring places where customers go for style advice, exciting events and beauty treatments, as well as to buy products.
Every Partner recruited to work at the new shop from those who work in the stockroom to the Head of Branch is undergoing the training, which is run by Theatreworks, the National Theatre’s training service. John Lewis has turned to theatrical training because actors are outstanding communicators, and skilled at being on show and using their voices for long periods of time as people in retail do. The training covers voice and body language skills used by actors to communicate authentically with confidence.
Peter Cross, Customer Experience Director for John Lewis said: ‘Retailers have talked about ‘retail theatre’ but as shopping habits change this has never been more important.
‘We’re investing in this training with one of the world’s leading theatre companies because actors are outstanding communicators and that’s an important element in offering outstanding personal service.’
The training sessions are led by experienced actors including Sarah Thom who originally trained with Jacques Lecoq in Paris and regularly works for BBC Radio 4, playing the character of Joan in the long-running comedy, ‘Clare in the Community’ and has often appeared on TV and on stage. Her TV credits include ‘Taboo’, Home Fires’, ‘Not Going Out’, ‘Doctors’ and ‘Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle’.
Sheila Chawla from the National Theatre who manages the training, said: ‘Our training sessions focus on the idea that communication is made up of not just what you say but how you say it. So body language, voice and expression are all as important as our words. We all find it more engaging when someone brings some of their personality to a conversation, meeting or presentation – and our training is all about giving you the confidence and the tools to do that. It’s all about being yourself just with a bit more skill. We’re excited to be working with John Lewis on this project and to be able to share skills from the theatre that can help John Lewis Partners engage with customers in a fresh and authentic way.’
John Lewis’s White City, Westfield shop is the anchor shop of the new £600m extension at Westfield London, which has built a reputation as a world-leading shopping experience and entertainment destination.
Over four floors, the shop will include features not offered in other John Lewis London shops, including Loved& Found – a stand-alone boutique for new and contemporary brands – and &Beauty, John Lewis’s spa concept. The fashion floor will also showcase a new look including a dedicated personal styling studio, which is just one of the 23 services customers will be able to book via the new Experience Desk, offering a a ‘concierge style’ service to help them make the most of the shop and its services.
Notes to editors
John Lewis – John Lewis operates 49 John Lewis shops across the UK (35 department stores, 12 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2) as well as johnlewis.com. John Lewis, ‘Best In-Store Experience 2017’, ‘Best Furniture Retailer 2017,’ ‘Best Homewares Retailer 2017’1, stocks around 350,000 separate lines in its department stores and johnlewis.com across fashion, home and technology. Johnlewis.com is consistently ranked one of the top online shopping destinations in the UK. John Lewis Finance offers a range of comprehensive financial services products – including Insurance, Foreign Currency, International Payments and the Partnership Card – delivering the values of expertise, trust and customer service expected from the John Lewis brand. www.johnlewisfinance.com
1Verdict Consumer Satisfaction Awards 2017
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Source: John Lewis