Developing competitive advantage through customer service
A Morrisons case study

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Page 4: Colleague engagement

Encouraging customer-focused behaviour

picture_136The behaviour of Morrisons' colleagues has a direct influence on the level of customer service received in store. To ensure that colleagues perform to the best of their ability, Morrisons offers extensive training and development opportunities and recently won the title of ‘Employer of the Year’ at the 2011 Oracle Retail Week Awards for its dedication to colleague skills development and training. Training is the process that directly benefits the business. Development benefits individuals through enhancing their skills. Morrisons’ philosophy of ‘learn while you earn’ means that existing colleagues and new recruits can gain qualifications and experience whilst working. This benefits both themselves and the business.

People development

239186Development occurs at all levels, including apprenticeships and courses for school leavers, in-house degree programmes, jobs and training for graduate recruits. Last year 48,000 colleagues achieved the QCF (NVQ) Level 2 Retail Skills qualification that helped them to improve their understanding of serving customers effectively. Morrisons continually looks for team players with the leadership skills, passion, commitment, integrity and drive to make things happen.

The Morrisons’ Academy provides support and training for colleagues of all levels from school leavers to senior roles. The Academy is a partnership between Morrisons and several academic institutions including the Bradford School of Management and the Bradford Business School. The Academy is committed to training all colleagues, including managers, to deliver excellence in their jobs based on expert coaching and the Morrisons’ model for excellent customer service. 70% of Morrisons’ managers are ‘home grown’, having been trained by the organisation rather than being recruited externally. Morrisons thinks of itself as being a learning organisation, which means that as solutions to issues are developed they become ‘company knowledge’. This approach helps Morrisons' colleagues to continuously improve the customer experience.

Morrisons focuses on three areas:

  • morrisons-4Training – ensuring all colleagues have the skills and motivation that they need to deliver great customer service. The development of traditional craft skills including baking and butchery skills means that customers enjoy food prepared to the highest standard.
  • Coaching – used to build confidence and commitment through support, mentoring and guidance. Examples include input from sports coaches at Leeds Metropolitan University to help improve performance by delivering improved service to customers.
  • Communication – used to make sure that all colleagues are aware of benefits and changes. This keeps colleagues enthusiastic and engaged.

The 'one-team' approach

Everyone at Morrisons from store colleagues through to head office and throughout the supply chain are part of ‘one-team’. This approach prevents inter-departmental competition at the expense of customers' experience. Instead, everybody works together to help provide the best service possible. Rewards for team members range from colleague discounts and long service awards to profit sharingEveryone has the opportunity to share in the success of the business over the year with a lump sum payment related to earnings.

Morrisons | Developing competitive advantage through customer service
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