CHAMPIONING OUR CUSTOMER-FIRST BELIEFS
Lisa started her career as a Cashier at a building society in the early ‘90s, progressing to Manager – the youngest in her region. After taking time out to start a family, she saw that M&S was looking for Christmas temps. She’d always loved our brand and saw it as a great way to return to the workplace. Three months later she became permanent Beauty Advisor, then worked her way up from Customer Assistant to Section Manager in Ladieswear. For the past two years, Lisa has been Lingerie & Beauty Section Manager at our Thurrock Lakeside store.
So what’s Lisa’s priority when she comes into work? “Service is at the top of my list,” she says without hesitation. “When I’m on the sales floor I welcome customers into the department. If the team’s under pressure in the fitting room, I’ll host and offer advice to waiting customers. I’m also present around the till area to make sure we have enough people serving our customers.”
Despite being hands-on, Lisa knows the importance of team leadership in making every moment special for our customers. “I engage my team every day to talk about service: how we should focus on customers rather than the task to deliver what’s right for them. I make it my job to understand their strengths and weaknesses so they can develop their skills and bring their personalities to work – customer needs are individual, but so too are the needs of my team members.”
It all starts first thing when Lisa walks the floor, greets her team, assesses standards and celebrates achievements – whether that’s a nice comment from a customer or sales results. We recently ran a Bra Fit campaign, surveying every customer fitted. With 85 of 90 comments being ‘outstanding’, Lisa’s team was placed in the top 20% across M&S. She says, “I’m proud to lead a team of women who put customers at the heart of everything and I was delighted to pass on these results.”
After that, it’s the management morning huddle when Lisa helps to share service scores and update the service board. Any risk areas to the store are identified and discussed, and resourcing might have to be adjusted to take into account staff absences in any part of the store. Then Lisa often takes part in a commercial walk round. “I have my sales figures, and along with our Store Manager and Lingerie Commercial Manager, we discuss commercial opportunities and potential improvements to visual displays and layouts; I then talk to the relevant team as soon as possible.”
Lunchtime is Lisa’s favourite part of the day, working with her team on the sales floor, setting the example. “I overheard a customer telling her friend that she could never buy bras from M&S as they don’t make her size. I showed her where she needed to look for her size and style. Then I explained that we offer a free service to fit her into a bra that would suit her shape and needs. She was so pleased after her fitting that she wanted to keep her new bra on and paid for her items on the till that we have in our fitting room.”
Early afternoon can be spent in individual departments looking at sales performance, before a department meeting. “This is follow-up from our earlier walk round. We see how our action plans are coming along, discuss our own development and decide what we want to achieve as a management team,” Lisa explains.
It’s a busy life, but Lisa doesn’t think it will last forever. “I would love to live in the country one day, have my own smallholding and be self-sufficient,” she says.
From store life to ‘The Good Life’!Inside M&S