Customers are important stakeholders in the business that influence its performance significantly. Organizations need to improve its customer services so as to be able to meet the customers needs and desires. Business organizations that perform and continue to thrive in the market recognize the significant of customers contribution to the success of the firm. John Lewis Partnership has a tremendous responsibility as a retail company to meet the growing demands of the public or clients. This paper will examine the customer service strategies that can enhance the performance of John Lewis Partnership.
Globalization has created a competitive market condition where business organizations with effective strategies can survive (Madhani, 2010). John Lewis Partnership (JLP) has recognized the importance of customer service and how it impacts the performance of the business. Customers are important stakeholders in JLP; according to the companys chairmans stamen the company is struggling to attain the best market share by improving its five main strategies such as selecting and developing the right products, developing an efficient distribution platform, creating a platform where customers can shop anywhere and anyhow, keeping the customers happy and lastly cutting the edge of retail. In this paper we will focus on one aspect, keeping the customers happy and how it influences the performance of JLP in the market. The statement released by the chairman shows that the company is very objective in its operations and will most likely to improve in the next coming years. Focusing on customers is one of the strategies that JLP has identified as their main strategies towards becoming successful in the current competitive market. This does not mean that JLP has been operating without putting into consideration the fundamental contributions of the customers in the market; however, its change of focus to customers recently is driven by the unprecedented shift of consumers taste of products and behavior towards products in the market. Therefore, JLP aims at creating a unique product that will meet the growing and ever-changing customer desire and taste.
Every business has its way of dealing with the competition experiences in the market (Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons, 2013); however, the primary challenge emerges on how the business can survive the competition. The strategies that the organization adopts to overcome the market competition will determine whether the business becomes successful or not. JLP just like any other retail business also experiences the market competition from other companies in the retailing industry. Most of the large businesses in the market that continue to thrive such as Wal-Mart Stores identify the importance of creating and establishing an effective customer relationship with the business. The success of the retail business is majorly influenced by the existence of customers in the business (Reimann et al., 2010). This can be seen in Wal-Mart stores; the business has become successful because of its cost-effective strategy to reduce its supplying costs so that it meets the customer demands. There are various strategies that JLP can adopt from such businesses when it comes to improving the customer relationship and meeting the needs of customers. Operational management theory identifies the significance of building an effective customer relationship in the business (Slack et al., 2013). According to the proponents of the theory, meeting the customer demands involves a large area of business operation; for example, technological, human resource and operational management activities. Operational management theory advocates for a controlled production process and efficient business operations so as to achieve the customers needs (Slack et al., 2010).
The market continues to change, and the customers are the fundamental factor behind this change (Nguyen, 2013). Identifying and designing a strategy to meet this change can be helpful to JLP. Carrying out a business operation efficiently does not only depend on customer care service improvement; however, it influences the performance of the discussions in every aspect of the organization. The customers satisfaction cannot be realized without necessarily looking at the creativity and skills of the employees, technological operations of the business and the quality of products or services in the business (Agoes, 2015). JLP needs to improve on its customer relationship management strategies. This involves developing the employee skill, the quality services, and products and also integrates the advanced technological system.
JLP needs to involve the customers in its decision making through a collaborative and integrated communication system. Decision making in the organization can be challenging sometimes; however, it is not only the process of decision making that is more difficult. The implementation process of the decision might be difficult since customers would not agree with decisions that do not meet their needs. Therefore, the business needs to enhance its communication strategies with the customers (Chang et al., 2010). Operations management theory explains that the technological knowledge can influence the success of the business (Slack et al., 2013). Creating and designing an effective information system is one of the technology integration strategies that JLP can use to enhance its information system management. Customers need to have a voice in the decision making; however, it is not possible to have every customer come to the business and contribute his/her ideas. There are other ways in which the business can obtain the information from clients and use the information to make decisions that will not only meet the clients needs but also help the business become successful. Creation of an information system in the organization enables the business to operate effectively as every department will be connected to a central server where information is controlled (Chang et al., 2010). The main aim of creating this information system is to enhance information sharing both within and outside the organization. Through the information system, the business can be able to obtain customers feedback about the service or product, and the information can be used in the decision-making the process to improve the future performance of the business.
Subsequently, most companies ignore the involvement of customers in the decision making and this cost them a lot when it comes to the performance (Kobylanski et al., 2011). Other competitors take this as a weakness, and they exploit it to the fullest. When a customer complains about a certain product or service offered in the organization it does not mean that he/she is about the service or the product; however, it means that he/she is not satisfied with the quality of the product or service offered (Kobylanski et al., 2011). Therefore, the business needs to pick the important reason for customer complaint in this scenario and make the changes such that when the client comes again, he/she can be happy with the product or service. Retailing business is experienced with various challenges that the business needs to focus on especially regarding the customers satisfaction. For example, fraud and hijacking are some of the main challenges that the retail business faces (Nguyen, 2013). However, the improved information system can ensure that such challenges are never realized or witnessed in the business; for example, when there is an improved information system between the customer, the business and the suppliers, such cases as the hijacking of products along the way can never be realized. The information needs to flow within the organization and outside; customers need to track their products so that they collect it at the right time at the store. On the other hand, the business needs to have clear and reliable information about the supplier and maintain the records of the transaction between them. This will assist eliminate such threats as fraud and hijacking customers products along the way before they reach the destination. JLP has witnessed several cases of customers complaining about their products delivered on time or they never received the product as agreed with the company. As operations management theory explains, creating a reliable and efficient information system can help eradicate such challenges from the business (Slack et al., 2013); thus, enhancing customers trusts and loyalty to the business since they will be happy with the service. Therefore, the aim to make its customers happy, JLP needs to realize that it begins from the production level where the products are obtained from the supplier and transported to the client at the destined location. A customer will only come back to the business when he/she is satisfied with the services or products offered in the business.
Engaging the workforce is also another strategy to realize the success of the business and make the customers happy (Souchkov, 2010). Employee discrimination is one of the current problems facing the workforce in the employment sector. Employees are never given the recognition that they deserve. The business cannot exist in a vacuum without the existence of the employees. Therefore, the business needs to give its employees a chance to participate in the decision making. Proponents of operations management theory argue that employees have a lot of knowledge that the management might not be able to have about the consumer behavior, market performance, and consumer preferred product (Slack et al., 2013). This information can help the business improve its strategies so as to meet the customers demand. Employees have a direct contact with the customers in the market which is a privilege that the management does not have; therefore, they have the knowledge about how the business can meet the customers needs. Consequently, denying them the chance to participate in the decision-making process is like losing a valuable asset to the business because ideas are also assets to the business. JLP needs to take every opportunity it has in the market including involving the employees and creating a dialogue platform with the employees to obtain the information that they have that can assist the business improves.
Creating an effective organizational culture of training employees can also help improve the workforce skills that can help meet customers demands by providing a quality service and product that customers will be happy with. The competition that has been created by the emergence of various businesses in the market can only be outdone by a unique set of production and operational skills. Therefore, the skills that the workforce possesses will determine whether the business becomes successful or not. Creating a culture of training employees helps the business to equip employees with updated and current business skills that will help improve the quality of products or services offered in the business (Souchkov, 2010). Employees need to be updated with current unique skills available since it since it will not only help them improve the quality of the products but also helps them with innovation and creativity skills that can help improve the uniqueness of the products. Innovation and creativity are some of the main components of a successful business. However, it can only be achieved when the workforce is equipped with an efficient set of unique skills. JLP has been recording good performance on customer satisfaction surveys over the past years; however, as competition continues the business needs to improve its strategies as well so as to accommodate the competition threats created by the competitors and maintain its performance. Creating an efficient or...
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