Retail giant John Lewis switched 14,000 users to Salesforce Lightning

Retail giant John Lewis switched 14,000 users to Salesforce Lightning

Lessons learned from the biggest Lightning deployment in the world

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Retailer John Lewis and Partners is currently running the biggest deployment of Salesforce's redesigned Lightning CRM application, with the new system directly boosting its net promoter score (NPS) by three points.

Speaking during a breakout session at Salesforce's Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, Lynne Wood, senior manager and Salesforce business lead at John Lewis and Partners explained how the business prepared and trained service staff for the change, and the benefits it has brought.

Lightning is a completely redesigned version of the Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) software, launched in 2015.

Recently rebranded, John Lewis and Partners is a retailer known for its customer service, so Wood was keen to give its 14,000 customer service agents (partners, in the company's parlance) with the best possible technology, with an upgrade from classic Service Cloud to Lightning signed off in October 2017.

Just to give an idea of scale, John Lewis processed 3.5 million customer service cases across six contact centres in 2017, encompassing one million emails and 10 million calls.

First steps

In order to get end-user buy-in Wood said it was integral to present the change strategically rather than leaning on Salesforce's branding.

"The transition to the Lightning Platform was a business decision, it wasn't an IT project," she said. For Wood it wasn't about just moving to the next best technology but how the company could deliver "better connected customer experience".

The first thing was to go out and talk to the agents that use the system every day to collect feedback. What they heard was demand for better access to information and more actionable insights.


So in October last year Wood and her team shared the vision for shifting to Lightning, and by January they had a sandbox version built and ran a conference room pilot for three days with 30 users to test the system.

Then in March they ran a proof of concept across eight teams in six sites, where they tweaked the UX to reduce the amount of information on each page and also decided that the email team needed to have a slightly different view to the rest of the teams.

The result is a Service Cloud console that is unique to John Lewis, with case details on the right and the 'customer promise' timeline on the left, complete with thumbs up or thumbs down icons to indicate if they met their customer promise (eg contacted at the right time, item delivered, refund processed) at that stage of the journey.

In terms of rollout John Lewis wanted to have all 14,000 users trained and switched to Lightning by 22 May, with no option to go back.

It went live on 24 April with the team working with a Salesforce architect to fix 60 found defects that were identified by the third week. The retailer hit its May deadline with a little room to spare.


"From the agent perspective it is easier to use," said Wood. "It's standardised in terms of process. It has reduced handoffs, people aren't routing cases to the wrong team all the time.

"Finally with performance management it allows us to manage our teams in a good way to understand why it was taking us so long to resolve some of those cases because we have the data."

From a customer perspective John Lewis and Partners already has a pretty impressive NPS of 68, but Wood says that since going live this has jumped by three points.

"We have a net promoter score [NPS] of 68, you could say our work here is done, but it's not and we could do an awful lot more because at each touchpoint the NPS does move and our contact centre touchpoint wasn't as high as it could be because of that interaction," she said.

"The contact centre has improved by three points and we are impressed with that but it takes some time, the biggest challenge will be over Christmas and New Year with the added volume."

The new layout has helped improve the contact centre's average handle time by 26 seconds per case, and improved first-response times by eight percent.

Wood reported that total cost of ownership and contact-to-order metrics have also improved for the business.

What next?

"Now that we've got the capability, boy are we going to drive the life out of it," Wood said.

This includes turning on live agent chat on its mobile app next month and rolling out an Einstein bot to help with six of its most common customer journeys, including 'where is my refund', 'where is my order' and stock requests.

"We are quite excited about that and expect a phenomenal interest in how customers interact with us," Wood said of the chatbot.

Next year the retailer is looking at omni-channel skills-based routing, Einstein image classification and integrating Service Cloud with its Marketing Cloud instance.

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