How Tesco delivered exceptional service

Learn how Tesco trained thousands of its employees across its stores transforming mindsets and skill sets.

Tesco was eager to increase the emotional loyalty of its employees. It wanted to deliver a service that was authentic and responsive, driven by the resourcefulness and motivation of its employees. We created a learning journey that delivered results at scale, training 2000 store managers across the globe.

Tesco supermarket Logo Blue SkyTesco supermarket Logo Blue Sky

The Challenge

Tesco is the market leader for groceries in the UK and the third largest grocery retailer in the globe. BRIDGE started collaborating with Tesco soon after Tesco had implemented an internal initiative to standardise its procedures and processes across its stores. This initiative had left employees lacking in motivation and delivering a service that was formulaic.

Tesco was keen to address these challenges and to focus on delivering exceptional customer service within its stores and call centres across the UK. It was eager to increase the emotional loyalty of its employees. It wanted to deliver a service that was authentic and responsive, driven by the resourcefulness and motivation of its employees.

 

Our Solution

In partnership with BRIDGE, Tesco launched a training programme called ‘Living Service’ across five ‘hot house’ stores in the UK. We explored with participants the idea that everyone benefits from giving great service, including employees. We tapped into participants’ intrinsic motivations, to understand what drove them. We focused on shifting attitudes and mindsets, covering areas such as how to choose your attitude, how to connect with customers, how to show customers that you care, how to truly listen, how to become more conscious and proactive. A transformational shift in attitude (and motivation) in turn shifted behaviours and ultimately delivered results. We examined and practised the different levels of service. We worked on personal resourcefulness and explored how employees felt and behaved when they were delivering exceptional service and when they were at their best. We empowered employees to deliver a natural and responsive service using their own drive and resourcefulness.

We successfully facilitated sessions across five stores but we needed to embed these attitudinal shifts at scale, in multiple stores and call centres across the UK. Rather than rely on external trainers, we empowered Tesco’s own employees to act as change champions. We wanted to enable Tesco to sustain this transformation without us. This change needed to be long-lasting and far-reaching. After facilitating the initial five sessions, we trained 200 Tesco employees to run the rest, giving them the role of Living Service Coaches. Each store also nominated 10% of its store population to be ‘Fire-Lighters’ i.e. in store influencers. We carefully selected these ‘Fire-Lighters,’ identifying those who were good at motivating and inspiring, but also selecting cynics whom Tesco were keen to win over.

 

What was the impact?

The significant impact of this initiative was felt across the entire organisation. ‘Living Service’ stores consistently outperformed non ‘Living Service’ stores in warmth and friendliness (+18%) and helpfulness (+45%). Tesco’s call centre operations achieved a 45% improvement in service levels during its busiest period of the year. Staff absences at call centres decreased by 28% and attrition decreased by 42%. In addition, revenue increased by 10%. This initiative quickly spread beyond the UK, to the organisation’s global operations (Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, China, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia), all made possible due to the initiative’s scalability. In total the programme covered 2000 stores and 2000 store managers.

Tesco’s CMO commented “This is one of those rare and invaluable programmes that has made a tangible difference to me and the company through a shared language, shared experiences and shared skills. The benefits can be seen across the company – it is a win-win for the individual and Tesco.”

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