It is always a huge pleasure and often humbling for me to meet fellow Customer Experience Professionals. As well as being remarkably reassuring that I am not the only customer focused ‘nutcase’, I learn a considerable amount too! I am delighted to be able to share with you the musings of one such man – Stephen Hewett has been there, seen it and most certainly done it in the world of Customer Experience. Stephen’s 14 years at John Lewis affords him a significant level of authority to guide others on their journey. I hope you enjoy reading his thoughts as much as I did…

Stephen Hewitt Blog
As many of you, that follow me will know, I have been involved in customer experience for a long time! From my days at John Lewis through to today helping well-known brands to align themselves with their customers. Over 25 years in total.
I have seen most fads come and go, customer databases, CRM, big data, one to one marketing, to name but a few. I was even there when Clive Humby of Dunhumby had 12 people working for him in a smallish office in Chiswick.
Recently, I have become more and more convinced that those of us who really understand customers need to challenge ourselves about how we go about understanding the customer.
Is what customers need from us really that complicated. I am not talking about trying to predict what they might do next or the design of the next evolution of a product, but just what they need from us on a day to day basis. The sort of thing that features in most customer feedback or we see increasingly on social media; that is mostly about good old operational things, often small things that make all the difference to the customer.
Things like:
“My meal is cold when it arrived.”
“How come when I go to order my item you don’t have it in stock!”
“I really like shopping in your outlet, but why is it always so cold.”
“It would be nice if you stopped talking to each other and noticed me when I need help.”
“It’s not that you are expensive, it just that you do what you say you will.”
“When your flight is late, and the car hire office is closed you make no attempt to help me.”
These are real verbatim feedback from the customer, so simple to hear and understand, but why don’t we ever seem to be able to fix them.
So maybe it is time to return to that golden age of customer experience when the corner shop keeper just listened to his customers worked out what they needed and gave it to them. Just because we can collect huge amounts of information does mean the customer has got more complicated, they haven’t we just like to think they have.
So why not join me in a campaign for a simpler customer experience approach, one that’s more in line with what customers need and want. An approach where the most important thing is actually listening to what customer say rather than creating complicated models and statistics.
Creating a great customer experience is not that hard if we take the time to Listen, Understand and then Do.
So join me in becoming a ‘LUD-ite’, this time, it could be a new customer revolution, rather than an old fashion idea – Back to the Future.

Stephen Hewett is one of the UK’s leading authorities, business advisors & speaker on the subject of customer experience.
Stephen Hewitt
Stephen is a published author of several books in the UK and US. He is a former senior manager at the world-famous John Lewis Partnership (JLP). It was here that Stephen gained much of his retail industry experience, progressing through training on the shop floor, to managing a department, to playing a vital role in the formation of its customer and e-commerce development.
His recent clients include Argos, NHS, ASDA, McDonalds, ITV to name but a few. Prior to his retail and consulting career, Stephen enjoyed a career in aviation, where he held both management and flying roles. Stephen is also a Fellow of the Institute of Consulting.
Stephen Hewett
Founding Partner & Director
Vantage Partners,uk
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Twitter: @srhewettMobile: +44 (0)7966 911707
Stephen Hewett book1 Stephen Hewett book2