Faced with growing criticism of patient care and demand for better ‘customer’ experience, the NHS has turned to retailer John Lewis to help improve service in a move that has been both welcomed and scoffed at. As reported by the BBC, retail staff at the store made famous for its excellent customer service will be re-educating NHS doctors in Devon in a new bedside manner that focuses on the needs of the patients.
Daniel Todaro, MD at marketing agency Gekko, highlighted a key difference between the two: “The very fact that John Lewis is a retailer and the NHS is a service should be an immediate red flag,” he says. “If you shop in John Lewis, you are there by choice whereas if you’re in A&E it’s likely that you really didn’t have much of a choice in the matter; it’s a question of need.
“This is the crux of the issue; how do you translate the needs of a John Lewis shopper to that of a patient? It is true that John Lewis offer a best in class, successful retail experience with the human element at its core, but a health care provider and a retailer have zero points of synergy.”
“As good as the John Lewis model is, it applies to retail and not to an under-resourced not-for-profit public organisation.”
The proof of this unique collaboration between the public sector and retail’s golden child will essentially be in the eating – whilst it poses strong benefits in theory, only by putting the proposals into practice will the NHS understand if there are lessons to be learned from John Lewis.