JD GROUP

The art of service

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JD GROUP US A CUSTOMER-CONSCIOUS, VALUE-FOCUSED, PASSION-DRIVEN GROUP THAT SERVE SOUTH AFRICA NATIONALLY. THE ENABLE THEIR CUSTOMER TO 'LIVE THE WAY THEY DESERVE'.

Project Scope

Culture

Leadership Engagement

Change Management

THE PERFORMANCE CHALLENGE

When Chairman of the JD Group, David Sussman, opened his first store on Jeppe Street in 1983, he was determined to make every customer matter. 26 years later, his one store had grown into a Group of eleven businesses, including furniture and tech retail. He had done something right. But in the success and frenzy of growth, the culture of service, so fundamental and critical to the Group’s success, had been diluted. The Group’s brands were disconnected, each operating in its own cultural silo. Over 25 000 employees across 1000 branches needed purpose, an anchor of culture and a guiding light, returning them to their foundation: the customer.

THE SOLVE

2009 – 2014
A game changing, Group-shifting, five-year reignition of service excellence, created and communicated across the country. Working alongside ExCo, HR and a dedicated Project Team (JD Group was rightly serious), The Performance Agency conceptualised The Art of Service; a service code and change model that instilled understanding and urgency around service improvement. Theory became visible, in film, conversation, artefacts, humour, communication and action. The project was complex, intuitive and flexible, reaching across retail and social divides. JD Group was compelled to return to their cornerstone and, in the end, was “shifted in a way we could not have imagined”. (Thank you, David.)

COMMITTED TO CHANGE

A Head Office of 100 people knew that if they were to ask thousands of employees to buy in to a change, they, the core change team, would have to demonstrate it. Because in truth, the branches were Head Office’s customers. If service was not expressed and felt internally, there would be no hope beyond JD Group’s doors. With each wave of change, core team members empowered managers to carry the conversation throughout the network, cascading excellence and embedding service culture year by year, branch by branch.

"OUR COMPETITORS CAN COPY US AND THEY CAN COPY OUR PRODUCTS, BUT THE ART OF SERVICE IS WHAT SETS US LIGHT YEARS AHEAD. THE WAY WE TREAT OUR CUSTOMERS IS THE ULTIMATE DIFFERENTIATOR."

- David Sussman, Chairman, JD Group

ARTEFACTS TO ACTIVATIONS

Uncompromised conduct, customer-facing rituals, the crisp white gloves of furniture movers. JD Group knew the little things layered to give their customers an incomparable experience. The Art of Service built on this foundation, conceptualising tangible and intangible artefacts that exemplified customer-first practice. Gestures, activations and moments of consideration sent signals of service and respect. The solve also allowed service to look and feel different across the Group, to affect its wide-ranging target markets. Service was to be natural, unaffected, and intentional, aware of its environment.

TO IMPROVE, WE MEASURE

Every step and element of the change process was measured using the Service Profit Chain. First, to see clearly — how do we look today in terms of service? — and then consistently and annually, to reveal impact, alight areas for improvement and enable planned responses. Every employee, manager, leader and branch consultant were held accountable for their commitment to the change. Measurement was broad and granular, with feedback inspiring flexibility and innovation.

Adapted from Heskett, J.L. Sasser, W.E & Schlesinger, L.A. (1977), The Service Profit Chain. New York: The Free Press

THE IMPACT

Material and message reached the smallest of towns and the biggest of hearts. Across the board, measurement results summited. Employee engagement was up 27% to an unprecedented 94%. Confidence in internal service quality rose to 84%. Customer satisfaction jumped to 84%. Together, TPA and JD Group inspired the organisation to dream unreasonably big, and to act on the dream. What made it work? Diehard commitment and immovable dedication to realising what David Sussman knew from day one: the customer is to whom all success is due, so you better treat them right.

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26000

Employees

130000

Manager: Employee connects, over five years

40000

Customers surveyed annually

84

Percent customer satisfaction

94

Percent employee engagement

94

Percent employee buy-in and commitment

"THIS TEAM OF THOUGHT LEADERS IS TRULY REMARKABLE! THEY WERE ABLE TO SEAMLESSLY INTEGRATE AND INNOVATE A SOLUTION, WHICH AS OUR GROUP CHAIRMAN PUT IT, "SHIFTED THE ORGANISATION IN A WAY WE COULD NOT HAVE IMAGINED". WE WERE ABLE TO SHIFT THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF OVER 26 000 EMPLOYEES. WE BECAME SOUTH AFRICA'S MOST LOVED ACROSS NINE OF OUR CUSTOMER-FACING BRANDS AND SUSTAINED THE ORGANISATION IN WHAT WAS ONE OF THE TOUGHEST MARKETS WE HAD EVER EXPERIENCED."

– Pamela Barletta: Director, Human Capital for the JD Group