M&S: cultural change

Case Study



Type of Work

Cultural change programme
Language programme

Aligning customer service culture to brand at well-loved retailer

The Customer Sales and Service Centre at M&S is made up of multiple contact centres in the UK and offshore operations – including third-party providers.

Like many contact centres, their approach had become process-driven and teams were working in silos. As a result, conversations and communications with customers could be robotic, disjointed and similar to the experience they might receive from any contact centre.

What we did

When M&S contacted us they wanted us to reversion their existing tone of voice for their contact centres and to train their teams how to use it.

We spent time listening to calls and talking to teams for two purposes:

1. To get live examples of communications

2. To get a real understanding of the way teams thought and felt about customers

Armed with this information and the M&S brand and tone of voice, we created a simple, scalable strategy – a framework not just for communicating in a different way, but for helping teams to think about customers in a different way too.

It moves teams away from standard contact centre-type communications – and brings all customer interactions in line with the M&S brand.

We rolled it out with a launch event, then trained more than 600 people to have Conversations M&S Style. We also trained in-house trainers and identified language champions and created a set of training sessions for them.

Wordtree are an amazing team – they made this whole process really simple and helped us deliver a change in culture across our contact centre teams. Our customer experience is totally refreshed.

Elliot Lee Sales & Offshore Operations Manager, M&S


There has been a wholesale shift in the way M&S teams think about and interact with customers. It hasn’t just been a case of changing their communications. It’s been about fundamentally changing culture and philosophy.

• NPS rose from zero to 75 and is still climbing

• 10% upswing in first contact resolution

• Improvement of more than 400% in customer feedback rates

• The highest internal team satisfaction scores ever recorded

The figures are improving all the time. (And as a lovely sign off to this story, our client entered and won the Customer Experience Professional of the Year award, based on this work.)

You might also find these links useful:

FAQs: Tone of voice
FAQs: Customers and commercial environments
Blog: Why is it important to know your customers?