How am I? – I am fine thanks for asking. I still hurt a bit but I am more in shock than anything else.

boots-2I am in shock not so much because of the pain but because of a discovery I made about expectation and culture in CX. Expectation and Culture are 2 vital elements that impact CX as delivered. They help define how you make me feel and how you expect your staff to behave.

In a medical emergency it’s better to go M&S (or Morrisons) than Boots the Chemist.

First let me set the scene.! It’s a beautiful Spring day and I went out running on this particular morning in Regents Park here in London. It’s warm and it’s sunny. And I was feeling great …….right up to the moment that I tripped up and fell over my own feet. It was probably funny to watch but it really hurt!

hand-of-hurtI had hurt my hand badly and I had some cuts and bruises and of course my pride was rather sore because at my age I think I should be able to jog around a park without falling over and hurting myself. Anyway, it’s quite bad but it’s not an emergency so I don’t want to be a drain on the NHS. Some runners instantly stopped and offered to help me but I shrugged it off and said I would be fine.

So, I limp down to Camden Town and into Boots the Chemist. After all they are one of the most trusted names on the High Street and they are ….a Chemist!

It takes me several moments to find where the First Aid stuff is. Fortunately, there was a member of staff refilling the shelves there so I could ask for help in choosing the right products to help bandage myself up but the young lady doesn’t seem very keen to help. I am made to feel like I am interrupting her work but she does help me make some product selections – some antiseptic cream TCP bandages etc. although later I realised that several of these were wrong. But we will come back to that. She then pointed at the counter by the dispensary, turned her back on me and started to fill up shelves again.

At the tills – it was the same story. They took my money, looked at me as though I was being a nuisance and the Security Guard gave me the once over before all of them going back to what they were doing. I limped out of the store without a single sign of concern other than the fact that I might be bleeding on their floor. No-one asked me if I needed help or even if I was ok.

Anyway, I had my stuff so that was that. It was a really crappy experience, but I was going to limp home and sort myself out. But then I changed my mind. A few shops down from Boots on Camden High Street is M&S and after such a bad morning I deserved a treat. I decided to get a sandwich, go home, sort myself out and lay on the sofa for the afternoon.

img_2805-2Within moments of walking through the door the security guard was talking to me. Are you alright? We must get you looked at! Come over here and we will clean up some of the mess. I know what you are thinking. They are a food shop and they cannot allow me to wander around bleeding all over the food. However, the man’s attitude was great. He was kind, concerned and made me feel like he cared. As he was only a security contractor he then got a member of M&S staff and she immediately called for first aid. Within a few minutes 2 nice kind bubbly ladies had bandaged me up offered tome-bandaged-2 help me with my shopping and getting home.

It’s tough to work in retail. Especially somewhere like Camden Town because we are a truly cosmopolitan community and a tourist trap and a magnet for unsavoury behaviour sometimes. On a Saturday mornings it relentless because Camden Lock attracts thousands of visitors at the weekend.

But at M&S they provided me medical care, emotional support, kindness and a chicken sandwich. They showed an attitude that means that those responsible for Culture in the business can be truly proud of what they design and how they operate.  Look at how I am smiling in the picture. That’s genuine – they not only patched me up they made me feel better. They also gave me advice about how to sort out treatment for the next day.

The opposite must be said of Boots. I use that Boots often. It’s my local and at my age I have many medicines to buy and as I think back now I can’t really remember anyone smiling there except once there was a nice young man who sorted out a return for me. Although I have never seen him there since.

Obviously when you deal with medical stuff all the time it is easy to immune to the suffering of others but the NHS manage to avoid that (mostly) in their culture but at a time when we are being asked to use the pharmacy more and the NHS less this really felt like a shockingly poor example of culture design build, operate and measure.

I hope that some people from Boots take the time to attend the CXFO free on-line event “BAT17” (Behaviour & Technology in CX) that starts on April 7th and learns something about how to put things right. They are the sort of organisation that need this kind of practical insight into improving CX badly.


img_3077This story has a postscript. Actually, it has 2 postscripts really. The next day I went into Morrisons to ask for the right bandage and the pharmacist insisted on redoing my bandages for me – which was nice.

And finally when I looked at what I had got from Boots they had given me a lovely promotional item – A £20 discount voucher on glasses!


I think that is literally adding insult to injury



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