How the customer experience strategy of Lush made it the UK’s number one customer experience brand

Lush is enjoying the sweet smell of success after rocketing to the top of 2015’s Customer Experience Excellence rankings. It is currently the number one customer experience brand in the UK, with a first-class CEE score of 8.32. Of course, this success did not happen by accident; Lush has been working hard over the last few years to continually improve its position in the UK rankings, and it’s because of its well-defined customer experience strategy that the retailer has been able to rise six places over the last three years.

Much of this strategy is underpinned by the company’s staunch moral and ethical values that protect the customer just as much as the environment. Lush adheres to this by creating products that shoppers truly need, and does not attempt to force purchases by discounting items. In turn, this helps in the reduction of waste, and therefore helps to protect the planet.

For Mark Constantine, one of Lush’s founders, the problem is a large one in the retail sector. “If you only give proper value and you don’t discount, you just give good service where you really focus on getting the right thing for that person with as much skill as you can, you will be doing more for the environment than more or less anything else you could do,” he says. “It’s the waste that’s the massive issue.”

In addition, Lush gets involved in other philanthropic endeavours, recognising its power as a retailer to raise awareness about certain issues. One example is the brand’s campaign to provide legal aid to the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, with the company running a bath bomb offer that invited shoppers to “buy one, set one free.” Its hard work raised funds for the human rights organisation Reprieve, and the charity was subsequently able to secure the release of two prisoners.

Masters at making it easy for the customer

These high moral standards inevitably filter into the customer experience, and it is therefore no surprise to see that Lush scores a very impressive 8.46 in the pillar of Integrity. Where it really excels, though, is in the pillar of Time and Effort, where the retailer achieves an excellent 8.76. This is the highest Time and Effort score in the 2015 CEE, and indicates that shoppers are enjoying an effortless experience at Lush’s outlets. Moreover, Lush goes out of its way to make life easy for its shoppers even when problems aren’t immediately apparent. As one customer states: “When I recently ordered a perfume from their website and had no problem with it, they later sent an email apologising that the perfume bottle wasn’t filled in line with their usual policy and sent out a free gift to make up for this, even though the volume of perfume supplied was the correct amount, just not filled to the brim. Lush always go the extra mile for their customers.” The shopper also commented that she had “never had a bad experience in a Lush shop”, adding that “even when it’s really busy the staff find time to chat and seem happy and relaxed.”

Undoubtedly, the act of going the extra mile for the customer and looking after the individual is one of the most important aspects of Lush’s customer experience strategy. For some brands, it is an action that is easier said than done, but Lush ensures customer satisfaction by employing passionate people to look after them. These employees are trained to understand customer needs, and to advise on the best products to suit their requirements, and not simply to hit sales targets. Moreover, these staff members are taught about the company’s ethical values and manufacturing processes, and it is often the case that many of the people who work at Lush become devoted ‘fans’ of the products themselves, making them more enthusiastic about assisting the customer. As one former employee stated: “I was employed there for a season and it only heightened my love for the company.”

It would seem, therefore, that Lush’s success across The Six PillarsTM is well deserved. It takes a moral approach to its customer experience management, taking supreme care of its employees, its shoppers, and ultimately, the world itself. It has set a high standard that unashamedly raises the bar for other high street retailers, and it will be interesting to see if any of Lush’s principles ‘rub off’ on other brands in the years to come.

You can download the full 2015 UK Customer Experience Excellence report here.