CX Leader: Jonathan Creese at Gillies

May 9, 2023
Jonathan Creese
Jonathan Creese Customer Experience Manager

Gillies are a Scottish home furniture brand that’s stood the test of time by retaining its heritage as a family business providing the highest quality goods. After decades of expanding their operation under the original Gillies family, the good people of Scotland have had their homes furnished with excellence for over 125 years.

When it’s a family name above the door (or on a homepage, if we want to be all 21st century about it), customer experience is paramount – you don’t want your name associated with careless service. That’s why Gillies entrust their CX to Jonathan Creese, Customer Experience Manager at the firm.

After working at Gillies as a store manager for five years, Jonathan rose through the ranks as an area manager before promotion to a CX role, where he now reports directly to the board. If anyone knows Gillies’ business and their customers, it’s him. Jonathan kindly spoke to us about how he and his team find success in listening to the customer and proactively keeping their experience at the forefront of business strategy.

Listening to the Voice of the Customer (VoC)

Jonathan and his team take both personal and digital approaches to listening to their customers but the theme that ties them together is the commitment to proactivity. Like a lot of retailers, they take Trustpilot seriously and use it as a strong benchmark from which to measure success; smart and reliable, but they go further than that.

Every consenting customer gets contacted via email after they take delivery of a Gillies product. In order to get a holistic picture of the customer’s experience and feedback, they do this after the entire transaction is complete, not just at the point of sale. By encouraging these reviews, Gillies ensure a constant stream of information and remain transparent in their approach to customer feedback.

Jonathan has recently focused heavily on a more personal touch, along with encouraging written feedback. In order to gather more qualitative CX data, along with fostering relationships for future business, customer calls have become a core pillar of their CX strategy. By having a customer’s original salesperson contact them directly, they build on an existing rapport for more honest feedback and encourage business development.

Customers are asked for their honest opinion about their entire journey with Gillies. Everything from their thoughts on store appearance and the sales process, to their experiences with delivery and aftercare is approached.

Jonathan and his team aim to do 5-10 of these customer contacts per day, averaging out to between 150 and 300 a month; now that’s a real commitment to CX if we ever saw it!

So what happens to all that data?

Gillies are a people-focused business and put a lot of stock in their qualitative data. Jonathan takes a transparent approach to the data collected from Trustpilot, along with their customer calls.

This means a lot of manual data analysis and sharing throughout the company to build strategy. A combination of data imagery, raw statistics, and qualitative data is fed into PowerBI for an easy-to-access dashboard from which the whole company can refer to.

Moving forward, Jonathan looks to build on their success and get more granular in their quantitative data. By scraping Trustpilot and other online resources, he hopes to isolate different themes, pain points, and opportunities within CX to combine with his qualitative data, making the entire customer journey at Gillies as smooth and pleasant as possible.

Jonathan Creese
Jonathan Creese Customer Experience Manager