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Warwick Customer Service Excellence Event a Hit with High Street Brands

When Mary Portas launched her Channel 4 ‘Secret Shopper’ series, she claimed that the retail industry had developed a couldn’t-care-less attitude to customer service – but representatives from some of the UK’s biggest high street names disproved that theory at a recent event.

Executive Education at Warwick Business School (WBS) joined forces with Warwick Conferences to hold a ‘Making Customer Service Excellence Happen’ seminar at Warwick Conferences’ impressive Scarman venue. The event was designed to give people an insight into the radical business thoughts of speaker Dr David James, as well as an outline on some of the customer service expertise on offer from Executive Education.

The evening was the brainchild of Warwick Conferences Business Development Manager Chris Nagle, who was encouraged by the interest from the retail community. He said: “The Mary Portas series really grabbed the industry’s attention and it became obvious that if we combined with Warwick Business School we could offer some real value to the sector in terms of an overview of expert thoughts as well as a great networking opportunity.

“The feedback has been fantastic and we were delighted to have so many conversations with people about coming back to hold their own events with us.”

Director of Executive Education at WBS Jan Stiles echoed that sentiment, saying that the evening had been a great success. “There is only so much you can achieve in an hour seminar but Dr David James was very engaging and certainly struck a chord with the audience. He talked very insightfully about issues that every retail business is facing and that was reflective of the approach we take with our master classes on this issue. We also offer tailor-made courses and solutions for businesses as we understand that all the challenges are slightly different, and having heard David’s approach a lot of people were interested in talking about those.”

Dr David James engaged those present with tales of customer service heroes and villains – and revealed that he believes a lot of businesses take the wrong approach to this area. He said: “A lot of chief executives have a mantra of ‘putting the customer at the heart of their business’ – but they don’t really mean it. Most chief execs spend their time looking at the way their own organisation runs internally, and not what the customer sees and thinks when they interact. Businesses that have real empathy with their customers are the ones that create real fans, and those fans go out and get them new customers.”

Networking at the event were representatives from brands such as Tesco, Carphone Warehouse, Cooperative Pharmacies, Signet and Schuh – with those present pleased with the opportunities it presented. Caroline Edwards of Carphone Warehouse said: “The networking was a key part of the experience for me and it was very interesting to take the opportunity to talk with like-minded people. “It also gave me the opportunity to see the fantastic facilities on offer from Warwick Conferences and we will certainly be returning to talk to them about how we can work together in the future. I had not been to the University for a commercial event before and did not realise what fabulous facilities were on offer here.”

Cooperative Pharmacy’s John Clarke also took a lot from the evening. He said: “David James certainly mentioned some thought provoking topics and, being relatively new to my role, it was interesting to hear about the types of insight available in this area. “I was hugely impressed with the facility in which the event was held and enjoyed the networking sessions before and after the presentations – it is nice to chat to people who are in a similar situation to yourself.”

Further information on Warwick Conferences can be found at and information on Executive Education and other opportunities at Warwick Business School can be found at

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