Case Study
Photo of the smiled people in the counter shop

The Waitrose Leckford Farm Estate houses the Farm Shop and Café.

Being part of the John Lewis Group, Waitrose is known for its outstanding customer service. Yet even they still recognise you can always build on what you already do.

Take a look at how terptree helped them…

When terptree first contacted the Leckford Farm Estate back in March 2016, to find out how they serve deaf customers, Kevin explained that he was interested in speaking with terptree because he had not realised that someone could offer them a package to help them raise awareness of dealing with deaf customers.

He said that when Victoria Williams, Founder of terptree, made contact, they were keen to pursue a working relationship between terptree and Leckford Farm and Café.

“We asked Victoria to provide the deaf awareness training to our Partners and were excited to be seen as the trial branch and flagship within the Waitrose Group and John Lewis Partnership for rolling out this training”.

When talking about the service terptree provided, Kevin explained;

“Victoria ran face-to-face deaf awareness training to all of the managers and partners of the farm shop and café at Leckford Estate. This was run over two nights so that everyone could take part. Before the training was held, some people were apprehensive and some thought they already knew enough. However, at the end of it, everyone got something out of it and the whole team obtained tremendous value from the evening. For some, it was a gentle push to make them think more in their dealings with deaf customers; for others it gave them the confidence to know that they were equipped with the skills to provide excellent customer service to deaf and hearing customers alike.”

Kevin went on to say “the training not only met but exceeded our expectations. We loved the way Victoria put everyone at ease, explaining what she was going to cover from the outset. She has a lovely presence, and we all really appreciated the role-play she got us to do. We have all worked as a team for a number of years, so we were all really confident in doing this, and this put us at ease from the start.”

One of the things Kevin found beneficial was how fun the training was. “there were lots of giggles and laughter along the way, and everyone got a positive experience from it”.

Kevin said that everyone is now much more aware of how they approach all of their customers and that it had served as a reminder of what good customer service looks like. Kevin himself realised the benefits of the training very shortly after the training when he saw someone with a dog in the café. Instead of telling them that dogs were not allowed in the café, he took the time to find out that the dog was in fact a hearing assistance dog, so the situation was handled very differently from how it might have been before the training.

He also said that in the café, staff have become more aware of not turning their back on customers straight after taking their orders. He said, “What we have seen is an improvement in our customer service not only for deaf customers but also for all of our customers”

Kevin said there is a definite ongoing role for terptree within the Waitrose Group and he is currently working to put terptree in contact with the development team within Waitrose Headquarters to roll this training out to everyone in the partnership. He said “we particularly loved how terptree initiated discussions with us, there was no heavy push, and Victoria said that it was down to us to decide when we were ready to carry out the training. We particularly loved the flexibility of the programme Victoria delivered to us. She was happy to work with us in the evenings and tailored the programme to meet our needs. The result has been that we have all raised our awareness and gained new skills when dealing with our deaf customers”.

In closing, Kevin said that they were all very excited to have received their certificate of attendance and that this is now taking pride of place on the café wall.

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