Redesigning the John Lewis kitchen installations service

Service design case study

Problem: Service was losing a lot of money due to inefficient processes, insufficient tools and systems, poor investment, margin leakage and a lack of marketing
My Role: Service design consultant
My approach: Stakeholder discovery interviews, alignment and ideation workshops, design sprints
Deliverables: CX maps, business value maps, workshop facilitation, blueprint for redesigned service
Users: 17x customer interviews, 18x stakeholder interviews
Results: New service model piloted in two John Lewis stores for 24 months. Service margin increase of 2.5%. Customer satisfaction increase of 10%. Model rolled out to all John Lewis stores.


John Lewis has been selling and installing fitted kitchens for decades. Customers can visit a showroom to sample kitchen units, select colours, materials, appliances and more, before a fitting specialist visits their home to take measurements in order to produce a CAD design of their new kitchen. Once accepted, the kitchen is then delivered and installed by in-house and third-party fitters.

In 2018, John Lewis acquired a kitchen installation startup called Opun because it had a track record of delivering orders with a much healthier margin.


As the service design consultant I helped the operations team with the following objectives:

  • Find and remove process inefficiencies
  • Integrate recently acquired startup into kitchen service (people, tools and processes)
  • Increase service margin
  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Prove the new process should be rolled out to all John Lewis stores

My contribution

As John Lewis had recently purchased a kitchen startup company, this project was quite complicated (and political) because there were two sets of everything: stakeholders, processes, tools, systems, target customers.

Current state blueprint for John Lewis kitchens

Working closely with an operations specialist we conducted 18 stakeholder interviews across both businesses to learn what they do, how they do it, what works well and what doesn’t. We took raw notes and also mapped the processes onto a current state blueprint.

Business value map for John Lewis kitchens

We also articulated our findings into two business value maps – one for each business – which lays out the service stages and maps the pains points (red) and positives/opportunities (green) from a business perspective. The line graphs show business value plotted against customer value.

CX map for customers who have recently had a John Lewis kitchens installed

Working closely with a researcher we interviewed 17 customers who had recently had a kitchen installed, or started the process with John Lewis but then went with a competitor. These findings were plotted on a CX map which shows the customers’ sentiment/emotions across the journey (purple arc), along with the jobs-to-be-done (yellow) and the pain points (red) and positives/opportunities (green) of their experience.

John Lewis kitchen customer proto-personas

From the customer interviews we were also able to articulate who our customers are in five proto-personas. This was helpful because there wasn’t a clear description of our customers that came out of the stakeholder interviews.

Workshops output: Top ideas articulated as hypotheses, plotted by importance vs whether we have evidence

We held a day-long workshop with all stakeholders and subject-matter experts and immersed them in the problem space by using the CX map, business value maps and proto-personas to tell stories. This helped the group come up with new ideas to solve problems and exploit opportunities. These ideas were articulated as hypotheses which the group voted on and the top ideas were plotted on a 2×2 showing importance to customer and business vs whether we have evidence that the idea will have an impact.

New service experiment blueprint – trialed in two John Lewis stores

The new idea hypotheses were then taken into five design sprints where the teams produced a new high level process for John Lewis kitchens, along with detailed process maps of how each stage would work. This new process became a blueprint for an experiment and was rolled out in two John Lewis stores in order to test against the current process.

End-to-end KPI & measures map

Once the new process was mapped out in detail we worked with the leaders to agree on key measures and KPIs across the entire service.

Final thoughts

The new service blueprint was implemented in two John Lewis stores and left to run for 24 months to great success.

Just moving the customers’ in-home measurement visit to before the deposit is paid (as opposed to after) stopped margin leakage because customers had a more accurate quote based on real measurements, and they could no longer refuse to pay extra for requotes.

Ring fencing the showroom staff (so they no longer could get reassigned to other parts of a store meant that the showrooms were always manned and customers were always approached.

Splitting the call centre team into two – one team for product ordering/chasing, the other for customer engagement – and getting the team to proactively call the customers to keep them updated had a huge impact on customer satisfaction.

Implementing collation – a warehouse space where all the products are delivered to before being sent to the customers’ home in one delivery – greatly reduced disruption to the customers’ home caused by multiple deliveries.

The above changes delivered a 2.5% increase in service margin and a 10% increase in customer satisfaction over the 24 months trial. These results gave John Lewis leadership the confidence to roll the new service blueprint out to the entire John Lewis estate.

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