Great Service by Great People | Blue Sky
Martin Glen - Principal Consultant

Great Service by Great People

Once upon a timepiece – A two-minute customer experience story


If you know me, you’ll know I’m a bit of a watch geek. So, when a watch very dear to me needed a new battery, I spent time pondering over a high street replacement (easier and cheaper but quality risk) or send to manufacturer (guaranteed quality but higher cost, and a 2-3 month send away).

I eventually went for the first option and had Timpson replace the battery – job done I thought. But just a couple of days later, water had made it into the watch face and mechanism. Annoyed, I headed back to Timpson with my customer service antennae fully up, their ‘Great Service by Great People’ ethos in the forefront of my mind.


Their ethos is this –

“We provide great customer service, and to do this, we operate an ‘Upside Down’ management style. We believe the best way to give great customer service is to give freedom to the colleagues that serve customers whether you shop online with us here or visit any of our shop” (source

Seen and heard it all before I thought. But I was in for the most pleasant surprise.


An abridged version of my conversation went something like this…

Me: “I’ve got a bit of an issue with this watch your colleague worked on last week. Water has gotten in following a recent battery replacement” (presented watch, receipt and so on).

Matt: “You’re right, there’s definitely a build-up of moisture on the hands and the face, and that shouldn’t have happened. I’m guessing a little, but it doesn’t appear we’ve sealed the watch properly for you”

(Matt gives watch a careful once over).

“If ok, what I’d like to do is take your watch back from you, and send it to you our specialist repair team who’ll have a look and fix it for you – and have it working like new again?”

Me: “Will you not be sending it to the manufacturer. I’m concerned I’ve made a mistake already by not sending it to them initially”.

Matt: “No, we won’t do that – but we do have a brilliant team of watch technicians who’ve all worked for some of the best-known makers – and it can go recorded delivery to them this evening”.

Me: “And how long will it take?”

Matt: “Usually about 3-4 weeks”.


It was hard to argue with an offer like that, but what impressed me more was two things about how Matt read my situation.

Firstly, his reaction, behaviour and language. No awkward questioning, no tone, no searching ‘look’ at me for any hint of culpability on my part. No suggestion of blame towards me or indeed to his colleague who had replaced the battery. He also picked up on my worry about the watch and the manufacturer – his description of the specialist team and their background wasn’t scripted. He knew I needed to hear about their credibility and credentials – and it worked, it gave me confidence.

Secondly, and best of all, he just exercised ‘the freedom’ he knows he has from the Timpson ethos to do the right thing for his customer. And he nailed it.

I collected the watch just before Christmas, and not only is it fixed and working perfectly, it looks like I’ve never worn it. When I mentioned to Matt that it would have cost me a fair few quid if I’d sent it back to the maker, he flashed me a sneaky look at the internal invoice. On that slip of paper was absolute evidence that he feels safe to make big decisions and feels trusted to do so – even if it hits the bottom line of his store.


To be clear, this isn’t a story about the amount on the slip – but let’s say if I’d had to cover the cost myself, the watch would be in a drawer, unused and unloved! What this is about is my recognising an organisation who have given their front-line people the permission to live and breathe a truly customer focused ethos.

The result, a loyal customer who will return again and again and will recommend Timpson to others. Thank you, Matt, at Timpson in Sainsbury, Kingsgate, East Kilbride.


At Blue Sky, we too recognise the value and worth of being able to operate from a place where colleagues feel ‘free’ to create amazing experiences. If you want to know more about how we at Blue Sky can help you explore if your CX aspirations are evident in the mindsets, behaviours and actions of your colleagues, visit us at, drop me a line or give me a call.  

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