Sainsbury’s streamlines inbound call handling process with data-driven IVR.

Sainsbury’s is one of the UK’s largest retailers across food, clothing, general merchandise and financial services. Processing over 26 million transactions every week, Sainsbury’s have built a loyal customer base by offering great quality and service at fair prices – whenever and wherever they want it.
In a world where convenience and good customer service set one company apart from the rest, brands must develop their Interactive Voice Response (IVR) options to meet consumer demand. By working with a global technology provider they trust, Sainsbury’s can ensure that the millions of customer calls their stores receive every year, get through to the department best suited to resolve them query as quickly as possible.


The changing face of retail.

Sainsbury’s retail stores are constantly changing to best serve customer behaviours and demands. In recent years, this has seen the introduction of concessions such as Argos, Habitat, Starbucks, Timpsons and Lloyds Pharmacy to enhance the instore experience. But that has added complexity to the types of calls that come into a store, and how these calls are routed, and as a result, Sainsbury’s found that it was losing around 15% of customer calls per annum as customers struggled to find the concession or information they were looking for. There was also the risk that someone would complain about the process, or take their valued custom elsewhere.

No real-time reporting.

In order to continually optimise the customer experience, Sainsbury’s realised it needed real-time management information (MI) and reporting to gain deep insight into the customer journey and experience. A month could pass for this to arrive using its previous IVR provider, which meant changes couldn’t be implemented quickly enough to positively impact on the customer experience.

Tied up resources.

Employing people to answer customer queries via phones all day comes with a high cost and if a company is investing in  a new contact centre to do this, it needs to make sure an IVR system is routing the right kind of calls coming into it. Sainsbury’s recognised that its new contact centre could handle the majority of the calls coming into its superstores, but its existing, inflexible IVR was still routing calls to in-store staff, who were spending their time answering customer queries. It also became clear that a number of calls could have been easily resolved by allowing customers to self-serve.

Sainsbury’s needed a solution that not only provided an efficient, more detailed customer contact channel but also one that could streamline operations from existing contact centres to free up resources.

"From the moment we met with Engage Hub, we instinctively knew that this was the right solution for our customers, our colleagues and therefore the business. The improvements in our IVR, coupled with the investment made in our brand new contact centre, means that more and more calls are being dealt with away from our superstores, enabling workers to focus on delivering great instore customer service. Engage Hub has helped us drive a significant and immediate reduction in the number of lost calls and our customers are able to get the answer they need in the timescales they expect. We now have an IVR that’s great value for money, and provides us with the flexibility we require to deliver a service that meets evolving customer needs, behaviours, and expectations."

Paul White Senior Operations Manager

Sainsbury’s & Nectar Contact Centres

The Solution.

A slicker service.

Engage Hub worked with Sainsbury’s to rebuild its customer engagement capabilities across its 600 superstores network. The IVR solution is fully integrated into Sainsbury’s in-house systems, meaning that more information can be attained within the IVR through Engage Hub’s secure integrated API’s then connected with the retailer’s systems and data sources. By integrating store specific information, for example, a customer can get the answers they are looking for without having to speak to a customer service representative. Engage Hub’s solution also has the capability to offer customers specific store data across channels of communications such as via SMS messages, allowing Sainsbury’s to scale the solution according to customer requirements.
With access to real-time live dashboards and MI, Sainsbury’s now has a comprehensive break down of a customer’s journey too. This level of insight allows the company to fundamentally change the way customers receive the information they are looking for.

‘Your call is important to us’.

Engage Hub has improved call delivery by integrating its logic-building technology, Synapse, into the technology to reduce the number of missed calls. Should a customer go through to an option that takes them to an unmanned phone, such as an in-store pharmacy, the logic triggers an action to redirect the customer to a contact centre if their call isn’t answered after a certain amount of time. The other benefit of directing more staff to contact centres is that they can take a total view of product availability. While a store manager could tell a customer about product availability in their store, a contact centre can tell you where to go locally if your local store does not have a particular
product in stock.