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    Sainsbury’s invests in IVR to handle growing number of customer calls

    Retail giant Sainsbury’s is investing in IVR technology to help improve the experience for customers that engage with its biggest retail outlets over the phone.

    Sainsbury’s started working with Engage Hub to deploy an Interactive Voice (IVR) system in August 2015, initially rolling it out in 73 stores. Due to the success of the pilot, the solution has now been rolled out to all 600 superstores. The IVR system is fully integrated into Sainsbury’s systems, and customers can get the answers they are looking for without having to speak to a customer service representative, saving time for both customers and instore staff.

    In recent years, Sainsbury’s 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. Consequently, Sainsbury’s found that it was losing around 15% of customer calls per annum, as customers struggled to find the information they were looking for.

    In order to continually optimise the customer experience, Sainsbury’s realised it needed real-time management information (MI) and reporting to gain deeper insight into each customer journey. Sainsbury’s also recognised that its new contact centre could handle the majority of the calls coming into its superstores, but its existing, inflexible IVR system was still routing calls to in-store staff.

    Simon Brennan, Vice President of Sales Europe at Engage Hub, explains, “Sainsbury’s needed a solution that provides an efficient, detailed customer contact channel, to streamline operations as part of its digital transformation strategy. Call traffic is diverted to contact centres where possible, to free up instore resources and enable better communication with customers.”

    Engage Hub is integrating its logic-building technology, Synapse, into the IVR system to drive contact centre efficiency and reduce the number of missed calls. Should a customer select an option that takes them through to an unmanned phone, the logic will trigger an action to redirect the customer to a contact centre.

    Brennan adds, “This is an exciting opportunity for Engage Hub and Sainsbury’s to showcase the future of integrated communications policies that seamlessly connect a retailer’s entire network to better serve customers,”

    Paul White, Business Manager at Sainsbury’s, says, “Sainsbury’s has invested heavily in its new contact centre, and to maximise its usage, it meant we also needed a new IVR system. One of the benefits of directing more customers to contact centres is that they can take a total view of product availability. While a colleague could tell a customer about product availability in their store, a contact centre can tell you where to go locally if your regular store does not have a particular product in stock.”

    White concludes: “With Engage Hub, we are deploying an IVR, which provides us with the flexibility we require to deliver a service that meets evolving customer needs, behaviours, and expectations.”

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