VoiceSage has announced that UK home and general merchandise retailer Home Retail Group has transformed its customer experience through use of its proactive outbound contact solution suite.
Home Retail Group, whose brands include Argos, Homebase and Habitat, has implemented a hosted interactive voice messaging (IVM) and SMS solution from VoiceSage. This is being used by its Customer and Financial Services organisation which handles some 10 million inbound calls a year and 2 million order and delivery email enquiries, and employs 1,800 staff across three contact centres.
Home Retail Group wanted to be able to pre-empt routine customer order and delivery queries with proactive outbound messages, to boost the customer experience while making its own operations more efficient and cost-effective. Before adopting VoiceSage, agents would call customers to confirm order delivery dates and times. Using a dialler, they were typically achieving only a 30-40% success rate in getting through to people.
Within four weeks of using VoiceSage’s solutions to automate its customer contact communications, by sending a combination of text messages and pre-recorded voice messages, Home Retail Group reported it had achieved the same number of customer contacts per hour as through the dialler system – but with a significantly higher hit rate. It has also been able to reduce the amount of agents’ time that is tied up in delivery contact activities.
Telephony costs have significantly decreased too, as 60% of contacts are now made via SMS.
The Group’s main use of interactive voice messaging and SMS text messaging is in informing customers about their two-hour delivery window on the day before a shipment is scheduled. This can account for some 40,000 outbound customer contacts each day which would otherwise have to be made by live agents. This proactive service not only improves customer satisfaction by keeping people informed about the delivery service, it also discourages customers from calling the contact centre to chase up their orders.
Guided by VoiceSage, the Home Retail Group has also expanded interactive voice messaging and SMS text messaging technology to other parts of its contact centre operations. Because VoiceSage’s system can be easily configured and adjusted by users, contact centre managers have found they can dynamically apply the technology in numerous different situations – for example, to set up ad-hoc messages to quickly inform customers about unforeseen delivery delays.
“The huge benefit is that we can proactively contact customers en masse without impacting the front line,” explains Mark Fox, Real-Time Manager for Home Retail Group’s Contact Centres. “The major reason we chose VoiceSage in particular is because of the ability to set up campaigns on our own – ad hoc and very quickly,” “With rival solutions we would have to put in a request to the service provider and wait for them to do it. We wanted the freedom that VoiceSage gives us.”