Improve customer services across Mothercare’s key three sales channels – the web, contact centre and in store. A particular focus was reducing the time taken to fulfill customer queries and allow customers to serve themselves where possible.
Three solutions aimed at each of the channels based on Transversal’s core web self-service technology (including linking social media queries)
How it works
• Mothercare is now on Facebook and Twitter and has its own blog whilst launching the Gurgle parenting community.
• Mothercare refers comments from the blog and Gurgle through to Ask Carrie, ensuring consistent, fast answers.
• Given the real time, detailed nature of social media, it is also using this feedback to grow and tune its knowledgebase.
• Used by 2,000 customers per day
• Contact centre call volumes reduced as more customers ‘serve themselves’ via the web
• Only 3.5% of customers using the Transversal solution escalate queries to contact centre
• 100% of customer emails/queries answered within 24 hours
The retail market is amongst the most competitive in the world. The advent of new competition via the internet and other direct channels has increased pressure on traditional retailers to respond to changing customer needs. Mothercare Group believes its major business challenges are the need to differentiate in a crowded market across both online and traditional retail channels.
Mothercare faced a number of challenges with its web channel, contact centre and access to appropriate information to serve customers in store.
Feedback on its website, both directly and via focus groups, demonstrated that it wasn’t providing access to the right answers for queries, so customers were forced to call or email its contact centre. This was a source of frustration since the information was on the website but difficult to access quickly or easily. This put additional strain on agents, meaning that they were answering basic questions rather than providing answers to more complex customer service queries.
Mothercare identified that it needed to reduce the lower value customer service calls and emails in order to support multi-channel expansion without impacting customer service. This was especially acute when it came to peaks in demand around Christmas, which are difficult to predict. An additional challenge was revealed in feedback from 100 Mothercare contact centre agents which showed they had to access too many systems to carry out their day to day jobs. Analysis showed they had to log onto ten internal web systems, plus an HTML content management system, which was reducing productivity, causing frustration and ultimately slowing response rates, as measured by contact centre key performance indicators (KPIs).
Providing access to information in Mothercare’s third channel – its shops was driven by business imperatives. The multi-channel push led to the launch of the major Collect in Store initiative, where customers could order via web or telephone and pick up at their local Mothercare. The business case was built on ensuring that shop staff had immediate access to customer order tracking – where they were and other relevant information. Mothercare identified that its staff were having to call the contact centre for updates and this was slowing down the process and was impacting on customer service – as the customer had to wait for information.
The solution – For the contact centre
Mothercare turned to self-service technology specialist Transversal to address all three channels; the web, contact centre and in store. The company had already worked with Mothercare’s colleagues at the Early Learning Centre on a separate web project and earned rave reviews, both for the strength of its natural language search technology and its knowledge in tailoring it to individual needs. Transversal addressed each of the channels sequentially, as follows:
For contact centre staff
The Transversal solution was then extended to the contact centre and Ask Mothercare, a web-enabled solution was created to provide access to all systems from a consistent interface. Ask Mothercare shared the consistent knowledgebase of Ask Carrie but added more detailed information than was publically available, such as fluctuations in product prices, PDFs of product instructions and store information. This empowered Mothercare agents with the information they needed to excel at their jobs, right at their fingertips.
Results – For the contact centre
The implementation of Ask Mothercare has seen the retailer benefit in terms of productivity, morale and overall customer service. For example, 100% of emails are now answered within 24 hours, against 30% prior to launch. Ask Mothercare went live in July 2009 and agent satisfaction surveys and feedback were overwhelmingly positive. Agents have better first contact resolution, contacts per transaction have gone down and outbound calls have reduced. Call length has increased, as more complex queries are being dealt with, leading to a more rewarding working experience for staff. In 2009 inbound email volumes decreased by 15,000, against a background of growing sales. This represents a workload reduction of 15% across the team, alongside other productivity gains that are difficult to quantify given the expanding nature of Mothercare’s business.