Large Retail Group Boosts Containment by 20% with Expanded Self-Service

Tactical improvements to the customer journey helps a retail group giant give callers faster, smarter, and more engaging experiences.

At The Very Group (TVG- formerly Shop Direct), the phones never stop ringing. With multiple unique brands managing over 31 million calls per year, the contact center is right at the core of the business. So, when they wanted to improve caller experiences, cut average call times, and make the IVR smarter and more welcoming, TVG got in touch with Waterfield Tech.

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How the Customer Has Benefited...

The Challenge

With such a high volume of calls coming into TVG’s contact center every day, there were significant cost savings to be realized by reducing call durations, improving routing, and containing more requests. And because the vast majority of TVG’s customer contact was happening by phone, it was also where the group found most opportunities to cross-sell and upsell. Achieving this required us to dive deep into the customer journey and design powerful new modules to fulfill their objectives—without making the system sound like an automated salesperson.

The Solution

By learning from their agents, analyzing customer contact experiences, and conducting user research such as call listening, interviews, and usability studies, we were able to design a range of new modules to serve the individual needs of their brands.

To minimize disruption and ensure that the new functionality would be well received by customers, we carried out prototype usability research upfront, iterating the design to address the usability issues identified, then deploying production updates in three phases:

Phase 1 introduced identification and verification to identify each caller and understand their reason for contact before routing them to an agent.

Phase 2 saw the implementation of self-service for the most common requests like payments, order status, returns, account information, and catalog orders—removing the need for callers to speak with an agent.

Phase 3 was the design and evaluation of a personalized on-hold experience ensuring callers only hear messages relating to the brand for which they are calling.

The Results

Before the 3-phased implementation cycle, The Very Group’s average customer rating of the IVR experience was 2.1 out of 5. With the new modules in place, and customers getting faster, more relevant service, TVG’s CSAT score jumped 2 points to 4.1 out of 5.

But the rewards didn’t stop there. Today, callers get routed to an agent faster, and that agent knows who they are, thanks to automated identification and verification in the IVR. The changes have also resulted in:

  • 85%+ of callers are automatically identified and verified, saving 15-20 seconds of agent time per call
  • 88% said they preferred the new automated system over transferring to an agent
  • 82% of customers rated the IVR 7/10, with 50% rating it 10/10
  • Self-service usage increased by 20%, cutting the volume of calls that reach an agent

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