The switch to omnichannel
DIY became a popular activity in the COVID-19 lockdown but service agents were displaced from their usual contact centre environment. By choosing Zendesk, Leroy Merlin was able to enable customers to choose the support channel that best suited them and provide a more joined-up experience for everyone in the process.
“Our tagline is ‘Make your home the best place to live’ and we believe that the only way to achieve this is through customer happiness, so our main KPI is customer satisfaction.”
“We experienced a lot of agility and flexibility from Zendesk’s teams during this implementation. The responsiveness to requests was impressive, it was literally minutes or hours rather than days.”
3rd largest global DIY retailer
The first lockdown of the COVID pandemic in 2020 turned many of us into DIYers. Forced to be in, we joked how our houses and gardens hadn’t seen so much work done to them in years as we set about on home improvement projects. Of course, this meant an increased demand on home improvement and gardening retailers to provide us with all the wares we required.
One such brand is the third biggest DIY retailer globally, Leroy Merlin, headquartered in France that serves customers worldwide through its large hypermarkets. One of the latest countries it has established itself in is South Africa (SA).
“Our tagline is ‘Make your home the best place to live’ and we believe that the only way to achieve this is through customer happiness, so our main KPI is customer satisfaction,” said Dmitriy Anderson, CIO and Market Director for Leroy Merlin South Africa.
But lockdown not only meant Leroy Merlin SA’s customers were at home but so too were its employees, and with telephony being the main point of contact with customers, there was no one in the office to answer calls.
“We were in lockdown from the end of March until the start of May 2020 but during this time our customers were, of course, still calling us but because of our legacy solution where we had to actually be in the office at our headquarters to answer calls we missed 90% of customer requests,” said Anderson.
While COVID accelerated the adoption of a new customer support or relationship management system, Leroy Merlin SA was already set on this path since 2019 with the key issues being a lack of traceability and accountability.
“The main pain point with our legacy software was that we didn’t have any ticketing system or, indeed, any follow up system with our customers. We were relying on sticky notes, both digital and physical, and in many cases the customer case would just get lost and the customer would sit unhappy often without any trace of what even happened,” admitted Anderson.
Installing a new solution – and quickly
With COVID came the realisation that the business had to get a new solution and fast if it was to retain customers. Rather than opting for a pure telephony solution, Anderson saw this as an ideal opportunity to adopt an omnichannel support suite to enable customers to reach out in all the ways they wanted to, not just over the phone.
Researching what tools were available on the market, the business quickly arrived at a shortlist and soon decided that the best solution would be the robust integration offered by Zendesk’s customer support solution and the telephony capabilities of Five9, a provider of cloud contact centre software.
“What we were looking for was a contact centre solution as a whole, and not just a customer relationship management solution. And with this deep integration between these two tools we found that solution,” said Anderson.
With the decision made to go ahead with this solution in just 7 days, at the end of June 2020, the challenge now was to implement it and have it up and running with the 30 agents, which had grown from the original 20, at Leroy Merlin SA’s contact centre headquarters as soon as possible.
“We experienced a lot of agility and flexibility from Zendesk’s teams during this implementation. The responsiveness to requests was impressive, it was literally minutes or hours rather than days,” said Anderson.
The benefits speak for themselves
The new solution was officially launched in mid-September and the results were immediate. In terms of the main issues of accountability and traceability, these were resolved with Zendesk’s ticketing system as all interactions with the customers could be easily seen and their information transparent to all agents, and, of course, this in turn helped lower the overall handling time.
The other issue of agents only being able to work from the contact centre was also resolved because with Zendesk built to be open and flexible, the team could bring up the right information about customers automatically from the office, their laptop at home or via an app on their smart device from the shop floor.
“There were many other benefits too,” admitted Anderson. “For instance, with everything on one consolidated interface all customer tickets, requests and calls are merged automatically into the same thread so you don’t have to look for them all over the place. Sticky notes were a thing of the past.”
“Whereas before we didn’t have the ability to consolidate anything, Zendesk has now enabled us to integrate all our data sources from social media channels through to email. This integration is very beneficial to our operations,” he added.
"We saw dramatic improvement within the first month of using Zendesk."Dmitriy Anderson, CIO and Market Director at Leroy MerlinOf course, the true measure of the successful implementation of Zendesk is the impact it’s had on the company’s main KPI of customer satisfaction, and this impact could be seen soon after the launch.
“We saw dramatic improvement within the first month of using Zendesk. At the start of September 2020, the satisfaction score was around 60% and in a few months we managed to get that to around 75%, and it’s stayed between 68% and 75%, which is a very good achievement,” said Anderson.
Being consistent in and out the business
In a bid to ensure a consistent customer experience throughout all the omni channels, the business is now also applying the same omni channel experience internally to enable more employees to be involved in the customer interactions.
“This really has helped with teamwork because with everyone using the same interface on the same platform they are almost forced to work as a team, from those on the shop floor who have the Zendesk app installed on their phones to those in the contact centres. So it really does encourage people to collaborate, which of course helps to ensure a consistent customer experience,” said Anderson.
Looking to the future
It was a bold step on the part of the business to go from effectively no omni-channel presence to a full omni-channel solution, and to install it really quickly. The plan for the future is to continue the integration of Zendesk into its operations, particularly for social media and messaging apps.
“Soon we will be launching WhatsApp and Telegram with Zendesk, which is very exciting. Social commerce is our biggest priority for this year, which will allow our customers to transact directly through the social media channels they use on a daily basis. This is where we are heading in 2021 and Zendesk plays a crucial part in that,” concluded Anderson.