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Vodafone, Q-MATIC solution

Case study, Vodafone. Q-MATIC solution

Industrie:

  • Retail/Grande Distribuzione

Regioni:

  • United Kingdom

Sfide:

  • Vodafone was not differentiating its in-store customers based on their requirements or allocating store staff according to their areas of expertise. This meant waiting times could be lengthy, with some customers leaving the store without being seen by an advisor, resulting in missed sales opportunities. In addition, the level of service provided to the customer varied depending on the store staff's area of expertise.

Benefici:

  • Increased performance – with the new concept stores outperforming the balance of the stores estate by 3.5%
  • Enhanced management information – including customer numbers, average wait times and sales conversion figures, useful for tracking the customer experience
  • Efficiency improvements – as a result of improved management information, enabling staffing rotas to be prepared to reflect store requirements
  • Higher customer satisfaction – through improved customer flow through the store
  • Faster transaction times – reduced by seven minutes, leading to a decline in the number of customers leaving the store without seeing an advisor

Vodafone's Challenge

Vodafone is the world's leading mobile telecommunications company, with a significant presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the USA. It provides a full range of mobile telecommunications services, including voice and data communications.

Vodafone has approximately 8,000 stores globally, employing 17,000 people. In the UK, there are 347 stores, employing 2,200 staff.

As part of its on-going commitment to excellence in customer service, Vodafone conducted global research that identified that the single biggest challenge facing mobile operators is managing customer wait times in store. Further studies highlighted the differing type and needs of its customers and the impact this had on average transaction times. For example, purchase of a mobile phone accessory can be completed within three minutes; a sales demonstration can take up to 15 minutes and customer services issues can require up to 50 minutes of an advisor's time.

Vodafone was not differentiating its in-store customers based on their requirements or allocating store staff according to their areas of expertise. This meant waiting times could be lengthy, with some customers leaving the store without being seen by an advisor, resulting in missed sales opportunities. In addition, the level of service provided to the customer varied depending on the store staff's area of expertise.

Vodafone introduced a rebranding programme, ‘Retail New Model Build' (RNMB). The rebrand is aimed at improving the customer journey flow, as well as differentiating Vodafone from its competitors on the high-street. Between May 2006 and March 2007, the rebrand has been rolled out to 100 stores across the Vodafone retail network. Key components of the refit include greater automation in-store, the option for self-service through Quickphone kiosks, footfall counters to track the volume of customers in-store, as well as the management of customer flow.

Fujitsu's Solution using Q-MATIC

As part of the overall solution, Vodafone required a system to improve the management of customer flow through the store. Q-MATIC, the world leader in queue management systems, was selected as the preferred solution. As Vodafone's managed IT-service provider, this is installed and managed by Fujitsu.

As part of the Q-MATIC solution, a ticket machine is installed in each Vodafone store. Utilising touch-screen technology, the system leads the customer through a set of questions to identify their in-store requirements. The machine then issues a ticket for the customer, indicating their place in the queue. From the information supplied at the touch screen, the customer is allocated to a service queue, where an appropriate, experienced Vodafone sales advisor will serve them.

Large LCD screens provide real-time information for customers on their position in the queue and anticipated wait time. On reaching the front of the queue, a voice function plays, focusing customer attention on the screen, which then switches to the ticket number and store position, directing the customer to the correct area of the store for their enquiry. While waiting, customers can browse the handsets and accessories in-store, confident that their place in the queue is reserved.

A client terminal application, deployed at each of the service delivery positions, allows store staff to call their next customer, add notes next to each customer's enquiry or move the customer to another service desk. It can also be used to access customer queuing status and monitor throughput in the store.

Overall, the RNMB programme is performing extremely well, and many business benefits are being realised by Vodafone:

  • Increased performance – the new concept stores are outperforming the balance of the stores estate by 3.5%. Average contract volumes have increased 26% with average upgrade volumes up by 10%.
  • Transformed management – key performance indicators for the stores have been modified to incorporate customer service measures.
  • Enhanced management information – Q-MATIC, combined with the footfall counter and EPoS systems, offers increased management information, such as customer numbers, waiting times and sales conversion figures, useful for tracking and measuring the customer experience in-store.
  • Efficiency improvements – the increase in management information available enables staffing rotas to be prepared to reflect store and customer requirements.
  • Customer satisfaction – improved customer flow creates a more relaxed atmosphere for customers and staff. Customers are now seen more quickly by a sales advisor and are able to talk to the team member best-placed to respond to their query.
  • Reduction in transaction times – on average, a reduction of seven minutes means that the number of customers leaving the store without seeing an advisor are declining

Q-MATIC in the store really has been a revelation for us. It's allowed us not only to manage our customers better, but also manage the time of our team better. So we're able to make sure we've got people in at the right times to deal with different types of enquiries, but it also identifies any skills gaps. It's helped us to really improve the experience for our customers in-store. Store Manager, Manchester Experience store

The Implementation

A project team comprising Vodafone, Q-MATIC and Fujitsu manages the project. As its managed service provider, Fujitsu was integral to the rollout and on-going support and maintenance of all IT elements of the RNMB programme. The project team was challenged with meeting the specific and unique requirements of the business. The approach needed to reflect the current and desired customer journey identified by the Vodafone research.

Three stores were selected to trial Q-MATIC: Southampton, London and Manchester. All trial stores reported a transformation in management, with customer walk-out rates reduced and average transaction times down. Following the success of the pilot, the solution has now been rolled out to 100 Vodafone stores.

Utilising more than 30 years' experience supporting in-store systems, integrating supply chains and optimising IT infrastructures, Fujitsu provides Vodafone with on-going support and management of the total solution, including QMATIC, Quickphone vending machines, EPoS, footfall counters and a ‘break-fix' service. In addition, Fujitsu's retail helpdesk acts as a single point of contact for all of Vodafone's retail-IT issues.

Together Vodafone and Fujitsu have created a unique, instore customer experience.

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