Case Study: Costa Express Improved Its Customer Service

Cup of coffee with heart shape smoke and coffee beans on burlap sack

“RingCentral Contact Centre is giving us everything we could hope for in a customer-support solution. It allows our department to run smoothly even with everyone working from home.

“It gives us the tools to make our agents more efficient and productive. And because it does all these things, it’s helping us improve our customer experience.” Deborah Woods, Contact Centre Manager

Voted UK’s Favourite Coffee Shop Every Year for More Than a Decade

Costa Coffee is the perennial winner in UK consumer surveys for best branded coffee chain.

And because demand for the company’s award-winning blends has always outpaced the company’s ability to build new stores, in recent years Costa Coffee unveiled one of its most popular innovations in the company’s 50-year history: a self-serve coffee bar, Costa Express.

These easy-to-use machines, which serve barista-quality Costa Coffee, have proven so popular with consumers that today the company has installed more than 10,000 Costa Express kiosks throughout the UK. You can find them at grocery stores, petrol stations, universities, shopping centres, hospitals, and many other locations across the country.

To provide service and technical support to business customers operating one of these machines, the company set up a dedicated contact centre department. And to deliver customer support worthy of the company’s award-winning name, Costa Express needed the best telephony solution available.

A Pre-Pandemic Trial Run for a Remote Contact Centre

Before the company implemented RingCentral, Costa Express’s contact centre staff worked entirely in-house at company headquarters. All agents had desk phones, and none ever worked remotely.

So, in early 2020—for reasons that had nothing to do with COVID—the management team decided to give RingCentral Contact Centre a trial run, to find out if the customer support team could function efficiently away from their desks.

Soon after, they rolled out the cloud-based RingCentral MVP, giving all employees the mobility to make and receive business calls anywhere from their computers and smartphones.

“We were having our annual offsite, all-employee Company Conference,” recalls Deborah Woods, Contact Centre Manager for Costa Express.

“Historically, our support agents couldn’t attend because they had to be at the office to take calls. But our management team wanted to see if we could add RingCentral Contact Centre to everyone’s laptops and let them attend the conference. They did, it worked beautifully, and we’ve been using Contact Centre ever since.”

Finding Many Operational Benefits With RingCentral Contact Centre

Only a week after the contact centre department completed its remote-work trial run, the pandemic lockdowns began going into effect. Thankfully, because RingCentral Contact Centre was now on the laptops of every Costa Express agent and supervisor, the department was ready for the sudden transition to remote work.

But mobility was only the first of many benefits of the company’s new, cloud-based customer support solution. As Deborah notes, she and her team have discovered several other ways to improve their operations—and the customer experience—using RingCentral Contact Centre.

The department uses Contact Centre’s skills-based routing, for example, to connect customers with the right agents more quickly.

For example, Deborah explains, “We have a call queue just for our technical-support agents. These are former engineers who were in the field repairing the Costa Express machines. So, when a customer has a technical issue, our automated menu can send them directly to someone with expertise at dealing with the machines.”

The team is also leveraging the flexibility and ease of use of RingCentral Contact Centre’s admin platform to add customized options to the department’s IVR—including automation options that allow customers to self-serve rather than waiting to connect with an agent.

“We added an option to our phone menu that allows a customer to enter their customer ID and hear some commonly requested information about their account. That’s a win-win, because it improves the customer experience, and it has cut by 40% the number of these types of calls going to live agents.” Deborah Woods, Contact Centre Manager

As Deborah also points out, her team has been able to leverage the advanced reporting and analytics in RingCentral to improve efficiencies.

“We need to be available 7 days a week but because we have such granular call volume data, we realized that we could adjust our agents’ shifts and even reduce hours—based on the hours when we tend to be busier—to improve both our agents’ productivity and callers’ wait times.” she says.

Also with Pulse for RingCentral Contact Centre, Deborah was able to create alerts to monitor how things were changing in real time.

“As there were a lot of unknowns in how much our machines would be used or how many enquiries we’d receive when we first went remote, it was really useful to know that we’d get an alert when certain limits were met on key metrics such as call queues, waiting times and agent performance.”

Costa Express haven’t stopped innovating and improving their service either, for example adding QR codes on machines to facilitate contactless operation.

As Deborah says, “Without full confidence in RingCentral Contact Centre, we wouldn’t have considered rolling out such a key feature remotely but we knew our agents would be able to handle all enquiries effectively.”

Looking Forward to Leveraging More RingCentral Contact Centre Capabilities

The department has been having such success centralizing its phone-support operations on a shared cloud telephony platform that they’ve begun adding more customer communication channels into RingCentral Contact Centre.

“We’ve started bringing customer support emails into the RingCentral platform, which is great because it gives us visibility and insights into another type of communication,” she says.

“Now we can monitor the volume of emails coming into customer support each day, track how long it takes agents to reply, what common questions customers are asking over email, and the quality of our responses. It’s giving us business intelligence we’ve never had before.”

In fact, Deborah notes, her team is now looking into adding yet another communication channel—RingCentral’s live chat feature. “With each of these tools, we’re giving our customers more ways to reach us, using the formats they choose. And that’s allowing us to continually make our contact centre even better.”

“Several colleagues with other companies commented to me, ‘Must be difficult running a contact centre with everyone remote.’ But as I told them, we have RingCentral Contact Centre, which means I have more visibility into what’s happening across my department than most businesses—even those that have everyone in the office.”

Author: Guest Author

Published On: 29th Nov 2021
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