Case Study: Côte Is Delivering Exquisite Customer Service

Cozy street with tables of cafe in Paris

“Because RingCentral Contact Centre connects our agents with customers so quickly, it’s increasing sales. If we were slow to respond to an enquiry before, that meant an abandoned cart. Now it’s a quick answer—and a sale.” Chris Petryna, Head of IT.

An Authentic French Dining Experience in the UK

Although the company is only a little more than a decade old, Côte Brasserie has already become one of the UK’s largest restaurant chains—with nearly 100 locations across the country serving almost a million diners each year.

The company’s strategy was innovative and ingenious: offering a relaxed dining experience reminiscent of the brasseries and bistros of Paris and serving authentic French dishes.

Côte has also garnered an impressive number of industry awards in its short history—including Best French Cuisine by LUXlife Magazine, Restaurant Operator of the Year from Restaurant Magazine, and the SME News Welsh Enterprise Award for market leadership and innovation.

If you’re wondering how Côte’s food actually tastes, here is what restaurant critic Jay Rayner wrote for The Guardian about Côte at Home, the company’s popular new delivery service:

“Côte at Home is really good. Not just ‘good considering they’re a high street chain,’ or ‘not bad at the price’. It’s proper good, in the way you tell your neighbours about over the garden wall.”

But with this excellent and growing reputation across the UK, Côte soon found itself unable to support its customer service team with piecemeal technology solutions.

Unable to Create a Cohesive Call Centre With à la Carte Processes

When the founding team began opening Côte Brasserie locations, they were focused on creating a unique and excellent dining experience—not on implementing a future-proof IT infrastructure.

As Côte opened more restaurants across the country, the company’s call centre operations grew more decentralized.

“Each restaurant was managing its own reservations and other phone enquiries, which was terribly inefficient,” says Chris Petryna, Head of IT for Côte.

“It created an inconsistent experience for customers, and it kept us from gaining any business insights by being able to aggregate and analyse call data across the company.”

Complicating matters further, the communication solutions that Côte’s customer service team relied on had significant limitations of their own.

“Our phone system had trouble with even simple functions the customer service team needed, such as simultaneous ringing on multiple phones or transferring a call between departments,” says Chris.

While the majority of Côte’s customer enquiries are phone calls, the company has always received a high number of email enquiries as well. But because customer emails were neither centralized nor integrated into the team’s other IT environments, responding to these enquiries became increasingly inefficient.

“Our agents had to go into Microsoft Outlook regularly to see if there were customer messages awaiting responses,” Chris explains. “We had no standard process for which agent would take which email or in what order they should prioritize responses.

“And because none of this was tied to any other solution, we had no way of updating the dispositions of email enquiries so we could track their status and analyse them later.”

“We needed a call centre solution that was flexible, would easily scale with us, and brought all of our communication channels into one platform. RingCentral Contact Centre gave us all of that.” Chris Petryna, Head of IT.

Finding an Omnichannel Call Centre Solution That Was Fully Baked

Côte turned to RingCentral Contact Centre, a cloud-based omnichannel solution that allowed the company to direct all customer enquiries—phone calls, emails, and online chats, for all restaurants—into a single centralized environment.

“The benefits were immediate and profound,” says Chris.

“We could now give customers contacting us from anywhere in the country a consistent, outstanding experience. Our restaurant teams could now redirect their attention away from taking reservation calls and toward creating a great dining environment.”

Chris adds: “Thanks to Contact Centre’s skill-based routing capabilities, we were able to more quickly connect callers with just the right agents to handle their issues—which is helping us increase sales.”

“Not only that, the level of reporting and analytics enables us to monitor peak times for inbound activity on the different channels—we’ve used this to change staff shifts and agent availability, which has resulted in a reduction in dropped calls, time on-hold and email response times.”

Serving Up a Whole New Business During the Lockdowns

When COVID forced business shutdowns across the UK, Côte was forced to close its restaurants.

As Chris reflects, “Being able to self-manage scripts and voice prompts together with a centralized call queue meant we could change messages in minutes, which was invaluable to inform customers of closures, cancellations, and re-openings.”

This flexibility also allowed Chris to take some of the admin burden away from the IT team.

“We have empowered employees in different parts of the business to make their own decisions—for example our reservations manager can update the voice prompts and messages for restaurants without IT support, so it’s much more efficient all around.”

The innovative company quickly found a way to continue providing its signature French dishes to customers even during the lockdowns—by launching a food-delivery service called Côte at Home.

“That entire launch happened in about two weeks, and RingCentral was a key factor in why we were able to roll it out so quickly,” Chris recalls.

“We were able to easily create a new Contact Centre environment by copying our existing prompts and directories and routing rules, and then adjusting them in the RingCentral admin portal to make them specific to the home-delivery service.”

A second way Contact Centre supported such a smooth launch of the new Côte at Home service, Chris adds, was the fact that all agents were fully productive from home.

“The fact that Contact Centre is cloud-based, and agents could join call queues from their laptops, meant they could be just as efficient and productive working remotely as if they were in the office.

“In fact, this has proven so successful that we’re planning to allow our customer service agents to work from home even after the pandemic.

“The analytics we’re seeing show that the flexibility of remote work suits us as a business in both improving customer service and keeping our employees happy.”

“Now that we have so much actionable data about call volume and trends, we’re learning exactly when to expect upticks in enquiries or quiet periods. That’s helping us to schedule our staff more efficiently and improve the customer experience.” Chris Petryna, Head of IT.

Author: Guest Author

Published On: 23rd Jul 2021
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