Morrisons Delivers a Self-Serve Contact Center in 8 Weeks on Amazon Connect
Leading up to its peak season at the end of 2019, Morrisons, one of the United Kingdom’s largest grocery chains, wanted to update its contact center. Morrisons sought a faster, more cost-effective, and more flexible contact center system than what its legacy system could offer—one that would give the company the operational autonomy to better serve its 11 million weekly customers.
In 2019, Morrisons migrated to Amazon Connect, a cloud-based omnichannel contact center tool capable of automated interactions. In just 8 weeks, its team engineered and implemented an agile, scalable solution that enabled the company to deliver a new customer experience and become operationally self-sufficient. And when the COVID-19 pandemic significantly increased its contact center volume, Morrisons was able to quickly increase staff and deploy new services for its customers.
“Using Amazon Connect, we were able to get every single person in the contact center working from home within a day.”
Head of Customer Experience, Morrisons
From Market Stall to Feeding the Nation
Morrisons operates nearly 500 supermarkets throughout the United Kingdom and an online home-delivery service. By telephone and through social media, email, and the company’s website, the Morrisons contact center supports customers with questions regarding their store experiences, food orders, loyalty cards, and other concerns. Morrisons sought to build on its contact center’s 80 percent customer-satisfaction rating with a new integrated, user-friendly system. The new system would ideally offer the contact center’s assistants a profile of the customer and prepopulate information that could help them understand the customer’s needs. Morrisons also had a requirement for the system to be future-proof and easily updated.
Morrisons first experienced Amazon Web Services (AWS) by using the natural language understanding of Amazon Lex—an artificial intelligence service for building conversational interfaces into any application—to automatically reroute home-delivery customers to the support team that served their region. In other words, Amazon Lex helped every customer reach the right support person.
After achieving success using Amazon Lex and witnessing its capabilities firsthand, Morrisons created a list of requirements for a simplified self-service contact center that the company could add new services to and that could adjust to call-volume fluctuations. This new system would require strong data insights, scalability to meet peak seasons, and a simple architecture to facilitate easy onboarding of customer service staff. “We wanted to be able to operationally self-serve and continually improve,” says Nicola Constantinou, head of customer experience at Morrisons. “We wanted our assistants to have the very best tools at their fingertips. We didn’t just want the next step up; we wanted outstanding. So we made a wish list, and by ticking those boxes, we came to AWS and Amazon Connect.”
A Scalable, Teachable System in 8 Weeks
Morrisons decided to migrate its contact center to Amazon Connect, and it was imperative that the new system be put into effect quickly before the company’s peak season, starting in November and leading up to Christmas. To accomplish this, Morrisons worked with Conn3ct—an AWS Select Consulting Partner that solves complex communications challenges. Conn3ct worked alongside the Morrisons team to move all contact center agents from legacy desk-based phones to the Amazon Connect Contact Control Panel (CCP), migrate customer service numbers to AWS, update interactive voice response and call flows, enable real-time and historical reporting and analytics, and train employees on how to use the system. From the decision to move to AWS to completion in October 2019, the entire migration of the Morrisons contact center to Amazon Connect took 8 weeks. Operationally, the knowledge transfer only took about half a day. After another half day, the staff of Morrisons were fully trained and confidently managing the new system. “This is how user friendly and intuitive the system is,” says Constantinou.
Having implemented Amazon Connect, Morrisons can continually improve its customer service capabilities. For example, the company can change its automated messages for customers in a matter of minutes—a process that previously took 5–10 business days and required third-party involvement. “Now, when we want to let our customers know something, we put a message on, and we immediately see customers come off the line because we’ve answered their question,” Constantinou says. What’s more, the company’s operational autonomy enables it to quickly upscale to meet its peak volume and downscale in the off-season. “Bringing assistants online during the peak season and changing profiles is quick and easy, and we have the power to do it ourselves,” says Constantinou. “And I pay for what I use; I don’t pay for a huge system that I only use at peak times.” By easily integrating with Salesforce, Amazon Connect provides customer-relationship management data that improves productivity for agents of Morrisons. Customers’ profiles are automatically drawn up so that agents can serve customers and quickly answer typical questions—such as inquiries about the points balance on a customer’s loyalty card.
Rising to the Challenge of the COVID-19 Pandemic with a New Solution
The new scalable solution enabled Morrisons to immediately respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to Amazon Connect’s integration with Salesforce, Morrisons gained insights about why customers were calling and used automated messages to help them immediately. “We have been able to change our messaging almost every day during the pandemic because we integrate Amazon Connect and Salesforce. We keep customers informed at every step,” says Constantinou.
The agility of Amazon Connect also enabled Morrisons to quickly deploy a new service providing doorstep deliveries for people more vulnerable to COVID-19. Self-isolating customers without access to the internet or a Morrisons.com account could call through Amazon Connect to order groceries over the phone—no account or internet needed.
Amazon Connect also made it easier for Morrisons to increase staff for contact center operation during the height of the pandemic and to quickly transition them to working remotely. “Using Amazon Connect, we were able to get every single person in the contact center working from home within a day,” says Constantinou. “I just need a laptop and a headset, and that’s my contact center on the move. We can keep our customers serviced and our colleagues safe.” The flexibility of remote work and the fast onboarding process also meant Morrisons could quickly hire a broad range of people across the nation—such as travel-industry employees who had lost jobs—to respond to the increased call volume, which had swelled to as much as six times the weekly average.
Meeting Future Needs
When Morrisons needed to update its contact center, Amazon Connect and Conn3ct helped it create a simple, cost-effective, scalable solution in record time for peak season. The new contact center enables the company to proactively respond to customer problems through automated messages without burdening the staff. It also gives Morrisons the ability to respond quickly to market forces and current events so that it can proactively meet customer needs before issues arise. Ultimately, Amazon Connect’s functionality has further improved the Morrisons customer experience and made contact center assistants’ jobs easier.
Morrisons sees more potential for Amazon Connect and is continuing its work on AWS. The contact center system has been used in other business divisions and to create a takeout service for the Morrisons cafés during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is delivering self-service options, such as a chatbot to assist with transactional queries, and enhancing its customer service handling times using richer data. “What we’ve been able to do on AWS and with Conn3ct is work together as one unit to develop and deliver something that can seamlessly change for the future,” says Constantinou.
Founded in 1899, Morrisons is a United Kingdom–based food retailer serving 11 million customers weekly through nearly 500 UK supermarkets and an online home-delivery service. It is the fourth-largest supermarket chain in the United Kingdom.
Benefits of AWS
- Transferred to Amazon Connect in half a day
- Trained staff to use a new system in half a day
- Facilitated remote work for all contact center staff in 1 day
- Cut time for changing automated messages from 5–10 days to minutes
- Increased contact center staff during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Scaled to six times the average weekly call volume during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Enabled payment for only time spent interacting with customers
- Integrated Amazon Connect seamlessly with Salesforce
AWS Services Used
Amazon Connect is an easy to use omnichannel cloud contact center that helps companies provide superior customer service at a lower cost. Today thousands of companies ranging from 10 to tens of thousands of agents use Amazon Connect to serve millions of customers daily.
Amazon Lex is a service for building conversational interfaces into any application using voice and text.
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