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Shop Direct announces customer service innovation

Alice Ierace
14 May 2019

Shop Direct, the UK’s largest integrated pureplay digital retailer and financial services provider, has handed the power to deliver customer service innovation to a team of 20 frontline advisers with the launch of a new "customer closeness" centre at its Liverpool head office.

Members of the new customer closeness team work in four-week cycles, using agile principles and methodology to deliver rapid change. The first two weeks are spent dealing directly with customer queries via the phone and web chat to identify improvement opportunities. The insight and data gathered are used to re-write processes and test new technology in the second two weeks.

The customer closeness centre is designed to "create the ideal environment for customer service innovation", with an open plan agile zone including collaborative meeting spaces, and a customer zone featuring a contact centre.

The head office location underlines the business’ aim to increase the importance of customer service and bring its staff even closer to the customer, including opportunities for all departments to listen to calls and influence how innovation is prioritised.

Mark Billingham, customer service director at Shop Direct, commented: “We want to lead the way for customer service innovation and create the empowered frontline colleagues of the future, equipped with complex problem-solving ability, digital skills and the latest technology. The customer closeness team and centre will help us reach this ambition.”

Innovation is at the core of the team’s approach, supporting Shop Direct’s plans to continue enhancing its digital customer service capability. In 2018, almost 30% of customer contact came via digital channels, including the AI-powered Very Assistant chatbot, webchat and social media.

Ann-Marie Stagg, chief executive at the Call Centre Management Association, added: “In a sector that is undergoing significant change, it’s great to see organisations like Shop Direct continue to innovate and prioritise the customer experience. Empowering frontline team members and providing them with the right level of support, training and authority is the smartest way of improving the customer experience.”

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