Countdown New Zealand is part of the wider Australasian Woolworths Group and accounts for about 10% of the group’s total revenue. The retail giant is the number one supermarket chain for millions in the nation, and its processes came under intense pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic. With over 24,000 contact center interactions a week, Countdown looked to Genesys to meet its business continuity requirements.
“As we already use Genesys technology across the group, we saw opportunities to converge some of our services down the line,” said Steve James, Head of Technology at Countdown New Zealand. “Countdown is confident that Genesys is world-leading. The tech aligns with what our group does and what we plan to achieve.”
Building the business case
Countdown has a sound business, and its supplies are plentiful. The pandemic, however, caused an unexpected turn with an influx of online orders to handle. The focus turned to getting groceries to customers. Before Genesys Cloud, the company’s contact center struggled to adapt to remote working and soaring call volumes during the pandemic. Its legacy contact center platform was at end of life, out of support and neglected. Priority one outages occurred regularly. The interface was slow, so system updates could only happen at off-peak hours. And that resulted in a loss of service.
The cloud-based Genesys platform allowed Countdown to boost its contact center capacity by 60% without compromising service levels. Countdown wanted to ensure vulnerable customers got their groceries on time. They set out to launch a contact center catered towards customers who couldn’t leave their homes or missed securing online delivery slots. In just three days, the priority-assist contact center was up and running.
“Genesys allowed us to raise our service levels without increasing the team as a ratio to incoming calls,” added James. The success of the three-day deployment project demonstrated to Countdown the agility and flexibility cloud technology can offer. Within the next four weeks, the company migrated its legacy contact center to the all-in-one Genesys Cloud platform.
Realizing the full potential of cloud
Since groceries are essential items, hundreds of customers resorted to panic buying during the COVID-19 outbreak. In the first week of lockdown, 200,000 customers registered for online shopping — a soaring leap from the 5,000 weekly pre-pandemic counts. New Zealanders have found online grocery shopping a new necessity, with inventory rapidly shifting from supermarkets to household pantries and freezers.
Genesys Cloud open APIs allow Countdown to easily integrate its contact center with third-party applications. Olive, the Countdown chatbot powered by Google Cloud Dialogflow, has been integrated with the platform. This enables the chatbot to automate refunds into the IVR call flow within the contact center ecosystem.