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Tesco boosts self-service rate for employees from 30% to 73%

British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer Tesco initially adopted the Zendesk platform to more efficiently manage internal technology queries. Today, Tesco has expanded to five instances of Zendesk serving not only employees, but also suppliers and customers.

Tesco
“We’re constantly striving to improve the experience our colleagues have when they need help with something, and Zendesk is a big part of that. Delivering a quality experience is very much a top priority.”

Adam Bruce

Head of Product – Service Desk, Help & Automation - Tesco

“Our colleagues are at the heart of the customer experience. They deliver value to our customers, so it’s key that we enable them to do the best job they can, as efficiently as possible.”

Adam Bruce

Head of Product – Service Desk, Help & Automation - Tesco

Company Headquarters

London, UK

Employees

330K+

Stores

4K+

Started Using Zendesk

2015

5M

Annual help center visits

200K

Monthly support tickets

+43%

Increase in self-service since 2020

83%

Positive employee sentiment

From humble beginnings selling groceries from a market stall in London’s East End during the early 1920’s, British retailer Tesco now has more than 4,000 stores located across five European countries. Headquartered in the UK, its largest market, over 20 million households are Clubcard members. Across their stores, distribution centers, offices and logistics centers, Tesco employs over 330,000 colleagues.

One of Tesco’s priorities is ensuring that their colleagues consider Tesco a great place to work. An important part of this is providing simple, quick, and accurate resolutions of any internal queries they may have, whether it be about a technical issue with a till or reaching out for HR support.

“Our colleagues are at the heart of the customer experience. They deliver value to our customers, so it’s key that we enable them to do the best job they can, as efficiently as possible,” says Adam Bruce, Head of Product – Service Desk, Help & Automation at Tesco.

To provide this consistent top-tier support to colleagues, Tesco partnered with Zendesk in 2015 and used the full suite of products including Support, Zendesk Guide, and Zendesk Web Widget. Since then, the partnership has developed, with Tesco recently implementing the Suite Enterprise Plus comprehensive solution to help support the delivery of personalized customer experiences at scale.

“We’re constantly striving to improve the experience our colleagues have when they need help with something, and Zendesk is a big part of that. Delivering a quality experience is very much a top priority,” says Bruce.

Signing up to Zendesk Premier Enterprise professional services has already added value, leveling up the collaborative relationship with a dedicated Technical Account Manager and Service Consultant to consistently address support queries, and facilitate onsite visits and shadowing opportunities to provide new ideas.

Tesco

Laying the foundations with Zendesk

Zendesk Support was initially brought in to more efficiently manage internal technology queries, as previously the only channel available to colleagues to reach the help desk had been phone. On discovering how service and communication were becoming more efficient for making technology requests from stores, depots and offices, the team decided to adopt it for use in other areas of the business.

Tesco has since implemented five instances of Zendesk Support; three internal colleague instances covering Technology, People Services, and Cybersecurity Operations, one instance to handle communication with suppliers and, more recently, an instance to help with customer interactions.

The value of the help centers keeps increasing

When Tesco first engaged with Zendesk, the aim was to make it easier for colleagues to get the help they needed, across multiple channels, with a particular focus on help centers. Tesco set up its first help center in 2016, populated with articles that would allow colleagues to self-serve. Their iterations and improvements on this have led to a large volume of tickets being deflected. By the end of 2023, the help centers were receiving over 5 million visits per year with over 380,000 hours of content being viewed.

“Before the help centers, colleagues would often not always know where to turn for help. For instance, if someone had an issue with their laptop, they often didn’t know where to raise their query, and so they just lived with it.

“The aim with the help centers is to provide a really easy route for colleagues like this, who are looking for resolutions, to access help. The help center articles have to be really relevant and of a high quality so they can get the answers they need as quickly and simply as possible,” says Bruce.

Having seen the value the help centers were generating, the next step in the self-service journey has been to consolidate the help centers further and to provide a more tailored and simpler experience depending on the colleague’s role. There are now two help centers: Tesco Help, which deals with operational and technical queries, and Colleague Help, which is for colleague services such as pay, benefits, and policies.

“The success of the help centers is evident from our self-service percentage, which over the past three years has grown from just 30 percent to 73 percent,” says Bruce.

Tesco

Onboard with apps and API

Over the past few years, Tesco has been building custom apps to improve their help desks, ensuring colleagues’ journey to query resolution is as efficient and quick as possible.

“There’s been a great deal of use of the Zendesk API for creating tickets. Of the 200,000 tickets the Technology instance receives per month, 50 percent of those are API-raised. That’s either from monitoring systems or from third parties that are connected via API,” says Bruce.

Focused on delivering the best quality support

Bruce is also keen to point out that while the focus is on providing the best possible colleague experience, this also extends to those agent colleagues providing the support. There are 6,500 agents, excluding light agents, working across the five Zendesk instances, where the roll out of Zendesk Agent Workspace is almost complete.

“We want to make sure that these agent colleagues have the right tools and information at hand to make their lives as simple as possible and help them deliver the best quality support,” says Bruce.

Tesco

A partnership grounded in shared understanding

Throughout the journey with Zendesk over the past eight years, Bruce and his team have worked closely with their Zendesk account team to identify areas where optimal value can be gained. As Bruce notes, the success of this partnership is based on shared understanding and collaboration.

“We’ve always had a very positive relationship with Zendesk. It’s productive in that we both bring new ideas to the table that can add value,” he says.

That value is evident in the metrics used to monitor the usage of the tools and feedback from colleagues in a recent sentiment survey.

“Of the three questions we asked in the sentiment survey: 94 percent of colleagues know where to look for help, 79 percent find the answer they’re looking for when they get there, and if they have to raise a ticket, 76 percent get a timely response.

“Overall, it’s a positive sentiment of 83 percent, which has risen from 68 percent over the last couple of years. And, indeed, it keeps growing year-on-year,” says Bruce.

Optimizing processes is the next focus

With the foundations of Zendesk very much in place, the next step is to implement advanced features to automate where possible and streamline processes. AI features such as enhanced ticket routing with intelligent triage can help continue to support agent efficiency and maximize self-service.

“Our colleague experience is very important to Tesco. Over the coming months and years there will be even more of a drive to enable our colleagues to get the help they need at their fingertips even quicker,” says Bruce.

It’s an exciting journey, and one that Tesco and Zendesk are looking forward to exploring together.