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07/29/2021

BJ’s serves older customers with voice-based virtual assistant

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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BJ’s Wholesale Club is automating chat- and call-based customer service to ensure longstanding shoppers are satisfied.

The regional Northeast wholesale club retailer found that as a result of having a decades-long connection with its customer base, its core shoppers have a higher median age than many other retailers. This fact impacted the retailer’s approach to digital customer experience transformation.
 
While the BJ's website offers autonomous customer service options, offerings are targeted toward customers who are comfortable using technology to handle their requests. The retailer quickly learned that its typical customer using interactive voice response (IVR)-based customer call center services tends to be older, as well as distrustful of and easily frustrated with technology. 

[Read more: BJ’s responds to surging membership with personalization]

BJ’s turned to digital experience solutions provider Everise to build and support IVR and smart chatbot support tools designed to keep up with surging support requests made primarily by an older customer demographic. Everise built a foundational, logic-driven knowledge base within BJ’s existing omnichannel support solution, designing natural language understanding-infused voice and text-based interfaces atop it. 

These interfaces were scripted with language more typical of older demographics in mind, while the IVR' solutions speech recognition logic was adjusted to account for the regional Northeast accent typical of large portions of the client's geographic footprint.
 
Leveraging Everise technology, BJ’s is able to automate inbound and outbound call processes with a voice-based virtual assistant. With call volumes spiking at various times of the day, having an IVR solution enables the retailer to manage large call volumes while maintaining high levels of customer service and satisfaction.
 
Immediately after going into production, the Everise DX (digital experience) chatbot and IVR successfully diverted at least 50% of BJ’s incoming chat and call volume, reducing pressure on existing call center teams and fluidly scaling to meet spikes in demand. 
 
Automating five self-service menus with more self-service flows and calls being automated over time, this solution boosts a 76% accuracy rate that has been maintained through regular analysis, retraining, and optimization to ensure customer frequently asked questions (FAQs) are answered accurately.
 
With chat logs available for live agents to access, the solution increased response time, enabling first contact resolution and reducing cost-to-serve for BJ’s. The Everise solution manages 500,000 monthly conversations with customers and automates 26% of all contacts.