Conversational Commerce helps Home Depot customers build the home of their dreams

The Home Depot Canada

The Home Depot Canada helps customers create and maintain the home of their dreams, whether they want to do it themselves or have it done for them. The company’s customers include do-it-yourselfers as well as home improvement, construction and building maintenance professionals. Customers are able to visit any of the 182 stores across Canada to purchase products and get advice.

The problem

In early 2018, in addition to its retail stores, The Home Depot Canada was also using phone and email to support its customers as well as online chat to complement ecommerce capabilities. But, the company felt like chat wasn’t allowing them to fully maximize the digital opportunity.

“Chat was a great way to engage with customers for ecommerce, but we realized we weren’t always able to meet customer demand with chat, as agents were only able to handle a small number of conversations at a time,” says Carlos Lourenco, Senior Manager, Ecommerce Contact Center & Order Management Operations. “The same was true with phone calls, which agents can only handle one at a time. All-in-all, we were missing opportunities to connect with customers in a cost effective way.”

Additionally, The Home Depot Canada wanted to provide an omnichannel communication approach, giving customers the ability to reach the company however and whenever they wanted to.

"Customers love that they are able to see the history of their conversation."

Carlos Lourenco, Senior Manager,
Ecommerce Contact Center & Order Management Operations

The solution

Working with LivePerson, The Home Depot Canada defined a strategy to transition from chat to messaging as a way to meet customers in their preferred channel. “Most people spend a great deal of time on their devices and we realized this would be a more efficient way than the phone or online chat to interact with them,” recalls Lourenco. “In addition to providing a great customer experience, we also saw this as a way to differentiate ourselves.”

The journey from chat to messaging for The Home Depot Canada began by adding SMS for customer service in March of 2018 as a stepping stone to be able to shut down its email channel. In October 2018, the company replaced their online chat service with web messaging, allowing their agents to handle many more “concurrent” conversations. At that time, automation was also added with a bot that greets consumers, answers FAQs and handles other simple self-service tasks, and routes conversations to an agent if the bot can’t answer a question.

In December of 2018, the company introduced Voice to Messaging, giving callers into its 800 number the option to continue via SMS, instead. It also removed email as an option for customers to contact the company.

Messaging is a win-win-win

Better customer experience 81% of customers indicated they would use the channel again

Better business outcomes 30% overall decrease in cost-per-contact

Happier customers CSATs peaking above 90%

The result

Customer response has been very positive. With messaging, customers are able to come in and out of the conversation on their time. “Customers love that they are able to see the history of their conversation,” says Lourenco.

Agents also prefer messaging, especially compared to the phone. Melissa Lee manages contact center operations and saw the immediate impact, “Agents love it. They’re handling more and they have time to think about an answer before they respond. Agents are excited to come into work. They challenge each other and compare stats. My top agents are helping other agents problem solve, which is something you can’t do on the phone or in chat.”

The business impact of messaging has been tremendous:

  • 30% overall decrease in cost-per-contact
  • CSATs peaking above 90%
  • 81% of customers indicating they would use the channel again

"Agents are excited to come into work. They challenge each other and compare stats. My top agents are helping other agents problem solve, which is something you can't do on the phone or in chat."

Melissa Lee, Contact Center Operations

There has also been a profound shift in how customers interact with the retailer. A full 50% of interactions now come through messaging, compared to the 22% that had come through chat. Lourenco is positive on the continued growth, “I fully expect messaging to overtake phone calls in the near future.”

Moving forward, The Home Depot Canada will expand messaging into different lines of business, including appliance delivery support, installation, loyalty and professional services and more. As use cases expand, their use of AI and automation will also increase. As Lourenco states “with bots, we can further increase our efficiency, freeing up our agents to handle the conversations that require a human touch.”

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