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Question time at M&S

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Food-to-clothing multichannel retailer Marks & Spencer has introduced a new website tool that it believes will reduce the number of phone and email enquiries its service agents receive. And at the same time it will help the retailer get to know its customers better.

The retailer has introduced a new smartFAQs tool, developed by Transversal, to its My M&S website that aims to give relevant answers to their questions, while at the same time capturing insights into customers through the questions that they ask.

Customers use the tool by asking questions in normal conversational language, rather than keywords and over time, using the solution’s reporting tool, the retailer can build a knowledge-base of data based on customer questions and answers that allow it to improve the responses it provides.

It can also allow Marks & Spencer to promote key messages and announcements using a contextual advertising engine based on customer interests.

Dave Hughes, Direct director at Marks & Spencer, said: “The introduction of smart FAQs will provide a new level of customer service and reduce the need for the customer to email or phone a service agent for basic queries. However, just as importantly, we’re using the Transversal solution to understand our customers better.

“By knowing the questions they are searching for we will be in a better position to identify their issues and continually evolve My M&S to provide customers with the online shopping experience they want.”

Davin Yap, chief executive of Transversal, said: “Web self-service technology is essentially a win-win for customers and business alike. Customers get to the information they want far quicker than using traditional key word search or phoning the contact centre. In turn businesses reduce the cost to serve each customer but are also able to improve retention rates by understanding the issues that are important to them.”

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