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Boots: knowledge is power

Boots has some 15.5m active Advantage card holders providing the company with a wealth of information on its customers’ shopping habits, preferences and health and beauty needs and enabling it to target its customer service accordingly. In a speech at IRUK’s 2016 conference in November, Robin Philips, Omnichannel and Development Director at the health and beauty retailer, spoke about how the company is using this information to develop a single view of the customer.

It is now four years into that five-year journey, using 100m records from sources including the optician and pharmacy businesses, appointments booking system and its website,, as well as the Advantage card. The aim is to get to the point where it will be able to predict a customer’s future needs and behaviours and be on-hand to offer the right solution at the right moment.

While there are still another 12 months to go in the process, the company is already invested in targeted news and offers for its Advantage card holders.

There is also plenty of targeted content on, which receives approximately 20m visits each month. Once such service is the ‘Beautiful you’ skintype questionnaire, which enables it to recommend a ‘Beauty cabinet’ of products suitable for each individual. Other health and beauty advice is delivered via the BootsWebMD, which provides medical information, the Health and Beauty magazine and the ‘health coach’ app, designed to help people stick to fitness or well-being regimes, based on an in-store consultation. The website and mobile app offers an ‘order and collect’ service, which allows customers to order from a range of over 35,000 products by 8pm and collect from noon the following day from 95% of their stores. It can also be used to book pharmacy or beauty services appointments. Shop floor staff are provided with a tablet-based app that allows them to respond on-the-spot to customer enquiries by looking up stock or ordering items for next day collection, or by checking ratings, reviews and product information.

No surprise then, that Boots performed so well in our latest research, which ranked it highly in The Customer Dimension. The company achieved a maximum score for its response to an email enquiry, which it answered in 96 minutes, and to a Facebook enquiry, which it answered in 4h 18m. It engaged with customers thorough seven service channels and ranked highly for its response to a customer phone call, which it dealt with in six minutes.

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