Pets at Home Helps More Owners Create a Happy Home for Their Pets with Salesforce

 

Discover how the pet care company delivers award-winning customer service with smarter processes, richer analytics, and greater personalisation

Sally’s cat has recently been diagnosed with a health condition that means he must follow a special diet. When Sally needs support ordering the new food, she wants to talk to someone that is passionate about the wellbeing of her cat. 

“For many people, pets are an extension of their family. And that means there can be a lot of emotion attached to customer interactions,” said Lisette Boyd, Head of Retail Operations for Pets at Home. “With Salesforce, we can empower our colleagues to help more customers provide the best care for their pets.”

 
 
“Thanks to our partnership with Salesforce, we can be relentless in our pursuit of delivering the best outcomes and best experiences for our colleagues and customers.”
David Carline
Group IT Business Partner, Pets at Home
 
 
 

Making pet ownership more rewarding and affordable.

As the UK’s leading pet care business, Pets at Home provides owners with everything they need to look after their animal companions – from food and accessories to grooming services and veterinary advice. Since the first Pets at Home store opened in 1991, the business has gone from strength to strength. It now operates 450+ stores as well as hundreds of Groom Room salons and First Opinion vet practices across the UK. 

“Through our unique combination of products, services, and expertise, we make pet care more rewarding, convenient, and affordable for millions of owners,” commented Boyd. “Salesforce enables us to build even stronger emotional connections with our customers and focus on becoming the best pet care company in the world.”

 
“Salesforce enables us to build even stronger emotional connections with our customers and focus on becoming the best pet care company in the world.”
Lisette Boyd
Head of Retail Operations, Pets at Home
 
 

Pets at Home blazes a trail in customer satisfaction

Pets at Home has already received industry recognition for its customer-centric approach. In January 2022, it took first place in the Institute of Customer Service’s UK Customer Satisfaction Index and was rated 11th for online customer services by Which in August 2021. “With Salesforce, we can provide personalised and proactive customer services to millions of pet owners.” 

Pets at Home is not only blazing a trail in service excellence but also efficiency. On average, a customer care agent handles nine contacts per hour with an average speed to answer of 30 seconds for phone-based contacts. For Boyd and the 90-strong customer care team, it’s not just about responding quickly, it’s about adding value. And value requires visibility.

Prior to deploying Salesforce, the team used static spreadsheets to track customer care interactions. “We needed a new CRM system to deliver on our customer care strategy,” explained David Carline, Group IT Business Partner for Pets at Home. “We want to make things easy for both our customers and our colleagues.”

 
“Salesforce Professional Services helped us establish the right building blocks.We needed a platform that would support our digitalisation goals.”
Jon Carson
Director of Change, Pets at Home
 
 

New CRM platform supports digitalisation

Pets at Home worked with Salesforce Professional Services, part of the Customer Success Group, to define and deliver its implementation of Service Cloud, which acts as both the retailer’s CRM platform and main customer care solution. “Salesforce Professional Services helped us establish the right building blocks,” said Jon Carson, Director of Change for Pets at Home. “We needed a platform that would support our digitalisation goals.”

Like many retailers, Pets at Home had to accelerate its digital transformation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, in 2020 it launched a one-hour click and collect service. “We now engage digitally with more customers than ever before,” said Carline. “We’re investing in new technologies that will enable us to create a seamless pet care ecosystem across all our brands and channels.”

 
 

#1

 

in UK Customer Satisfaction Index.

Pandemic increases pet ownership and customer engagement

COVID-19 didn’t just transform customer behaviour, it changed the dynamics of the pet care market and pet ownership. An additional 3.2 million households acquired an animal companion during the pandemic, taking the total number of pets in the UK to 34 million. To support new owners and their pets, the company introduced Pet Care Expert live, which enables experienced in-store colleagues to answer customer queries and discuss different products via video.

The rise in ownership coupled with lockdown challenges prompted a massive increase in contacts for the Pets at Home customer care team. “At one point, we were receiving 40,000+ contacts per week instead of 25,000,” revealed Boyd. “Everyone, including business directors, chipped in to help answer queries – there was an amazing sense of team spirit during the pandemic.”

Chatbot reduces contact volumes by 50,000 in three months

The introduction of a live chat offering has made it easier for Pets at Home to respond to such peaks in demand as it means agents can handle multiple customer interactions at the same time. Powered by Service Cloud’s Live Agent, the online chat capabilities have proved a massive hit with customers. The company’s Trustpilot score rose from 2.7 to 4.2 within four months of the live chat launch. Agent satisfaction ratings also increased from 4 to 4.2. “With live chat, we can provide customers with a richer experience. It also presents us with more up-selling and cross-selling opportunities,” added Boyd.

The customer care team handles around 9,000 live chat contacts per week – many of which are now picked up by an Einstein Agent chatbot. “We’ve named our chatbot Chris and he is just amazing,” commented Boyd. “We set a target to reduce our contacts by 75,000 in a year; we hit 50,000 in just over three months.”

Richer knowledge enables faster responses

Every customer care interaction on every channel is captured in Service Cloud, which will eventually become the central access point for the 20+ systems used by the team to answer queries. The team handles around 90,000 cases per month across all channels and can now identify repeat contacts more easily. “With Service Cloud, we can encourage people to use the channels that deliver the fastest response, highest satisfaction, and lowest cost to serve,” said Boyd.

To ensure resolutions can be achieved efficiently and consistently, Pets at Home has created more than 500 knowledge articles in Service Cloud. “The team can now find information in a few seconds instead of having to spend several minutes referring to different sources,” commented Emily Dickinson, Crisis Escalation Lead for Pets at Home.

 
“Our aim is the be the best pet care business in the world and everything we do and every decision we make moves us closer towards this goal. We are now well positioned to continue delivering the best service to our customers, now and into the future.”
William Hewish
CIO, Pets at Home
 
 

Providing customers with personalised resolutions

The customer care records in Service Cloud are combined with VIP club profiles to provide visibility of purchases, marketing interactions, as well as pets’ names, ages, and even photos. “With Service Cloud, we can provide customers with more personalised resolutions. For example, if we want to send a gift, we can select an item from a customer’s VIP club purchase history,” explained Dickinson.

More than six million people belong to the Pets at Home VIP club, which provides members with access to special offers, trusted advice, and lost pet alerts. With every VIP club purchase, customers can make a donation to their favourite animal charity, which has helped to raise more than £10 million worth of much-needed funds.

“Our aim is the be the best pet care business in the world and everything we do and every decision we make moves us closer towards this goal,” said William Hewish, Pets at Home CIO. “From the outset, we knew it was critically important to ensure we had the right technology in place, and coupled with an ambitious and motivated team, we are now well positioned to continue delivering the best service to our customers, now and into the future.”

 
 

50K

 

reduction in contact volumes in three months with customer care chatbot.

Pets at Home empowers its people with data

To help realise its goals, Pets at Home established a new team of 45 data scientists and engineers in just 18 months. “We started with a blank canvas with the aim of normalising data so that everyone can understand it and everyone can use it,” explained Robert Kent, the company’s Chief Data Officer.

Access to accurate insights was critical during the COVID-19 pandemic when customer engagement shifted from physical to digital channels. Tableau dashboards enabled Pets at Home to track key performance metrics, such as the uptake of its new Click and Collect service. “With Tableau, we can empower our leaders and colleagues to make data-driven decisions,” added Kent.

Pets at Home uses Tableau to help visualise the 23 million customer records captured in Service Cloud along with VIP Club information and other operational datasets hosted in the Google Cloud. By combining the power of Tableau with its own algorithms, Pets at Home will be able to predict customer preferences and responsiveness to specific campaigns and identify those most at risk of churn. “With Tableau, we can put pet owners at the heart of everything we do,” said Kent. “Richer insights enable us to identify new ways to better serve our customers.”

Pets at Home puts continuous improvement in the fast lane

Continuous improvement is embedded in the Pets at Home culture – especially within customer care. “Every case generates around 30 data fields that we use to run reports and identify opportunities for improvement,” explained Boyd. These insights have already prompted Pets at Home to change how it categorises cases to enable faster resolutions.

But this is just the beginning. With changes released every two weeks, there’s a raft of initiatives in the pipeline – from refining chatbot responses to integrating more datasets with Service Cloud to provide 360-degree customer visibility. “We want our colleagues to be able to see the entire customer journey,” said Clair Kelly, the company’s Continuous Improvement Lead. “We are constantly evolving how we use Salesforce to enrich and grow our business.”

To help keep track of the continuous improvement projects in the pipeline, the Pets at Home development team collaborates in real-time via Slack, an enterprise messaging app from Salesforce. This helps to improve visibility and efficiency by cutting down on email exchanges.

When a new initiative goes live, the customer care team is the first to know if it’s been a success. “The data captured in Service Cloud enables us to see how a change, such as the introduction of a new delivery partner, impacts the customer experience,” explained Boyd. “Everyone in the business is now asking us for data!” Boyd hopes to ramp up the team’s data capabilities by empowering customer service agents with Tableau in the future.

Helping pets and their owners live long and happy lives together

To help achieve its continuous improvement objectives, Pets at Home works with Salesforce partners CGI. It also uses Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform, to understand how to better leverage technology within customer care. “Thanks to our partnership with Salesforce, we can be relentless in our pursuit of delivering the best outcomes and the best experiences for our colleagues and customers,” said Carline. “It gives us the flexibility we need to transform at speed.”

As new trends and technologies continue to reshape the pet care market, one thing will remain consistent at Pets at Home: the commitment to its customers. “We want to empower our colleagues to have value-added conversations with customers that span their entire relationship, not just a single transaction,” said Boyd. “With Salesforce, we can continue to blaze a trail in customer service and satisfaction and help more pets and their owners live long and happy lives together.”

 
 

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