How Halfords Digitally Transformed the Customer Experience

In the second of our customer spotlight webinar series, we talked to Halfords about how they digitally transformed the customer experience. B2B Customer Operations Manager, Sharon Bedford, and Salesforce Admin, Hadia Shahnawaz, told us how they used Salesforce to achieve success. We’ve summarised some of the key points in this post, but you can access the full video here.

Tailoring Salesforce for the Company

Halfords first implemented Salesforce for the B2C part of the business in customer support. At the time, the goal was to find a platform that could handle customer requests coming into the support centre.

Deep dive into Halfords Salesforce journey

By the time Hadia joined as a Salesforce Admin, the platform was 16 years old. Halfords hadn’t had a Salesforce Admin in some time, so there was a lot of work to be done! The Salesforce Admin of an organisation channels and actions improvements over time. Without this role, a company will struggle to realise the full potential of Salesforce.

Hadia’s first step as Salesforce Admin was to focus on taking advantage of the long-standing relationship with BrightGen to upgrade the org and improve processes. She made sure to introduce BrightGen to more of the Halfords customer support teams, so that they knew that there was extra support if they needed work that couldn’t be done in-house.

Top Three Tips for a New Salesforce Administrator

1. Control

When Hadia looked into Halfords’ Salesforce org, she could see that lots of people had access to make changes to it. This created an issue with the performance of the platform, as every change has a knock-on effect on other functionalities. Hadia brought in rules and a process where only she and BrightGen could make changes in the org. Now when there is an issue, they can easily identify any change that caused it and roll it back.

2. Communication

Hadia set up weekly calls with her stakeholders and BrightGen. This means everyone can keep up-to-date with what each other is doing and BrightGen can truly understand the business’ priorities.

3. Timelines

Along with communication, it is important to outline clear objectives at the start of your journey and get timescales agreed to achieve them. Especially over the last 16 months, Halfords needed to be reactional to the changes that the world was facing. That meant making changes and customer journey enhancements within a short period of time, alongside implementing projects.

What to Look For in a Salesforce Partner

Hadia’s response to this was: “consistency”. The reason they value BrightGen is because when you log a ticket, you know it won’t be a different developer picking it up every time. 

“With BrightGen, we deal with the same account manager, the same development team. So we know them, they know us.”

Halfords Salesforce Admin, Hadia Shahnawaz

BrightGen knows Halfords’ business and priorities, as lines of communication are always open. This also means that if there is ever an emergency situation, BrightGen can be immediately responsive. As Sharon put it, “it’s important to have a partner that’s proactive and reactive”. BrightGen is on-hand to fix day-to-day operational issues. But when you want to enhance your customer journey or your systems, Halfords can go to BrightGen for support and guidance and advice. “If you feel that you have dedicated people that can help you, it makes a massive difference.”

Digitally Transform the Customer Experience

B2B Customer Operations Manager, Sharon, was originally involved in implementing the Cycle 2 Work application website for the B2B business. This was where employees and employers would be able to log in and capture the entire customer journey. BrightGen helped Halfords get their website onto Salesforce, to facilitate integration with other partners, as well as stores.

The next step was to improve how Halfords dealt with customers in-store and over the phone. Bicycle and motoring experts in-store were finding it challenging to focus on customers physically present while they had to simultaneously respond to phone calls and look for orders. Halfords wants the customer to be fully engaged with their in-store staff. By making it easier for customers to find the information they need on the website, such as whether their order is ready to collect, they will be less likely to make a phone call. They are also trialling directing phone calls to additional in-house experts to avoid distracting staff in-store.

Customer reviews, such as on Trustpilot, were another important area for the company to join up. It was difficult for their teams to respond to reviews individually, and when they were, there was no central record across different sites. BrightGen worked with Halfords to create cases in Salesforce automatically as reviews came in. Halfords’ teams can now respond to cases much more easily and seamlessly record the information in Salesforce.

Reacting to the Pandemic

After the first COVID-19 lockdown in the UK, Halfords saw bike sales rise by 57% as people sought to avoid public transport. This drove unprecedented contact into their customer support teams. To deflect some of that contact, they introduced a chat bot to deal with frequently asked questions. Despite never having worked with chat bots before, the Halfords team succeeded in getting the chat bot live on the website within two months.

They had to update COVID messages on the website around shop openings, changing regulations, and stock updates. This required website updates two to three times a week throughout 2020. After they made the changes, they saw a drop in customer contact, as customers were able to find the information they needed on the website.

A Smoother Customer Experience

Now Halfords’ Salesforce instance is clean, well-maintained and upgraded to Lightning, customer interactions will inevitably become smoother. By prioritising the clean-up of the Salesforce infrastructure in partnership with BrightGen, Hadia and Sharon have digitally transformed the customer experience.

If you are looking for a partner that can help you streamline your Salesforce org like Halfords, contact us today.