5 questions to: Paul de Vries, Social Media Manager at Decathlon
Paul de Vries is Social Media Manager at Decathlon. We interviewed him about his experience with chatbots and the application of OBI Engage within the webcare team. In the 3 years he has worked at Decathlon, Paul has seen the company and the number of customer questions grow enormously. OBI4wan’s software solutions offer solutions in a changing market.
1. How does Decathlon use OBI Bots?
“Decathlon is currently using various OBI4wan applications: OBI Engage, a chatbot and a so called ‘complete bot’. We have been using a chatbot since September 2018. We have really experienced a big difference with the number of questions that the bot can pick up. The bot now participates in 25% of all chat sessions, which is 7% of the total number of messages. The chatbot is now able to solves customer cases without human interaction and is therefore a fully-fledged force in the team. This is great to see!
We are also developing a live chat feature together with OBI4wan. Ultimately, we want the bot to be able to solve standard questions from from A-Z and for it to be integrated into our CRM system, so it can, for instance see if an article is sold out. We are working very hard to get this functionality.”
2. Can you give an example of how OBI Bots has contributed to a more efficient and better service?
“Since the introduction of the chatbot in September, it is striking to see that we have more time for our customers. At Decathlon we are all athletes and good at answering sports related questions. Our goal and also our dream is that employees will be able to give advice on sports only, and leave the standard questions to the chatbots. Then we will truly be able to pass on our passion for sports to our customers.”
“Our goal and dream is that employees will be able to give advice on sports only, and leave the standard questions to the chatbots. Then we will be able to truly pass on our passion for sports to our customers.”
Currently the bots support us by assisting with standard procedures such as finding an order number. For example, now if we open a customer case, we no longer need to ask for an order number. This increases efficiency and saves time for both the customer and employee.
3. How does Decathlon combine chatbots with the human factor and to what extent does the work of customer care become more relevant through the use of chatbots?
“The ultimate goal is, of course, that we no longer have to answer standard questions and that we are only engaged in providing service. Out of pure necessity, we started looking for a solution to handle the volume of customer queries once we noticed we could no longer handle it. We have two major peaks in the year; in the winter and summer season. Our biggest channel is Whatsapp, which is where we experience the largest volume in contact. We go from 10.000 messages per month to 30.000 messages per month during our peak periods. This was becoming a large issue, as we could not handle the amount of messages and were unable to find adequate employees on short term. In addition to this, our office is becoming too small for new people.
So, purely out of necessity, together with OBI4wan we started looking for a long term solution. The human factor lies in the fact that we are more relevant to our customers, but also that our employees can do more relevant work in terms of content. When the API link is made with our CRM system, we will surely experience an even bigger difference!
4. What insights does the collaboration between Decathlon and OBI4wan provide?
At Decathlon we have a clear vision: we want to get rid of e-mail communication as quickly as possible and also drastically reduce telephone traffic, as we have noticed these channels to be very inefficient. Since we have been using the chatbot as a communication channel, we have noticed a clear decrease in mail traffic. We also notice many advantages in customer contact. For example; we are able to quickly and easily respond to questions and comments via social media. The biggest advantage and insight is that we are able to have closer contact with the customer since we started working with OBI4wan.
“The biggest advantage and insight is that we are able to have closer contact with the customer since we started working with OBI4wan.”
The most important insights are summarized:
- Strong decrease in mailtraffic
- Small decrease in telephone traffic
- Via OBI Engage, monitor what the customer are saying about Decathlon and respond to current events.
- With OBI Engage we are able to have conversations with the customer quickly and conveniently.
5. Do you have advice for retailers who also want to benefit from chatbot technology?
“My advice to other retailers who are thinking about chatbots or are already using a chatbot: be patient! I would advise everyone to compare a bot to a new employee and to not expect miracles overnight. The bot learns new things every day. Make sure you have a clear plan in advance and have a clear view on what you want to achieve or what problem you want to solve. We have made a clear development plan for the chatbot and described what we want to achieve each month, describing what the bot should be able to do by then. For example: in three months I want the bot to be able to solve this standard question and in six months the bot will be able to answer all our FAQs. “
“It is best to compare a bot to a new employee and to not expect miracles to happen overnight. The bot learns new things every day.”
It is advisable to have one person be responsible for the bot. At Decathlon we do a lot of personal development and we find it important that someone can use his or her talent in additional tasks or responsibilities. Developing the chatbot can be such a varied task besides the standard work. Besides that, it is just very fun to learn!