Founded in 1869, iconic UK brand Sainsbury’s is the second largest supermarket chain in the country, operating 935 supermarkets and convenience stores.

For staff in-store, giving prompt attention to shoppers while dealing with professionally solving customers’ queries over the phone is a constant challenge for customer service staff. At busy times like Christmas, the number of telephone enquiries rise dramatically, compounding the problem.

When IT director Rob Fraser stood up at the company’s annual management conference in September and promised to solve the problem in more than 500 stores by the end of the year, Sainsbury’s had a significant challenge on its hands. But after a month-long trial of Resilient’s smartnumbers, a clear picture of improved customer service, greater productivity and happier store staff emerged.


The rollout was successfully carried out in just seven weeks. Now used by over 530 of Sainsbury’s stores, smartnumbers provides a cloud-based solution that enables the centralised management of voice messages, reducing the workload of store-based customer service staff whilst ensuring consistency across the business.

The service can direct calls anywhere to anywhere, across a combination of mobile or fixed-line networks, while call routings can be changed in real-time from an easy-to-use online portal.

Sainbury’s are now able to set up four options for calls – store location and opening times are dealt with by a recorded message, recruitment enquiries are directed to Sainsbury’s HR website and calls about the Nectar reward scheme receive details of the Nectar helpdesk. The fourth option connects calls direct to the customer service desk.


By automating the handling of customer enquiries, staff have more time for in-store customer service activities and can more professionally deal with genuine customer service enquiries, while callers looking for quick and commonly requested information such as store opening times are automatically directed to the web.

As a result, statistics such as call volumes, call waiting times and call abandonment have been drastically reduced, while customer service staff report that they are happier and more satisfied with their jobs.

“Call abandonment rates have plummeted, showing a substantial improvement in customer service.”

Rob Fraser

IT Director, J Sainsbury plc