East of England Co-operative use IPC’s Data Capture services in customer satisfaction drive

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As part of the Co-op’s drive to increase customer satisfaction with the goods and services they provide from their retail outlets, the customer shopping experience in store is vital.

The business measured this experience with both customer surveys and by carrying out staff monitoring of performance at the tills, done by other staff colleagues.

Both these processes were paper based in terms of completion and reporting, and the analysis of the resulting data was time consuming for Head Office staff, meaning information was not always available as quickly as was required.

The Co-op asked IPC about the provision of outsourced data processing services and to look at both the design and handling of the different types of paperwork involved, to see what efficiencies could be gained.

As form recognition software was to be employed to automatically extract information into a suitable data format, the design of each form was critical to maximise the accuracy of the data that would be available. Accordingly, IPC submitted re designed forms that fitted the technical requirements whist still being ‘user friendly’. These were then adopted by client in new print runs of both types of forms in line with service start dates.

For the Customer Survey, client took the opportunity for a revamp of the questions to be asked, segregating out the different types of services on offer (Food, Travel, Pharmacy, Optician, Mobility and Forecourt), as well as capturing all important information as to the customers individual shopping experience, and then any comments, suggestions and complaints, which individual stores could subsequently act on.

In terms of the SLA (service level agreement) both types of form – Customer Survey and Service Observation forms (SOS) - were first received from the 130 stores centrally at the Co- op’s Ipswich Head office, and then sent onwards by courier to arrive at IPC weekly (Tues / Weds). The forms were then sorted, store number added for the SOS forms, then scanned as Tiff images before being processed using the Forms Scanning OCR engine and QA’d. Data and images were released on a daily basis with a view to scanned images and data, in the form of a CSV file, being available for client each Friday of the same week. Client then imported images and CSV data to their own in house systems using granted access to a secure IPC web server where QA’d and released images and data were placed.

During the campaign IPC’s bureau scanning team handled over 27,000 forms.

Pam Roberts (IPC’s Marketing Manager) commented: ‘ This was a very interesting project for us, especially in relation to Customer Surveys. The challenge was to get a design compromise for the form allowing a lot of key questions to be readable by the Form Recognition software, especially in the latter version deployed which was A4 triple folded! As with all forms which customers complete, the challenges of handwriting come into play, but the important fields and answers provided a good base of information for the client to look at a range of issues from price points to stock availability, to store and staff attitudes, to assist in their forward planning and marketing campaigns’.

At end of the project the scanned forms were stored for an agreed period of time and then on client instruction, shredded confidentially at IPC House.

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