VoCoVo: Super charging teams with the Co-op - Partner Case Study

VoCovo and Co-op - Connecting teams in 2600 Co-op stores across the UK

The Big Picture

The Co-operative Group, trading as the Co-op, is the largest consumer cooperative in the UK. With 4.6 million active members, 4,200 locations and 70,000 employees, it is one of the UK’s longest established and most loved ethical retailers. In 2018 the Co-op celebrated another successful year, totalling £10.2 billion in revenue. As a collective business, being commercially strong enables the Co-op to generate even more value for its members. Like many UK retailers, the Co-op is facing a strong set of market challenges. The Co-op set out to deliver increased value for its shareholders by tackling these challenges head on, resulting in a positive impact for colleagues and members across the UK.

What was the Co-op's issue?

When the Co-op first approached VoCoVo they faced a common set of market challenges, despite a series of successful financial years. A more productive way of working with effective in-store communications were needed. Co-op colleagues faced numerous challenges around security, time management and team communication that could lead to inefficiencies.

In smaller stores, colleagues were spread too thinly, leading to problems with losses and handling customer issues. This made customer interaction more complicated, as colleagues couldn’t always provide instant feedback or quickly contact their team. The Co-op approached VoCoVo for support in introducing a new voice technology in store, in order to facilitate better colleague communication and safety.

Requirements snapshot:

  • Need for increased staff flexibility and ability to communicate quickly
  • Wanted to drive productivity in Co-op stores
  • Wanted to support colleagues in dealing with customer issues
  • Reduce specific in-store issues - queue times, losses and complaints
  • Trial in 20 stores, with an eventual rollout to 2,600 convenience stores

So what did VoCoVo do?

When the Co-op approached VoCoVo to introduce a new voice technology in store, we quickly completed a proof of concept across 20 stores. VoCoVo measured the impact of this trial using pedometers and colleague surveys. Co-op had tried headsets from another provider, but chose VoCoVo as we were able to offer a more future-proofed investment. Our solution comprised VoCoVo headsets for each store. This meant that staff could communicate effortlessly, without leaving their position, across the entire team. 

Within a few weeks VoCoVo had installed the 20-store trial, followed three months later by a 100-store phase two trial. The full rollout to a total of 2600 stores commenced just 12 months after our first meeting with Co-op. Working closely with the Co-op, we were able to quickly deliver a solution that perfectly met their needs. The solution was so successful that the initial rollout to 20 stores was increased to 100 stores, then eventually to a further 2,500.

Solutions snapshot:

  • Bespoke standalone system for each store
  • Base unit and up to 3 repeaters provided full store coverage
  • Headset system enabled fast colleague communication, multi-tasking and instore visibility to reduce losses.
  • Colleagues immediately fed back that they felt safer, and were able to communicate much more effectively with their team.
  • Trials indicated improved colleague efficiency, saving wasted time.

And what were the outcomes?

The impact of the VoCoVo voice technology was felt immediately in store. Colleague feedback indicated they felt safer, more connected and found team communication easier. Queue times decreased, and customer queries were dealt with much more quickly. The Co-op data from the proof of concept showed a saving of 3 man hours per store per week. VoCoVo measured the results using worn devices and qualitative feedback. This showed a significant saving on travel time as well as increase in productivity. Colleagues also found it easier to summon managers, find answers and inform security when necessary.

VoCoVo headsets eventually became a part of the team uniform, because their impact was so positive. The eventual rollout to 2,600 stores indicates how pleased the Co-op were with the result.

'VoCoVo supported us in rolling out a new technology that enabled us to meet our current market challenges. Colleagues loved the headsets, which enabled them to better connect to their team, customers and operations. The voice system is now a mandatory part of the uniform across 2,600 stores. We’re very pleased with the positive impact it’s had on our colleagues, security and bottom line.’

Dave Tyas, Retail Change Lead at Co-op

Benefits snapshot:

  • Colleague flexibility and ease of communication improved security
  • Reduction in travel time and improvement in staff productivity
  • Reduction in queue time
  • Improvement in customer service
  • Uplift in colleague satisfaction, due to feeling of connectedness
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