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Transforming the In-branch Customer Experience at the Post Office

The Post Office is the UK‘s largest retail network and the largest financial services chain in the country with more branches than all of the UK’s banks and building societies put together. It also has growing direct channels such as contact centers and online services.

Today the Post Office can boast over 370 years of service, providing more than 170 products and services across 11,500 branches nationwide, with over 17 million customer
visits and 47 million transactions a week encompassing mail and retail, financial services, government services and telecoms.

Offering vital services to customers around the UK

There are around 260 directly managed branches, run by the Post Office. The remaining branches are managed on an agency basis either by sub-postmasters or partners including Tesco and WHSmith. As a commercial business with a public purpose, the Post Office can be found within three miles of 99.7% of the population, providing key services at the heart of communities and providing social value estimated at £2.3 billion.

“With a stable network, investment, modernization and a drive to improve convenience and service for the customer, the Post Office is moving forward. We are now a growth business building on our core asset of a nationwide network of branches, run by local, trusted people, together with enhancing our online and direct channels.”

James Scutt, Head of Customer Experience, Strategy and Deployment, Post Office

"Qmatic is critical in driving that revolution in-branch"

“But the Post Office is now more than it ever was – an independent multi-channel business, with a vibrant, fast-growing financial services business, separated from Royal Mail and embarking on a new era of growth, modernization and customer excellence in serving the UK population," stated Scutt, and continues, “The Post Office is also increasing its digital capability, ensuring its customers can access its products and services online, while also introducing world-leading technology to support customer journeys in branch." "The Post Office is a key player in the drive to digital, providing physical check steps such as identity verification, which are so crucial to ensuring the UK seizes the opportunities of the digital revolution. Our relationship with Qmatic is critical in driving that revolution in-branch,” added Scutt. 

The Post Office has continuously sought ways to improve the customer’s branch experience through innovation, and for much of that time it has relied on its strong business relationship with Qmatic.

“As a business we recognize the challenges we face and we know that the path ahead will not always be smooth. We are operating in a tough financial climate and with challenges on the high street. But we have the confidence in our business, its unique role, and its strengths, to know that we can deliver business transformation from our branch network up to our online presence,” stated Scutt.

The directly managed Post Office branches are among the largest in the UK network of 11,500, with some of the highest levels of footfall.

For over a decade, customers of the Post Office have become used to call forward queuing technology, comprising of one main queue irrespective of what service of product was required, only to be called forward and assigned a customer service desk.
With over 170 service and product lines now available, some straight forward transactions, others highly complex and requiring specialist assistance, the Post Office decided to transform and re-think the existing customer journey by focusing on consolidation of services, removing physical barriers and creating a clear and easy to use environment.

After all, there are today no high street retailers offering everything from money exchange and transfer, mortgages, and life insurance, through to mail and a range of government services.

Such complexity meant that the customer journey could be lengthy, while the counter staff themselves had to be skilled across a wide range of disciplines.

Solution - Qmatic Orchestra platform

The Post Office is also transforming its physical appearance, upgrading its in-store offering to enhance its retail offerings, whilst making the actual process of waiting more comfortable and relaxed for the customer.

Qmatic has implemented several internet-connected kiosks for a dedicated self-service area, as well as tablets for front of house staff, and multiple digital displays and media screens to keep customers informed of their place in the queue.

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The whole system runs on Qmatic‘s Orchestra platform, a robust customer journey management solution, enabling the Post Office to better manage the customer experience once they arrive at one of the key 37 directly managed branches which have already rolled out the solution.

Streamlining the Customer Journey 

"Everything is much easier and faster for the employees. In principle, everyone can process everything. If, for example, the preliminary Counselling area becomes crowded, then the student advisors in the back office can help out. So we can expand into our offices and process the concerns of our clientele faster. The new system is also simpler technically: previously there were two systems which were linked - now everything is from a single source,“ according to the feedback from Dr. Jochen O. Ley, Head of Counselling and Information Services.

Walk-ins now receive a paper ticket with their unique reference and service needs which means that for the first time they will be matched with a member of staff that has the innate knowledge and skills set to answer their requirements.

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All the information about their waiting time is now clearly displayed on the big screens, and automatic voice announcements that let them know when it is their turn. Given that the customer journey now no longer involves standing in-line waiting to be called forward, customers are free for the first time to either relax in the new look branch or take advantage of the new retail space that has been created to browse for products.

But Qmatic also enables the Post Office to understand their customers’ journeys in-branch, as well as gain an insight into what services are being sought at what time of the year, month or even day. It also ensures that resources are centrally managed, including digital display information and workforce administration via skills-based routing, to ensure the right staff are available to serve at the right time.

“The Qmatic team works well with the Post Office helping to initiate innovative, new ideas that help us improve our product and service offerings in-branch. The team is exceptionally cooperative and easy to work with helping to ensure our customers benefit from reduced waiting times,” stated Scutt. 

“Around 18 million customers, including a third of all small businesses, visit us every week. More than 1,000 of our branches have been transformed over the past 18 months, with customer satisfaction with the new models at 96% and Qmatic lies at the heart of our direct branch network, transforming the customer experience.”

James Scutt, Head of Customer Experience, Strategy and Deployment, Post Office

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