Halfords Steers Forward with Frictionless, Value-Based Service Delivery

Halfords is the U.K.’s leading retailer of motoring, cycling, and leisure products and services.

The results

  • Reduced contact center operating costs by 30% in FY22 and by 20% in FY23, with a further 30% cost reduction anticipated in FY24.

  • Lowered contact center workload by 20%.

  • Increased use of chatbot online and via social channels to address over 50% of simple enquiries without the need for a live chat agent.

About Halfords

Halfords is the U.K.’s leading retailer of motoring, cycling, and leisure products and services. Through Halfords Autocentres, Fleet Services, and Mobile Experts, it is also the country’s leading independent operator in vehicle servicing, maintenance, and repairs for domestic and trade consumers.


The retailer was facing the following challenges:

  • COVID-19: Halfords stayed open as an ”essential business” during the pandemic-related lockdown. During this time, contacts rose by 700 percent overnight, to more than 240,000 contacts per month. This resulted in even longer waiting times, call handling delays, a frustrating consumer experience, and loss of revenue. As a short-term fix, an outsourced team was mobilized to answer calls, which rapidly scaled within six months. This resulted in 97 percent of calls being answered within 20 seconds.
  • Centralizing store contact: During the pandemic, Halfords centralized contacts to its approximately 400 stores, utilizing the outsource partner, with the aim of answering over 95 percent of the 9 million calls made to stores every year and capturing data on call drivers. By logging every interaction, Halfords could better understand customer needs, which was valuable insight previously not accounted for in the in-store customer journeys.
  • Channel mix: The centralization of store contact saw the contact center channel mix move from 37 percent voice to approximately 85 percent voice, with self-serve opportunities being minimal.

“Our goal is to inspire customers with a differentiated and super-specialist offer,” says Katie Smith, Interim Group Contact Centre Lead at Halfords. “It was a question of creating value-focused service delivery: identifying where people and self-service can work hand –in hand for frictionless service delivery. By reorganizing customer insights, we can support consumers with an integrated, unique, and more convenient services offer.”

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Guide consumers to rewarding, agile, and efficient digital channels with Verint Knowledge Management

Verint is the foundation of a transformative program at Halfords aimed at creating greater value from the contact center environment. Specifically, the leading retailer is using Verint Knowledge Management to guide willing consumers away from the phone to rewarding, agile, and efficient digital channels.

The innovations include:

  • Using consistent, consolidated data and insights, Halfords delivers accurate information in an instant through the consumer’s channel of choice.
  • Halfords deployed a ”value irritant” model, which identifies the value of individual interactions. For example, someone calling for advice on buying a £3,000 electric bike offers a potentially higher value sales opportunity than someone calling to ask which oil to put in their car. Low-grade inquiries are shifting to an automated self-service environment. “We have a clear view of channel strategy to help customers in the best way based on ‘journeys’ and ‘intents,’” explains Smith.
  • The retailer created a ”Transformation and Change” team to spearhead and govern its contact center investment and collaborate with other stakeholders. In turn, this has enabled teams across the contact center and stores to tactically fix broken end-to-end journeys, resulting in a number of quick wins. Moreover, the team has reorganized and democratized insights to drive Halfords’ digital self-service agenda. This includes the team leading the retailer’s weekly commercial review, with customer insights at the forefront of understanding business performance and the customer experience.
  • Greater promotion and prompting of consumers to engage with Halfords via the web and social channels, making chatbot and live chat the channel of choice.
Delivery man holding a box at a yellow door

Verint Knowledge Management increases efficiency

Verint Knowledge Management has enabled Halfords to deliver frictionless, multichannel digital service, which is not only increasing efficiency, but also helping the retailer to acquire and retain more customers.

  • Reduced contact center workload: Halfords reduced contact center workload by 20 percent through identifying and addressing its top 10 contact drivers, and fixing broken processes–work that is ongoing.
  • Adjusted channel mix: Halfords moved from an 85 percent voice mix at the start of their last financial year, to approximately 67 percent by the end of the financial year, with digital (self-serve & assisted) interactions doubling in the mix by year-end.
  • Elevated self-service: With 85 percent of customer inquiries currently addressed by voice, Halfords aims to have 50 percent of inquiries completed via self-service by the end of the current financial year.
  • Increased use of social channels: Halfords prompts customers to engage through social channels and online via chatbot. As a result, the chatbot now answers over 50 percent of simple inquiries without the need to transfer to a live chat agent.
  • Reduced costs: Halfords reduced contact center operating costs by 40 percent in the financial year ending 2022, and a further 20 percent in the last financial year. Furthermore, it anticipates another 30 percent cost reduction the current financial year.
  • Supports drive to become trusted source of motoring and cycling information: Using an innovative digital strategy supported by Verint Knowledge Management, Halfords seeks to become the authoritative lead on motoring/cycling services and information. When consumers have inquiries about tires, batteries, and other issues, Halfords digital channels are a primary source of trusted information.

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