Countdown NZ

How Countdown are using bots to communicate with frontline workers and increase engagement on Workplace
Project Objective:

Improve processes

Client:

Countdown, NZ

Project Completion:

June, 2020

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Improving company-wide comms and information delivery

Countdown, a full-service supermarket chain located in New Zealand, has grown to 180+ stores since 1981. Across those 180 locations, thousands of Countdown’s frontline workers operate on the ground level and perform the work necessary to keep their stores open every day.

In the recent wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Countdown and millions of businesses alike have had to quickly pivot to follow the necessary public health guidelines to operate safely for their customers and staff. Using Workplace and The Bot Platform, Countdown was able to connect and quickly engage with frontline staff to keep their essential business safe and operational.

The challenge

Since COVID-19 struck, grocery stores and food retailers have had to quickly respond to the uptick in demand and unforeseen challenges in the entire ecosystem. For Dominika White, Internal Communications Advisor at Countdown, the first challenge they were trying to solve was improving information delivery and finding out how people were feeling. With new changes popping up every day and a seemingly endless lockdown, it was important for Countdown to effectively communicate and check-in with frontline staff to see how things were going.

To achieve this, Countdown was looking for a self-serve platform that would enable them to build their own fully automated bots. For Dominika, someone who wouldn’t have considered herself a technical person, The Bot Platform ended up being the easy-to-use automation platform she was looking for.

We’re always looking for something new or exciting to capture people’s attention and increase engagement on Workplace. With The Bot Platform, it was huge that we could form relationships with our team when we couldn’t physically be there.
Dominika White
Internal Communications Advisor

The solutions

With different lockdown levels across New Zealand, Countdown needed to constantly send information to every store, every day. Their workers needed to know changes they needed to implement along with any major announcements like company news or COVID-19/quarantine updates.

Their previous methods of sharing information to frontline staff involved sending an email to supervisors and asking them to print a copy for the breakroom. Without a way to ensure the information had been effectively delivered, read and understood Dominika and her team sat down to build their very first bot, Pickle.

With different lockdown levels across New Zealand, Countdown needed to constantly send information to every store, every day. Their workers needed to know changes they needed to implement along with any major announcements like company news or COVID-19/quarantine updates.

Their previous methods of sharing information to frontline staff involved sending an email to supervisors and asking them to print a copy for the breakroom. Without a way to ensure the information had been effectively delivered, read and understood Dominika and her team sat down to build their very first bot, Pickle.

Using Pickle, Countdown is able to broadcast important company news, information, or updates on COVID-19 and the quarantine situation. Pickle’s broadcast function was also used to quickly get answers from frontline staff, right within Workplace Chat. By asking essential workers questions on how they were dealing with new ways of working, Pickle was able to gather feedback, monitor morale and flag staff who may be in need of help.

Since Countdown staff mostly use Workplace on their mobile devices through Chat, certain functions like searching for content outside of Chat have been confusing. But with Pickle, frontline staff could easily start using it as an alternative method to quickly find the information they need. By pointing people to the right places for different types of resources, Countdown has been able to remove barriers to important information and ensure their staff feel supported and can access information when they need it most.

Alongside Pickle, Countdown took advantage of our Star Wars Quiz template to add a bit of fun and entertainment to their Workplace instance. For Dominika, things like the Star Wars Quiz shows her team that there is always something relevant on Workplace – it can go beyond being a vault of information and instead help build company culture and connect staff with like-minded colleagues around non-work related topics and interests.

Fun, engaging activities, like the Star Wars Quiz, give Countdown staff a reason to go onto Workplace and has helped improve Workplace usage and engagement. Staff who completed the quiz could share their scores on Workplace, creating an engagement loop that drove usage and conversation. By having a balance of important information and light-hearted activities, Countdown are able to continue morale boosting activities during times of isolation and social distancing.

Business impact

With the majority of Countdown Workplace users having no email access, there were restrictions on how quickly and effectively information was shared. By replacing their previous methods with Pickle, Dominika and the Countdown team were able to develop relationships with those team members and support staff when they couldn’t be there in person. With over 100k+ messages sent through the bot and a 30% response rate, Pickle enabled Countdown staff have a voice and communicate their needs from the frontline to the HQ.

The Bot Platform has been amazing. It feels intuitive. The navigation mode is super helpful and I haven’t gotten myself in a tangle. With coding, you can easily make a mess. With The Bot Platform, it is quite easy to seamlessly move into different messages
Dominika White
Internal Communications Advisor

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