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A 10 year partnership with ASDA


Maintain service excellence with a strong focus on quality and people

Millions of customers buy their groceries and products from every week in the UK. Part of the Walmart family, ASDA earnings make up 31% of the group’s income which serves 18 million weekly shoppers across the globe. In the UK, ASDA continues to differentiate itself in a fiercely competitive market by retaining its position as the lowest cost-to-operate supermarket.

ASDA employs over 170 000 dedicated colleagues across more than 370 stores, 23 depots and 8 recycling centres. Offering a multi-channel customer experience, the retailer sells groceries, clothing and over one million products online through and With more than 1100 vans and four dedicated home shopping centres, ASDA Grocery Home Shopping and their clothing and home channel, George Online continue to be the retailers’ fastest growing business areas.

To support its mission of being Britain’s best value retailer, ASDA needed a specialist outsource partner that could deliver against its goals of service excellence and cost savings – through a full-service, multi-channel contact centre solution that puts its people first. This was the start of our 10-year long partnership.

A long term partnership that supports growth, drives efficiencies and saves costs​

ASDA believes in putting the customer at the heart of everything it does: from the way it treats its colleagues, trades with suppliers and serves its customers. To continue to differentiate itself in a competitive market, ASDA remains focused on maintaining the lowest prices while delivering a quality customer experience.

With steady growth in online shopping of around 30% a year, ASDA needed to expand its service offering to support its multi-channel Grocery Home Shopping and George Online businesses. The integrated contact centre solution would need to grow with the business, and reflect the culture, values and identity of ASDA through its environment and people.

To manage seasonal volume demands of more than 50% from October to January each year, Merchants’ sustainable and scalable business model would have to meet ASDA’s cost saving objectives and match its service culture and people strategy. This meant ensuring a clear focus on creating opportunities for business and process improvement, with targeted recruitment drives and effective training and development programmes to provide real career growth for its people.


A people first environment

ASDA’s ability to put its customers first every day is founded on its culture of putting its people first. These values are echoed throughout Merchants’ contact centre environment which plays an important role in delivering an outstanding customer experience.

ASDA’s belief that its people make the difference means it is focused on recruiting for attitude and training for skill. Active coaching, mentoring and performance development enables people to grow their skills within the business, while Merchants’ Future Leaders programme creates opportunities for progression into senior and specialist skill positions across the operation.

An expanded, integrated range of services

ASDA’s partnership with Merchants is one that supports its strategic growth objectives through a full service contact centre solution that manages ASDA’s multi-channel Grocery Home Shopping, and George Online businesses.

Over the past 10 years, the operation has grown to 650 full time people and provides voice, email, outbound service and sales services across its frontline, store support and back-office teams. Merchants continues to offer an end-to-end contact centre solution that is integrated with ASDA’s UK-based operations and includes IT, telephony, reporting and workforce management functionality. To support ongoing business and operational improvement, Merchants provides insights into how to reduce the contact rate, lower costs and improve the overall customer experience, while helping to drive first call resolution rates to improve business and customer satisfaction scores.

By offering additional support when required for mobile or outbound sales, Merchants delivers greater business flexibility, while also building relationships across all stores through dedicated support functions.

50% peak volume ramp up each year, cost savings

With an estimated annual growth of 30% in ASDA’s multi-channel business, the retailer needs to manage overall volumes while optimising costs. For Merchants, this means proactively managing ASDA’s seasonal ramp up by around 50% during peak times between October and January each year.

A close working relationship and collaborative approach is essential to intelligent planning, and Merchants is focused on adding value by reducing costs and driving process improvements to lower overall contact rates.

Through its shared vision, Merchants‘ facilities, people and leadership programmes offer an established support structure that manages cost pressures, without impacting the customer or staff experience. Seasonal ramp ups are effectively managed through Merchants’ targeted recruitment and training programmes, while its Future Leaders programme continues to provide opportunities for sustainable career growth within the business.


Better management insight

Merchants provides meaningful information and insights to ASDA, which is built on a strong customer focus and shared foundation of open communication and transparency. Ongoing quality analysis and reporting insights ensure continual improvement to the customer journey, and help to influence change within the wider business. End-to-end workforce planning and optimisation ensure resources are available when needed, and tailored training programmes develop skills which improve the customer experience.

32 -40 % Cost savings, added value services

As well as reducing operating costs by 32-40% each year, Merchants delivers added value through its consulting, infrastructure and technology expertise. Its ability to support ASDA’s growth through greater flexibility has been pivotal to the success of its 10-year partnership with Merchants.

Seasonal ramp up, consistent NPS and quality service

Merchants’ targeted recruitment and training programmes manage seasonal ramp ups in volume, by sourcing and developing people through sustainable job creation. Its Future Leaders programme continues to grow leaders from within the business to meet growth and skilled resource requirements.

Merchants’ quality framework is aligned with ASDA’s focus on quality performance, and is built on a shared strategic focus on growth and strong service level performance. The integrated contact centre structure is supported by established systems, policies and procedures which continue to have a positive impact on the customer experience.

Services overview

  • Customer interactive solutions
  • Data centre and storage solutions
  • Recruitment and training

Merchants delivers added value through its consulting, infrastructure and technology expertise. Its ability to support ASDA’s growth through greater flexibility has been pivotal to the success of its 10-year partnership with Merchants.

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