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B&Q trials use of avatars for customer DIY queries

Published: 30 August 2016
B&Q is reportedly trialing the use of avatars, controlled in real time by in-customer assistants, to answer customer queries.
B&Q trials use of avatars for customer DIY queries
Named the iB&Q trial, each avatar has an 'i' name matched to their human counterpoints, ie, Megan Peters in B&Q Wallasey controls the avatar 'i-Megan'.

According to Retail Week, the trial is supported by customer assistants from 300 stores. It comes following research from the DIY retail giant, which found that 70% of people were reluctant to seek DIY advice, with 26% preferring to go online than consult a person.

Of that 70%, 17% said they felt they could manage on their own, 29% were too embarrassed to ask and 24% did not want to impose.

B&Q customer and marketing director Richard Sherwood said: "Some customers may be nervous about asking for advice, but help is always at hand at B&Q.

"Whether you're planning a project, buying your tools or materials, or needing a bit of guidance during your home improvement, our colleagues can help you in person, online, and from other new technologies in the near future."


30 August 2016 01:01:00
By bq bob
Oh my God what the hell is my company thinking, is it being run by a bunch of 12 year old s! Half our customers are older and would have no idea what a bloody avatar is, the younger ones have no problem asking for help. Shopfloor staff have been greatly reduced in numbers, yet now have to manage their own aisles, mix paint, cut timber, man the tills, clean up spillages, answer the phones,serve customers, cut rope and chain,serve customers, carry heavy goods to people's cars,fill the shelves, data management of stock, and now they want us to be real time avatars! Where are we meant to get the time from. Staff are so stressed they are becoming ill,but if you have 3 absences in a year you face dismissal. A member of staff in my store collapsed and hit his head at work but couldn't go home or to hospital as he had already had two sick absences and would face disciplinary action. B&Q used to care about its staff now the management just care about their bonuses. In the last 10 years store manager wages have risen from an average 27k to an average 75k I know I was one! Staff get 1% or less a year how is that fare! Our CEO gets a possible 80% bonus on top of salary, shopfloor staff list our 6% bonus as B&Q couldn't afford it anymore! Instead we get a store team bonus based on reaching target no surprise then that they put our target this year up by 15% on last year's sales, we have hit it twice this year earning 60 compared to kingfishers CEO 2,000,000!

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