■ Improve communication
We've been able to introduce intercoms in our furniture department and stores, where we didn't previously have them. We used to use PHS to communicate individually, and it took a long time to share the information we wanted to inform all of our employees, but with Buddycom, we can now easily communicate with them.
Also, if I have trouble hearing the content of a call, I can use the recording and playback function of the chat room to check the content. This is one of the features I use very conveniently.
■ Expanding the scope of communication
In the home improvement department, you may need to contact an in-store employee when you're out and about or when you're delivering an item to a customer's home.
In this case, it is very convenient for them to be able to get in touch with the employees and ask them directly about what is going on in the store and receive various inquiries.
■ Reducing the burden on employees
FMC technology was used to convert the PHS extension line to an extension line and the intercom (Buddycom) to a smartphone, successfully reducing the amount of equipment needed to carry around.
Now that we only have one smartphone, the workload on our employees has been greatly reduced.
The system is simple and easy to use, and can be operated quickly with a single smartphone. In the past, employees used to carry a lot of PHS and intercom devices, which meant they had to carry a lot of luggage and work on their feet all day, which put a heavy burden on them, but now it's a lot less of a burden.
Newly hired employees are taught how to use the equipment by younger employees in the stores. We have employees of all ages and genders, so one of the appealing features of Buddycom is its ease of use, which makes it easy to teach any employee how to use.
There are about 3,500 Buddycom accounts, and it's very easy to manage all the Buddycom accounts used in all the stores in one management console.
Buddycom's management console is also developed for large scale operations and supports CSV user & group additions and changes. If an employee moves on, we use RPA to make changes to their account information, which is very easy to manage and operate.
We use it to call up employees when dealing with customers and to inquire about products.
If you don't know where the product is, or do you have this kind of item for the customer? I use this service when I have an inquiry about.
When the cash registers are busy, I call the employees around me for assistance, or when a customer asks me about an item I don't know, I contact the person in charge of the department so that I can guide the customer smoothly.
For example, if a person in charge of the interior design department is asked about a product on the horticulture floor that he doesn't know about, we use Buddycom to keep in touch with other employees so that we can guide him smoothly to the customer.
We're also looking at making it happen with Buddycom for customers to call their employees.
Right now, we have call buttons in the store, and when a customer presses one of those buttons, an employee call-out sound is played over the building's public address system. We're considering replacing it with a smartphone and Buddycom.
We're still in the experimental stage, but if this is successful, we'll be able to consolidate all of our store equipment on smartphones, which will lead to cost savings.
With Buddycom, we can analyze call data and other data, so we can improve customer service by analyzing which sales floors are most frequently called up and at which times of day.
Masato IzumiSHIMACHU CO., LTD.
IChief of System Development Section, Information System Reform Department
Tetsuro FukushiHome Depot Chief.
Erika OkadaFurniture Sales Representative