Ideal Shopping Direct

Taking the Pressure off Ideal's Contact Centre Operation with Customer Self-Service

Ideal World is incredibly passionate about delivering a dynamic and entertaining shopping experience via their multi-channel approach to TV and Web retailing. Ideal Shopping Direct is a vibrant company, selling a range of general merchandise; everything from products for the home and garden, to kitchen and technology goods, through to health and beauty and craft buys.

Their two busy contact centres are outsourced and located in Mumbai and Manilla and usually have 50 permanent agents. Ideal World first approached Eckoh in 2005 when they wanted to improve the telephone ordering process to make it easier for the two million shoppers ordering from their TV channel and website. In times of high demand, Ideal wanted to ensure their contact centre didn’t lose sales owing to long call waiting times.

Eckoh introduced an effective IVR to take customer orders quickly and easily, and a Virtual Automatic Call Distribution (VACD) system to overflow and queue calls into the IVR and between the two contact centres at peak times.

Over the years we have added a range of efficiency improving services, most recently including automated identification, and new live chat and social media tools.


Owing to the nature of their business, Ideal World would generally experience hugh peaks in their call volumes depending on the popularity of the items sold on the TV and web.

To manage these peaks and handle customer orders promptly, Ideal wanted effective and customer friendly ways to automate, route and manage this process.

As online channels of engagement have increased in popularity with their customers, Ideal knew that it was vital to engage with customers using online channels to remain competitive.

Ideal World needed to:

  • control how calls were distributed evenly to their two remote contact centres and IVR.
  • identify and verify repeat customers quickly, securely and more effectively
  • explore online channels such as web chat and social media to engage and manage customer communications.


Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Orderline and Customer Service Line

The service provides inbound telephony including advanced speech recognition and interactive voice response (IVR. This simplifies the product ordering process and improves customer service.

The service is fully integrated with Ideal’s database ensuring that up-to-date information on products, stock levels and membership details are available. When 100% of agents are busy, all calls switch to the automated scalable service.

The Customer Service line identifies and verifies customers and gives them personalised options based on their order/purchase history, such as product tracking and delivery information, and tracking a refund.

Virtual Automatic Call Distribution (VACD)

Eckoh provides a system that gives Ideal the ability to overflow and queue calls between the two contact centres and overflow to the Eckoh IVR when all agents are on calls and unavailable. The UK customer services team can monitor progress through a real-time wallboard.

Live Web Help

As well as inbound telephone calls, Eckoh has provided a solution for agents to engage with customers through Live Chat and through Social Media. This will deflect calls from the contact centre when semi-complex enquiries can be handled online.


Together, Eckoh’s Customer Orderline and Serviceline take over 1.5 million calls per year, enabling customers to fulfil their orders and requests without speaking to a live agent.

Eckoh’s VACD system provides an even call distribution over Ideal’s two contact centres and IVR. All contact centres and agents are properly utilised and at peak call times, calls overflow to the IVR. Crucially, no sales are lost. Callers are routed correctly and answered quickly.

Eckoh’s automated identification and verification IVR has reduced agent handling time by an incredible 1.4 minutes per customer. This is significantly cheaper to operate per minute than a human agent, and has saved Ideal World considerable time and money. As a result, agents can now spend more time securing sales through outbound calls e.g. offering customers alternatives for out-of-stock items, and extended warranties on certain products.

In addition, existing customers now benefit from a more personalised and quicker caller experience. Automated responses are tailored to their past purchase history meaning the system can predict their reason for calling. Owing to the accuracy of this system, customer call length is vastly reduced.

Customer service is a vital part of our strategy whilst maintaining operational efficiency and Eckoh have a crucial role to play in helping us to fulfil this. We are extremely pleased with the services that have been delivered and we're thrilled to to be working with Eckoh to extend the automated services for our customers."
David Peck, Head of Customer Service at Ideal Shopping