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As we transform to become a digital first retailer, we’ve launched a savvy automated virtual assistant on the M&S website, which is designed to enhance the customer experience and provide a smooth shopping journey.

We’re one of the first retailers to launch an intelligent automated webchat adviser that uniquely interacts with customers, quickly and seamlessly answering common queries throughout our website. What’s more, it means our customer service advisors can spend more time helping customers who require complex or comprehensive support.

Since it launched, we've supported over a quarter of a million customers through the virtual assistant, which is available 24 hours per day for 365 days each year. We’ve recently extended the virtual assistant to 11 different points along the shopping journey where we know customers typically require help, such as entering promo codes and the Sparks account page.

And it’s great to see the results! We’ve seen a fantastic response from customers, with almost 70% of all users receiving the information they need from the virtual assistant alone. If the virtual assistant is unable to help, it’ll seamlessly transfer customers to a live advisor for further support.

But it’s not just customers who are fans of our virtual assistant. Last week, we were delighted to win two awards at the European Contact Centre & Customer Service Awards – a silver prize for Most Effective Self-Service Initiative and a bronze for Best Implementation of AI in Customer Service. This is an exciting win for us, with the European Contact Centre & Customer Service Awards (ECCCSAs) being most established in the industry. With entries from over 19 countries, the ECCCSAs recognise organisations from across Europe that are leading the way in delivering exceptional service to customers in an innovative way.

The awards took place at the spectacular Evolution venue in Battersea Park, London, on Tuesday 27 November 2018. Over 1,200 guests were entertained with amazing acts from around the world before winners were announced by Fiona Bruce, with support from the world’s greatest living explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE.

Read more about our virtual assistant tool on DigiDay