Vodafone will today be opening 65 of its stores to welcome customers who want face-to-face service back on the high street – with major changes to ensure everyone stays safe. These openings follow the four stores we opened in Northern Ireland last week.
A further 300 stores will be opening in the coming weeks, although some inner London stores will remain closed to avoid colleagues having to take public transport to get to work. For those customers who can’t or don’t want to visit a store, 700 Vodafone retail colleagues will remain at home providing support over the phone and via chatbots. Customers can use Vodafone’s extensive self-service support on the My Vodafone app.
Customers visiting our stores will be greeted by our new ‘concierge’, who will identify any key workers so they can get the help they need in a timely fashion.
We have been keen to do everything we can to make sure our colleagues are happy with the arrangements for bringing them back to stores, so we have been working closely with them to develop the plans and listening to their feedback. They told us in our employee survey that they are very supportive of the measures we are putting in place.
To ensure our colleagues and customers remain safe, we are opening stores with these major changes:
- Our new concierge role will help customers and identify key workers that may need to be seen sooner than other customers
- Stores will be cleaned using Citrox Protect which creates a barrier to the virus
- Stores have been re-organised to ensure social distancing
- No devices will be on display
- Retail colleagues will be given their own ‘station’ to be used ONLY by them
- Retail colleagues will be on a rota so they are always with the same colleagues
- Retail colleagues will be given their own stylus so they can help customers without having to touch their phones
- Alcohol-based hand gel will be placed at all entry points to the store
- Full PPE available for all colleagues (full face visor, face masks, gloves)
- Stores will only be taking contactless and card payments
We are discouraging our colleagues from using public transport, and we’re not opening stores where public transport is the main means of getting to work at this stage. And of course, anyone who is vulnerable will be able to continue working from home, serving those customers who want to access our online and phone support services.
Max Taylor, Consumer Director, Vodafone UK said: “Keeping our customers and retail colleagues safe is our number one priority. This is why we have put in weeks of planning, taking time to talk to people returning to store and listening to feedback so everyone feels comfortable and has confidence in the measures we have put in place. We’ve seen in other countries, such as Italy and Spain, that some customers prefer to go in store rather than call us or chat online and we are keen to meet this need. Our phased approach means we can offer a personalised, local service and start to re-boot the high street, while at the same time not forgetting those who still want to be helped from home.
“I’d like to say a personal thank you to all our colleagues who have shown resilience and adaptability in the face of huge change.”
We closed our 412 stores at the beginning of lockdown and quickly re-deployed store colleagues to work from home to serve customers. Phone lines were diverted to managers’ phones and everyone was trained on webchat within a week. The training to equip people with the skills they need to meet the changing demands of the business has continued – colleagues returning have completed 13 modules covering operations, behaviours and wellbeing. Everyone returning to store will have completed five hours of additional training before they come back.
Our employee and customer safety is of course the top priority and Vodafone will keep a close eye on the situation and amend store operations where necessary.
To find if you’re local store is open please visit: https://vodafone.co.uk/storelocator