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July 13, 2017

EE expands retail footprint with Sainsbury’s deal

EE to provide 4G connectivity to 95% of UK population.

By Parisa Qurban

EE has announced today that it is launching a personal service partnership with Sainsbury’s.

The expansion into the retail industry will include adding 100 stores around the country, whilst providing 400 new jobs in customer service towards the end of 2019.

In an aim to enhance its customer’s service, EE is ready to expand its reach to provide 700 stores altogether across the country. This includes a target of providing 4G coverage and faster connectivity speeds for 95% of the UK population by 2020.

EE is set to provide 4G technology within major UK cities including Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh within the next 12 months.

edge computingThe recent move comes as means to invest in providing a more personalised customer experience, whilst improving online chat platforms, and increasing mobile connectivity.

The overall expansion includes goals to invest in providing services to customers in remote areas of the UK. This includes EE stores providing Help Hubs, pop up shops, cabins and mobile vans which are all forecasted to be within a 20 minute drive in different regions.

In a further attempt to succeed in providing a greater ratio of personalised customer services, EE are allowing customers to test services and products from different brands.

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Google Home, Apple Watch, and Samsung VR headsets are among the products which shall be available to test in new experimental zones created by EE.

Key features of experimenting with new technology trials to benefit customer experiences will include in-store video calling services, providing immediate access to customer service specialist teams.

“The link-up with Sainsbury’s is a shrewd move as it will quickly and inexpensively bolster EE’s high-street presence. In particular, it should address growing demand for repair and technical support as customer enquiries become increasingly sophisticated” said Kester Mann, Principal Analyst of Operators, at CCS Insight,

“Offering better customer service is a hot topic among network operators, which appear to have finally woken up to the need to address their lamentable reputation in this area. EE has not been immune to some of these challenges having twice been fined by Ofcom over the past two years. However, recent initiatives including on-shoring all service roles to the UK and Ireland have helped it turn performance around.

“The move to focus more on face-to-face engagement is refreshing given that launching virtual assistants and chatbots is currently in vogue among network operators.

“Although the retail expansion is solely focussed on EE services, a greater effort to cross-sell BT products in the future appears likely. This would build on an on-going trial in 20 EE shops.”

As the part of the developments and refurbishments set to go ahead,  the expected date for the first stores to open are in July, whilst stores experience another additional re-opening in August.  The locations first on list to have openings include London’s Tottenham Court Road, Westfield Stratford and White City, and Nottingham Victoria.

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