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COVID-19 Contact Centre for the Vulnerable.

Intelligent contact management and IVR handling thousands of calls per hour.

About The Client.

Sainsbury’s are well known for their sense of social responsibility. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the UK into lockdown, that sense of social responsibility did not change.

Sainsbury’s were committed to ensuring that their elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers were given the prioritisation they needed during such uncertain and challenging times.

What the client needed?

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK, Sainsbury’s needed a way of understanding who needed their help. And fast. They needed to ensure that vulnerable customers were prioritised, meaning essential deliveries could get to where they needed to be on time.

For this to work effectively their agents needed to:

  • accurately identify and qualify someone as vulnerable
  • manually record that information
  • use that information to prioritise deliveries

Because the pandemic was escalating rapidly, their contact centre was experiencing unprecedented contact volumes. Sainsbury’s needed a way of optimising this process to ensure the wellbeing of both their agents and their customers.

To put this into context: we’ve been registering about 5000 calls per day manually. So 3,000 per hour is impressive.

Senior Engineering Manager


How we helped.


Contact Centre


Contact Automation

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Agent Efficiency

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Amazon Connect

Over the space of just one weekend we developed an end-to-end intelligent IVR solution using natural language processing and text to speech technology.

We worked collaboratively with Sainsbury’s to design simple user journeys that were easy to follow and respond to. Our smart robotics brought all inbound calls into an automated journey, identifying callers and enabling them to register automatically for priority delivery slots. The solution also included the ability to quickly fail-over to a human agent in the event a caller could not self-serve.

The solution helped Sainsbury’s to:

  • pre qualify callers with intelligent automation
  • reduce agent workload
  • enable agents to speak to those who needed them the most

At the beginning of the pandemic Sainsbury’s had the capacity to register 5,000 vulnerable customers per day.

Our smart automation did the work of 38 agent days, in just 7 days.

Why they chose Mission Labs.

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The COVID-19 crisis was developing fast. From initial brief, to planning, and implementation - we had them up and running in less than a week.

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Setting up an IVR is only half the story. Ensuring the right questions are being asked so that customers can be accurately identified is the other.

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As a large UK FMCG retailer, the client needed a development partner with a strong and proven track record of implementing technology solutions in highly secure environments.


In the incredibly fast-moving retail & ecommerce space, today’s ideas are tomorrow’s norm. The client needed a partner that could build, launch and iterate quickly.

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