Harvey Norman Customer Assist – Full Case Study

with No Comments

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Purpose of Customer Assist
  3. Maintenance
  4. Returns Process
  5. Customer Communication
  6. Task list
  7. Reporting and Dashboard
  8. User Feedback


In 2014 Exclr8 was tasked by Harvey Norman to develop a bespoke, cloud based system which would be used to manage customer purchase returns. With 14 stores across the island of Ireland and 300 stores worldwide, Harvey Norman is a leading retailer of furniture, bedding, electrical and computers. Each store has over 700,000 square feet Of retail showrooms and boast a massive range of goods for any home.

Harvey Norman required the solution to support the following requirements:  have different access levels for different user types  enable a central help desk team to view, track and interact with returns  support customer service agents at store level  meet the different needs of each Merchant

Department  track actions, costs and communications in a central cloud based location  be scalable in terms of user and transactions  be able to generate roll-up reports for top management

The system had to address three core business needs:

  • One central point Of truth to eliminate customer frustration due to misinformation The ability to recoup hidden repair costs from suppliers. (ie redelivery charges, parts, call-outs, postage) by tracking costs, products and support substantiating materials such as photographs
  • Provide standardized service and continuity by ensuring all cases are followed up on, and that all promises of communication with customers are fulfilled even when staff handling the case is out of the business.

The system, named Customer Assist, was developed over a number of development sprints. Harvey Norman provided a product owner who managed the project, prioritization and content of each sprint phase and interacted with the development team located in Cape Town on a regular basis. Once development was complete the system was deployed in Ireland. It is today successfully used in various stores and in a central call centre.

There are currently 100 users within the system, logging approximately 80 returns per day. User feedback includes comments like “Morale has never been higher…” and “We’re not scared to answer the phones anymore!

The following provides an overview and outlines the key functionalities of Customer Assist:

Purpose of Customer Assist

High level features include:

  • Importing of external point of sales feed (POS) into Customer Assist.
  • Creation and management of cases.
  • Facilitation of the life cycle of each case, from creation to the final courtesy call.
  • Automated decision making and task allocation to customer service agents
  • Facilitation and tracking of all communication between the users and the customer. Management of various aspects of the case, such as notes, promise reminders, repairs, on-site visits, 3rd party repairs, costs, and reimbursements. storing of documents and photographs for each case  integration with Exchange Server to automate interaction with customers  Management of credit claims
  • Provides reporting and graphical KPl’s


Customer Assist allows for the maintenance of various aspects within the system. These include:

Image I: Maintenance Menu

Accessories, Fault Types, Repair Types, Warranty Types

These are lists which are used during the creation of a case. They can be maintained from within the maintenance menu.

Stores and departments

Stores and departments within those stores can be created and maintained (image 2). Specific users can be allocated to departments within stores, and specific users are also designated as managers of departments (image 3).







Customer Assist maintains a detailed catalogue of products using Point of Sales (POS) data. Details include: Model, Product Code, Description, Brand, Department Code, Group, Category, and Class details. This collection of products are automatically maintained during the import of the POS feed which happens daily. In this way, cases which are created within the system are associated with a specific product, and this allows for reporting to be done against specific products.

In addition to this, users are able to configure rules for specific brands. When a case is created for a brand, then the rules will be visible during the evaluation phase (image 4).

Repair Agents

Find, create and maintain details about repair agents within the system (Image 5). These repair agents can be assigned for repair during the evaluation phase of the case lifecycle.

Returns Process

The primary purpose of Customer Assist is to facilitate and track the return of faulty items which have been purchased from one of the Harvey Norman stores. This process has been mapped out within the CloudCore process designer (Image 6).


High level overview of the case life cycle

A case can be created in one of two ways. Firstly, a customer service agent (CSA) can create the case from within Customer Assist by searching for an existing POS entry or by manually creating a POS entry. Alternatively a case can be logged by the customer from the Harvey Norman public website.

Once the case is created, then the case needs to be evaluated and the appropriate course of action must be recommended by the CSA.

The recommended actions can be:

  • Send away for repair: The item is in the shop and must be sent away for repair to one of the registered service providers. The collection and return of the item will be tracked within the system. Once the item is returned, the item will be tested and another recommendation will be made based on the outcome of the repair.
  • On-site visit: The item is located at the customer’s home, and an on-site inspection must be arranged. Once the inspection has been done, then another recommendation will be made based on the inspection.
  • 3rd party repair: The repair of the item will be handled by a 3 rd party repairer regardless of where the item is located. The feedback of the repair is captured and another recommendation is made based on the feedback.
  • Reimburse customer: The customer should be reimbursed and a credit claim must be raised.
  • Item has been repaired: The item has been repaired successfully. The customer must be notified, and collection should be arranged if the item is not in the store.
  • Item cannot be repaired: The item cannot be repaired and must be collected by the customer.

Once it has been identified that the item has been repaired or cannot be repaired, then the case will be completed, and a courtesy call will be scheduled for a future date before the case is closed.

Case Creation

The case is created by a customer service agent. The agent begins by searching for a POS entry (Image 7) which has been imported into Customer Assist. If the POS entry does not exist, then the agent also has the option to manually create the POS entry.


Once the case has been created, an email will be sent to the customer if an email address has been specified (Image 8). This email will contain a unique reference number for the case, which can be used in all subsequent communication.

If the purchased item is out of warranty and it is a computer related product, then the system will send an email to the customer informing them that the item is out of warranty and a potential fee will apply.

From within the system, the user will be redirected to the appropriate page once the case has been created.

Case Evaluation

An initial recommendation is made by the CSA from the Case Evaluation screen (Image 9). Once the case has been created, an evaluation needs to be made in order to determine the best course of action for the specific case.

From this screen, the CSA can also print the repair docket (Image 10) and the case labels.

Awaiting Collection

If the item is in the store, and must be sent away to a repairer. Then the status of the item will move to “Awaiting Repair Collection”. The collection details are captured on the repair collection page (Image 11).

Repair Agent Return

Once the item has been collected, then the status of the case moves to “Awaiting Return From Repair Agent”. The feedback from the repairer is captured on the repair agent feedback screen (Image 12). Based on this feedback, the agent can then make an appropriate recommended action.

On-Site Visit

If the item is not located in the store, an on-site visit can be scheduled by the agent within the on-site visit screen (Image 13).

Awaiting Reimbursement Choice

If the customer must be reimbursed, the agent is able to choose the appropriate reimbursement choice (Image 14), namely:

  • The item was swapped out
  • A refund was given
  • A gift card was given

Customer Communication

All communication between the customer and Harvey Norman is facilitated by Customer Assist.

All emails to the customer can be sent from within Customer Assist (Image 15). The system ensures that the formatting of the email is correct (includes appropriate header and footer) and that the email can be displayed on various devices.

By including the case reference number in the email subject, the system is able to monitor a designated email inbox, and process emails from the customer to Harvey Norman.

Once the email has been processed, then a notification will be sent to the appropriate users within the system. The user can then navigate to the specific case from within the notifications pane (Image 16).


From within the context of the case, the received email can be accessed from the “Received Emails” menu option (Image 17).

If the email contains any attachments, then these will automatically be uploaded into the system and associated with the case. These images can be accessed from the “Documents” menu within the case. The agent is also able to upload documents manually from here.

Task list

All cases that are not closed, are stored as workflow items. These items can be accessed from the Task List. The underlying platform upon which Customer Assist is built contains an extensive workflow engine.

Reporting and Dashboard

Key performance indicators (KPls) can be displayed from within the dashboard. These are configurable according to who is logged into the system.

All reports are exportable to Excel. Other reports include:

  • Fault Trends
  • Summary of Cases
  • Unresolved Cases

About Exclr8 Business Automation

Exclr8 is a privately held software development company based in Cape Town, South Africa. Our office houses a dynamic team of highly skilled individuals, using best of breed technologies and methodologies to develop high quality software.

For development we use our own in-house developed platform, workflow engine, tools, process designers and technologies created over more than 10 years of continuous development.

We specialise in automating core business processes in the cloud using Windows Azure which enables organisations to become more strategically agile, innovative and scaleable.

For more about what we do visit us here or to book a free consultation and demo get in touch with our team.

Leave a Reply