A Day in the Life: Embracing a New Norm

March 27, 2020

We’re going to be talking about the last 10-14 days in our call center and how we’ve adjusted to having almost 95% of our workforce working at home. We’d love to hear some of your stories, please visit the Advice from Call Center Geek Facebook Community and let us know! We’d love to hear some of the trials and tribulations of what you and your contact centers have gone through over the past 10 to 14 days. Here’s what we’ve been through:

Total Evolution

March 11th was the first day some of our clients came to us and said, “Do you guys have a plan for at-home?” in regards to coronavirus. T be honest, I didn’t take it that seriously. My response was, “Yeah, we have a Disaster Recovery Plan. We’re cloud-based, we can just send everyone home.” I just figured I’d think about it later that week. Well, March 11th was the day the NBA shut down, and that really pushed my mind into perspective, we have to do this, and now. That Saturday I couldn’t sleep, and the Expivia team worked all weekend to put together a real DRP. Ironically, that next Friday (March 20th) Governor Wolf of Pennsylvania ordered that all nonessential business must close their physical locations by the end of the weekend.

Every Client is Different

Some of the things we needed to take a deep look at:

  1. IT & Data Structure
  2. CRM’s
  3. Proprietary Systems
  4. Connectivity
  5. HR & Payroll

Make sure your clients know your game plan too. You have to walk lockstep with them.

Communication Tools

We use Slack as our IM communication tool. We can make phone calls with it to anybody who’s on Slack. We can do video, we can do group videos, and we can pass the time by sending memes to each other, so it’s a social platform in that Aspect as well. Every single day, the supervisors will log in in a minute or two after a shift starts and they will do a video chat with their team. We can go up to 15 simultaneous video instances in Slack, which is our average supervisor to rep ratio. We’ll do that to look at everybody’s face make and make sure everybody’s up. We’ll ask everyone, what were team goals yesterday? What do we want to try to do today? What were some of the things we’re struggling with? What are some of the best practices that we’re starting to see at home? So we give an overall team meeting for the first half-hour of the shift.  After that we do one-on-ones. In that first hour, each supervisor talks to each rep individually, talking to them about their day, their life, their family, individual goals, etc. We want to just touch base because people are at home now, we don’t want them to feel like they’re not connected to the full process.

Checking in Often

Every 15 minutes we have a supervisor check in with their team. In Slack, every group has a team “Channel” on slack so they can communicate with each other. We say, “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” which means at the beginning of the shift, around lunchtime, and then in the afternoon, we do an individual IM chat with each rep. We want to touch base as many times as we possibly can, so about six or seven times during the day. As for clocking in and out, we use Cloud-based T-sheets, which makes it really easy to look at shift synopses. We also have a channel specifically for computer issues; we have the reps look at the issue first, and if they cannot figure it out we’ll put it in that channel and have the IT guys take a look.

Health Department Visit

On Tuesday, March 24th, the Health Department with two uniformed officers came to our location, just to look around and to ask if we had permission to stay open. When Governor Wolf ordered that non-essential businesses must close, we immediately applied for a waiver for our LA County 211 program that we are still running in the building. The health department saw that we had every call center associate a safe distance away from each other in regards to their workspaces, we have hand sanitizer in every room, and we have an on-staff nurse taking the temperatures of our employees.

We know this can be a depressing topic, but we’d love to hear more about what your centers are doing/have done to evolve with this quite unprecedented situation.

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