It was snow-go on Friday, as the flakes fell and roads were gridlocked – and we blogged about keeping our telemarketing team safely at home to make their outbound calls. For as a true cloud call centre, our agents need only a phone line and internet connection, and calls, and call monitoring continue as they would in the office.
Sure, we were all white, but it appeared that elsewhere businesses were affected on varying levels by the Big Chill. WalesOnline reported that up to £50m was lost from the Welsh economy as the country’s transport system and workplaces struggled to cope with heavy snowfall. For the UK as a whole, an insurance group estimated that the problems cost the economy about £470m a day!
With this in mind, we were pleased to hear from a number of customers who, like us, were able to keep agents home and continue business as usual. Chris Gallimore, customer support operations manager from Photobox, said that one of the features the company had liked about NewVoiceMedia’s ContactWorld solution was its flexibility and non-location specific functionality. ‘This is particularly notable on days like today where adverse weather can have a major impact on staff being able to get to and from work safely’, he said.
‘From making the decision to have our contact centre agents work from home today, it took minutes to set up the new user accounts in ContactWorld, and agents were picking up calls from home in mere moments.
‘As I sit here looking at the snow coming down, I’m happy in the knowledge that our contact centre service has not been majorly impacted and our staff are safely at home handling our customers’ queries’, he added.
Another call centre manager based in Bedfordshire explained that all account handlers have laptops and can work from home if required. ‘If the snow continues, we will ensure that staff get home before dark, but we have few absences due to bad weather’.
Other snow strategies, uncovered through a LinkedIn discussion thread, included the provision of 4x4s to collect agents and bring them to work. While this meant that operation on-site could continue, there were the obvious cost implications to consider.
A sense of normality has returned for now and we’re back in the office, but as Britain faces more snow, ice, and freezing conditions, we’re watching closely in order to prepare for home working once again. After all, the weather might prevent us from getting to the office, but when it comes to working as normal, we won’t be frozen out!