We are faced with unprecedented times. The world is in flux, as social norms, cultures and the global economy are under threat.The only constant is rapid change. It is a time where the resilience, patience, empathy and will power of humanity is being tested.
Businesses, health organisations and governments are faced with tough decisions, ones that require swift action under immense pressures as they are confronted with many unknowns.
It is a time where the robustness and readiness of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plans are truly put to the test and their validity verified
For many,the Work From Home (WFH) concept is no longer an experiment. Simply put, work is being done differently.
Proactive adjustments to BCP plans
With the World Health Organisation(WHO) announcing the Coronavirus a global pandemic, CapabilityBPO immediately initiated plans to redeploy our workforce across additional sites to minimise the impact of a potential mass infection across our workforce in addition to a Work From Home plan.
Our plan included providing measures and actions to be deployed on each of our sites globally to minimize the potential impact on our service levels in addition to contributing to continually educating our employees and preventing their health from being affected.
Our plans include:
- A severity indexing of each phase
- Actions to be taken for each phase
- Deployment of “work from home plans” where possible
- Making usage of back up sites where possible
- Consideration on leveraging language capabilities among our sites
The first phase of each BCP illustrates the scenario in which there are no confirmed Coronavirus cases in the area the site operates. In this phase the focus is on raising awareness and educating employees on measures to take to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.These go hand in hand with the directives of the World Health Organization as well as those of the National Health Organizations.
All our employees are informed about the most important measures they can take to prevent the spread, stressing the importance of basic hygiene measures. These include:
- Wash your hands with soap regularly
- Practice respiratory hygiene: Cough and sneeze on the inside of your elbow
- Use paper handkerchiefs that have to be disposed of immediately
- Clean Keyboards/mice multiple times daily
- Headsets will always be cleaned after workday or shift end
- Clean desk table multiple times a day
- Strict monitoring process flow sickness
Ongoing Infection control between sites
The following rules have been put in place:
- No travelling or visits between sites -everyone will use electronic meeting facilities (Teams, Zoom, etc.)
- No freedom of movement where two sites are in the same building
- All sites have sanitizers at all entrances
- Sanitizing of equipment has been scheduled before new shift starts -keyboard, mouse, headset, desk and monitor
- All sites have temperature scanning solutions in-place to monitor fever
- Key personal who have global responsibilities work from home - Senior Workforce Manager, Scheduler, Business Intelligence as well as local Finance, HR and Compliance
- Senior Management has been split between sites to ensure management continuity
- Ongoing awareness programs are in place -email, posters, town halls, daily stand-ups
A successful BCP Work from Home (WFH) solution rollout
As of Thursday, 12th March 2020 Capability BPO successfully rolled out our Corona BCP Work from Home (WFH) solution. No small feat for a global Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) operation.
According to the BPO industry benchmarks, Capability BPO did a massive job in a very short time, with much success.
Rolling out a WFH solution in one location is challenge enough. Rolling out an effective WFH solution across multiple sites across the world without any service disruption and no impact to operational metrics is a huge achievement. In fact the only change was a dramatic reduction in Shrinkage!
We successfully deployed 750 heads around the world to work from home in a phased country by country approach, starting with the Netherlands, followed by Albania, Philippines, Morocco, Colombia, South Africa and finally Suriname.
During this time of change with process and policy changing rapidly, ensuring that our employees are providing the most relevant and up to date information is critical. To ensure we continued to deliver the high standards that our clients demand, it was vital that we applied our client communicated policy’s effectively and ensured that these were adhered to. as such it was therefore critical that our quality process continued to operate effectively whilst meeting volume commitments.
Capability BPO’s quality programme allows our leadership to breakdown the process into three major compliance categories ensuring that we understand the issues we are facing and can take immediate root cause and action with additional training and coaching where required. This ensures that not only at this difficult time but at all times we enhance the customer experience minimizing effort in the end to end process.
Remote management of quality was underpinned by our effective existing processes and lifting these directly into a remote platform. Through utilizing existing systems which allow for QA’s and Team Leaders to provide written reports of agent quality performance broken down into the component parts, along with our culture of proactive agent management allowed employee’s to remotely access, review and acknowledge feedback promoting immediate action on their performance. This was further supported by 15 minute power coaching sessions led by Team Leaders and Quality Analysts.
Additionally through our existing governance and reporting process of weekly quality business reviews completed on remote tools, senior leadership can adapt and manage remotely without any change in approach, continuing in line with previous expectations via conferencing with root cause and actions identified and addressed. In the occurrence of any training requirements or specialized coaching sessions these are scheduled via WFM however delivered via remote virtual classroom training or remote group coaching sessions ensuring the business continues to exceed expectations with regards to performance.
As a result of the above, there was no impact to our baseline quality performance, additionally updates to process and policy could effectively be tracked, and performance understood. This result was possible due to the governance and controls being devised to meet a remote working environment due to the global nature of our business.
Snapshot: Implementation of South Africa
- Map out and structure the practicalities of the Work From Home plan
- De-construct ones contact center
- Get your IT team on board to dismantle machines and operational set-up
- Package individual WFH IT boxes
- Arrange for secure transporting of packaged individual WFH boxes for delivery to agents homes
- IT Teams travelling with agents in our “Ghost Buster” transport van to make deliveries
- Set up and test PC’s
- Ensure onboarding of WFH set-up with agents in working order
- Repeat set up cycle until all WFH deployed staff are successfully working
Snapshot: Implementation of Albania
- "Work From Home" policy was applied with immediate implementation.
- Internet Connection test done before start of shift.
- IT team available during shift to handle IT issues (Conducted remotely fixing internet issues, and installation of Zoom installed on every computer for remote control functionality)
- Increased the number of available agents working from home immediate
- The configuration plan for the rest of the team was already in progress in order to have a backup group and not risk Service Levels.
Continued Drivers for success
- Steering Committee headed by CEO and COO commencing with Zoom calls three times a day, conducting internal progress update calls and proactive communication to key client stakeholders.
- Highly devoted and committed staff around the world, including the client service representatives
- Infrastructure included desktops being installed in homes with VPN tunnels, Wifi dongles for more rural area’s in some countries and the provision of pre-paid internet boxes.
- Scheduled Work From Home kick-off Video call with Team Leaders, video and chat at direct disposal for the CSR’s, and QA 1:1 sessions and QA video group sessions.
Current Management Strategies
- Daily pre-shift Zoom sessions led by Team Leaders
- Sleep Check by Subject Matter Expert/Floor Walkers: When a SME/QA/Floor Walkers says, "SLEEP CHECK" everyone needs to say "IN" in less than 3 minutes, or you'll be considered IDLE and will have to explain why you weren’t able to respond (Agents engaged on Chat are not required to answer)
- Support Team “All hands on Deck” approach
- Agent Empowerment
- Senior Agents: Front Liners for Peak hours and switch to support role during relaxed hours (Supporting new hires).
- Tenured Agents empowered to teach new hires (buddy system).
- More difficult cases are escalated to SMEs/Team Leaders.
- Daily post-shift Zoom sessions led by the Team Leaders
Mitigation for Work-from-home
- Connectivity - An audit was carried out to determine data coverage for the concentration of residential addresses. Relevant connectivity provider routers were distributed to staff.
- Devices - Existing desktops have been deployed offsite and additional procurement of rental laptops.
- Uninterrupted power supply - Laptops powered by batteries in the event of power disruption
- Data and Device protection - VPN tunnels have been created to secure connectivity, with adjustments to policies and procedures to ensure compliance.
Our continued commitment to Customer Services hasn’t stopped since the implementation of our Work From Home plan. We continue to train using collaborative tools like Zoom.
We have established clear Work From Home Guidelines and Procedures to assist maintaining a good quality of delivery and business continuity across all tasks.
Continued Monitoring Performance and Quality Assurance
- Team Leaders remain fully available to support their respective teams whilst in in remote mode with daily and mid-point check-ins and chat groups with their agents creating a platform for support.
- Quality Analysts continue to function normally by handling the quality process through the Reveal CX quality platform with a great focus on written documentation allowing our Agents to get detailed remote feedback.
- We operate a follow the sun Real Time Analyst (RTA’s) approach which means that our existing RTA’s required no adaption to a remote working policy. Working closely with our schedulers and client’s elements such as scheduled adherence and queue optimization we maintained at or above target throughout the transition minimizing our customer wait time during this extremely busy period.
- Zoom morning calls are scheduled between Operations and Team Leader’s on a daily basis, within ten minutes of shifts beginning ensuring that the right governance and communication is in place during this rapidly changing time .
- Standard daily conference calls with clients continue to take place as per original scheduled and are thus unaffected by remote work.
Work From Home Success Stories
Snapshot: Implementation of the Philippines
- Video calls via Zoom has become really fun and surprisingly, we have discovered advantages in doing trainings via zoom:
- Less distraction, more productivity. We’ve discovered that there’s less distraction since once everyone is on mute, the trainer can monopolize the stage.
- Meetings are easier since there’s less hassle since no need to turn on lights, arrange seats, set the projector etc.
- Promotes participation. Even agents who are usually conservative when speaking their ideas in a large-crowd have become more participative during team meetings.
- Long Distance Coaching
- Quality Analyst/Subject Matter Experts/Team Leaders can now do multiple coaching sessions at one time.
- No more private meeting room limitation.
- Agents who are typically shy are starting to express themselves more freely via Zoom coaching sessions compared to face to face coaching.
- "Let’s, Volt…." (Voltes V, from a famous Japanese robot series) when TL/QA/SME type this in the ChatGroup, all is expected to say “IN” in 2-minutes, or you’ll be considered idle. Agents then have to explain why they weren’t able to respond..and the fun part is they’ll have to sing the chorus later on the team huddle if they’re late.
- "Toire ni ittekimasu" = Bathroom Break (somehow saying it in Japanese has a funny ring to it, like "I’ll journey to the toilet, and shall return")
Other success stories
- Agents are able to overcome boredom with being on quarantine by staying connected before and even after their shifts.
- Senior agents stay after shift to help new hires, and these small teaching sessions lead to dissolving the borders between groups (new hires usually group together and do not mingle with Senpais or seniors, it’s a Japanese culture)
- Since most are living on processed/canned foods, our agents utilize Zoom for recipe sharing, one agent even used it to teach other agents on how to spice up their typical instant ramen by turning it to a savory curry ramen.
- An opportunity to start learning more about our team mates. Agents are sharing their hobbies and discovering more about each other because of the off-work chat groups.
- Agents are verbalizing that the 2-3 hours they usually spend on their daily commute are now precious hours they can use to care for and be with their loved ones.
- WFH helped everyone overcome anxiety and depression, a reality with most people in quarantine.
Snapshot: Implementation of Bogota
- Video calls with each team: Random calls are being performed to the agents from time to time to ensure everything is all right and to provide support if needed.
- Coaching on a distance: Team meetings whenever an update comes up to cover the information in real time.
- Video team huddles are being held on a daily basis at the end of the shift to share impressions and cases are shared in addition to talking about their and how they feel working from home.
- On a daily basis each shift starts with sharing on the Hangouts and WhatsApp groups Inspiring quotes to keep the moral up and to encourage the teams to continue to deliver.
Overall, there’s an overwhelming positive vibe which inspires the teams. Whilst working hard, that can be with their loved ones during this very difficult time.‘Capability BPO is proud of what we collectively as a global business have delivered. Through early identification of the changing environment and proactive testing of our COVID19 BCP’s prior to deployment we managed to achieve no service disruption during the transition. In light of the fact that we serve 12 to 20 hours opening window 7 days a week this is no easy feat. This could only be achieved with the hard work and dedication of our global teams and the support of our partners and clients. Well done to all our people. You have all made it possible and we are incredibly proud of each and every one of you.’ Global Delivery Director