Teamwork Between Contact Centers and HATs

Teamwork Between Contact Centers and HATs

When Bob Erb released the first COVID-19 announcement in early March, the Executive Team had already been meeting on a regular basis to address any possible issues resulting from the virus that could impact our employees and customers. Shortly after, discussions began amongst the Contact Center sites and DM Services to determine what it would take to move employees to work from home.  The sites worked as a team to develop a process for this plan.

Our mission to continue providing exceptional service to our customers during this time was accomplished thanks to the high level of teamwork and cooperation from our entire organization.   We kept our employees working and maintained a safe working environment, while continuing to serve our customers.

Initially, a survey was created to learn more about our employees’ interest and capability to work from home.  All on-site employees were surveyed and asked the following questions, and the results were used to immediately implement a temporary transition to work from home where allowed:

  • Do you have high speed internet? 
  • Do you have a computer with certain specifications? 
  • Are you interested in working from home temporarily?

Reporting was then developed to identify employees that met the specifications to operate from home along with a suggested timeline. Teamwork among all Contact Center sites, DM Services, and the Home Agents gathered necessary resources, ability, and interest.

By mid-March, our top priority was set – move our employees to work from home in the safest way possible in effort to continue servicing our customers also dealing with this pandemic. The sites had gathered the information regarding who could move home and our roll-out plan was beginning, but how could we make this happen so quickly?  The answer is Teamwork.

Management, Training and Development, Employee Experience, and the Home Agents worked closely together to set training plans and ensure all employees could move to work from home as seamlessly as possible. Teamwork from all areas put this plan into motion.

Within just four days, training began, and the first employee was moved to work from home! Initially, training classes were conducted every few hours, seven days a week!  Teamwork here allowed us to ensure this transition was as smooth as possible.  DM Services was able to move over 50% of its staff to work from home in a matter of a few short weeks. That’s just under 200 employees from DM Services and over 400 across the organization.

Many stories of hope and gratitude came from allowing agents to work from home.  Several shared how grateful they are to work remotely in order to help keep both their co-workers and their families safe. One story came from Heather Lair, an agent in the Hannibal, MO Call Center:

Heather Lair lives in Quincy, IL, 20 miles from the Hannibal Call Center. She is working from home on her home computer. When she came to the center to pick up a headset, she expressed how much she appreciated the way we work with the agents. Working from home has given her the freedom to pick up more hours, and she likes that she is able to spend more time with her family due to less travel time. She also feels like she can better assist our customers because of decreased background noise. She is very appreciative to be able to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep herself and her family safe.

Learning to manage a team remotely and troubleshoot technical issues was a new challenge, but our team of supervisors and leads stepped up and adapted quickly. A special Thank You goes out to the HATs, leads and supervisors who assisted and helped us navigate this new world. We are also very grateful for our leadership team’s adaptability and persistence in getting agents working from home over the past couple of months: Site Management, Site Supervision, Timekeepers, Employee Experience, Data Control, WFM, and the list goes on! All have, and will continue, to play an active role in supporting employees to temporarily work from home as necessary.

Our mission to continue providing exceptional service to our customers and our clients’ customers, and to keep our employees working and safe during this time, was accomplished only by the high level of teamwork and cooperationfrom the team across the organization. Teams continue to meet, discuss, and implement plans to ensure we are supporting both on-site employees and those who have moved home.  We are all in this together, continuing to support each other while Creating Excitement and Delivering the Experience.

Thank you again, for everyone’s assistance in making this happen. We are excited to see what this new chapter brings, and how our team continues to grow with the new skillsets we’ve obtained. Throughout this process, many acts of kindness have been shown from our talented group.  Many new challenges and unknowns will still arise but thankfully Colony Brands continues to push through this difficult situation with grace and understanding.  Our peopleare truly what makes this organization so successful.

Co-written by:

Jeramy Dissel – Hannibal Contact Center Site Manager

Aaron Brewer – Credit Operations Assistant Manager

Julie Kielty – HATS Assistant Manager

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