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|Sitel UK&I Homeworking: Lessons Businesses Should Learn From Coronavirus

Sitel UK&I Homeworking: Lessons Businesses Should Learn From Coronavirus

The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the critical importance of keeping essential businesses and services fully operational and ready to respond - whether to customers or citizens.

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by Karl Brough August 5, 2020 - 3 MIN READ

The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the critical importance of keeping essential businesses and services fully operational and ready to respond – whether to customers or citizens. Never before has such an emphasis been placed on providing care, support and clarity of information.

However, these businesses and services cannot keep going unless a premium is also placed on the health and well-being of those entrusted with delivering the services in question. Indeed, for any company that hadn’t yet realised it, COVID-19 should have finally eradicated any doubts and made it abundantly clear as to the fact that your people are your most valuable asset. 

Beyond business continuity planning

Yet even for those trail blazing enterprises that have always been able to demonstrate a people-centric focus, this virus has presented challenges that would have been out of scope in even the most comprehensive business continuity plan.

Whether in the public or private sector the big question at executive level has been how can we take care of our people while taking care of those that depend on our products, goods or services?

Many organizations have been forced to reduce their physical headcounts in line with social distancing and transition the majority of their people to remote working, often without the infrastructure in place to hit the ground running.

A new way of working?

Yet as lockdowns and restrictions have persisted, so have discussions about whether the old ways of working, in a physical office, really reflect modern lifestyles and human needs.

Our own virtual network of work-at-home agents and its supporting virtual infrastructure has been in place for over a decade, so when restrictions were first introduced, migrating our on-site personnel to remote working was a relatively simple exercise – in fact it only took the Global Group two weeks to transition 80% of our entire workforce to remote working to ensure their continued health and well-being.

In fact, because our solution is so robust, we were also able to actively recruit new virtual agents – including 7,000 in the UK alone – safe in the knowledge that even without physical access any of our offices, we could confidently on-board, train and retain new members of the Sitel family purely through digital channels. Even though it was business as usual I’m incredibly proud of how quickly our teams came together to support each other and deliver for our clients and their customers.

It’s also worth noting that when coronavirus first started to impact our clients’ business operations, those brands that were already making use of our virtual agents as part of their customer experience delivery mix were the ones that faced little to no operational disruption. They were able to treat customer service as a critical business operation.

Work at home is the future

We don’t know how long coronavirus will continue to impact our lives. We need to accept and be prepared for further disruption until a legitimate vaccine or treatment can be found.

However, what we do know is that a genuine work from home model is critical to keeping people safe and keeping the economy going. It’s more than a temporary measure and should be a long-term strategy for forward looking businesses particularly those that partner with organizations such as Sitel Group to manage their end-to-end customer experience.

Sitel Work at Home is a potentially global talent pool, one that gives organisations the ability to clearly mitigate risk by drawing on agents from different countries around the world all of whom are insulated from local disruption and secluded in their own homes.

Business as usual

It’s for this reason that for our clients in both the public and private sectors that have business-critical processes we’re recommending a minimum 40% of their service provision is delivered as business as usual through at home agents.

We also believe that this crisis has opened the door for conversations with our clients for even deeper transformation for their business.

With our grounded approach, we map out customers’ pain points through speech analytics solutions and continuous improvement efforts. Then, we bring timely solutions to reduce the customer effort, enhance the operating model and improve customer satisfaction. The expertise our group brings – from Sitel Insights and Digital services to Learning Tribes and innso – helps build the right tailored solutions for our clients. And, as we adjust to new ways of working, the need for our support to our clients in adapting and transforming their business continues to accelerate in response to coronavirus, acting as a catalyst for change. 

Sitel Group is an expert at building CX programs that are ready to meet the challenge of the unexpected. To discuss how we can support your business contact us.

Karl Brough
written by Karl Brough General Manager UKIN Region at Sitel Group
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