The COVID-19 pandemic has changed daily routines in ways that are unimaginable. And the urgency to Work from Home (WFH) is a prime example. It is also the most important example from a business standpoint because it keeps the lights on and ensures customers are not let down. Fortunately, there are organizations like a leading insurance company showing how to do WFH right. But even the well-thought out solutions often throw up unexpected problems. For the insurance company, an ITC Infotech customer with operations in 120 countries, the problem escalated quickly: With WFH implemented rapidly, VPN utilization rose from ~15% to ~90% for the employee population of 57,000. With new VPN solutions launched to cater to WFH, customer calls volumes shot up by 300%.
The insurance customer requested ITC Infotech’s assistance to supplement support and manage colleague experience. The goal was to bring things under control—to where the solution to handle the spike in volumes could continue to be deployed after the threat from COVID-19 subsides.
Visible decisiveness from our leadership to take on this challenge ensured high degree of motivation amongst team members and also instilled requisite confidence in the customer
ITC Infotech’s support professionals and domain experts quickly determined the right solution. The following aspects were examined and a course of action agreed upon:
- People and Infrastructure readiness to enable support from home
- On boarding the support team and provisioning access
- Knowledge Acquisition via WebEx training sessions & Microsoft Teams
- Mock calls and assessment carried out by the customer
- War room for immediate next steps and resolution
- Customer feedback and analysis
- Daily reporting and dashboards
In the pre-COVID-19 era, a major portion of the solution would be discussed and blueprinted onsite, working at the customer’s facility/ office/ worksite. Here, with its unprecedented emergency level, we did this remotely (besides, traveling to the customer’s location was not an option given the risks of infection to employees and the uncertainties of lockdowns being enforced by governments in the wake of COVID-19).
In the traditional approach, the entire transition process would have taken 3-4 weeks. . Here, time was of the essence. We went from idea to live production in under 7 days (for details, see figure below).
For the customer, it was relief and disbelief rolled into one. The service desk manager of the customer organisation was quick to thank ITC Infotech for the “tremendous effort.”
Such quick rollouts of support enhancement and stable employee experience, even under demanding and testing conditions, can be achieved by following best practices for successful remote transition. ITC Infotech did this by conducting virtual huddles including check-ins at start of day and at regular intervals, by defining clear roles and responsibilities within in the team for transparency and by creating a dispatcher role to ensure work allocation and facilitate handovers.
A second set of best practices revolved around pairing associates for efficient coaching and resolution, creating dedicated champions for setting agenda and publishing minutes of meetings, weekly communication by the leadership team to address the team and increased engagement of team members via training sessions.
We can’t say that the engagement was an easy one, although the best practices make it sound simple. But that is the trick experienced remote process management teams can pull of: make even the toughest projects look simple. Even in the testing times of COVID-19.