Posted by Abby Thomas, Executive Director – Customer, Virgin Media
How we’re supporting our contact centre colleagues to work from home
22 April 2020
Since day one of the Covid-19 outbreak, our priority has been to keep our staff safe and our customers connected.
Part of our strategy has been giving as many staff as possible the ability to work from home. But with a national network to maintain, and millions of customers relying on their Virgin Media services more than they ever have for work, entertainment, education or simply to keep in touch with friends and family, this hasn’t been possible for all of our people.
Engineers like Ian have continued to go out and maintain our ultrafast network, field technicians like Cole have continued to support customers by fixing and installing services, and contact centre staff like Denny have continued coming to work in our contact centres to help customers with their services.
For thousands of contact centre colleagues helping customers with a huge range of issues, working remotely hasn’t been possible until now because we’ve simply not had the equipment, systems or processes in place to support this.
But over the past few weeks, we’ve carried out the herculean task of giving all Virgin Media contact centre colleagues the ability to work from home. Today, every contact centre colleague who wants to work from home can. We’ve had to overcome huge technical challenges such as completely redesigning how we route calls so that when customers call us they’re put through to the right team. It’s meant building and setting up more than 2,000 laptops and secure access tokens so that contact centre colleagues have secure and resilient access to Virgin Media systems from their home. And it’s meant changes to how we take customer details and payments, to ensure our customers are fully protected.
It’s a huge challenge that would normally take us months to achieve, but teams across the business have been working together and risen to the challenge, delivering this enormous change in just a few short weeks.
At the same time, we’ve been welcoming more people to the company. Since the crisis began, we have been receiving very high customer call volumes and have created more than 500 new customer contact centre jobs in the UK to help keep customers connected during the Coronavirus pandemic. We developed an entirely new fast-track application and assessment process using video interviews to ensure people could start sooner which has meant we’ve already been able to offer nearly 300 people a job with us and our customers have the support they need. And at the same time, we’ve even in-sourced all in-home engineers to improve the service we provide to customers.
Of course, not all of our people can work remotely and we’ll always need engineers, field technicians and other key workers to go out and fix, install and maintain our network to keep the country connected. Fortunately, lots of what we do can occur without the need for anyone to enter a property. Our engineers will only enter a home if they need to in order to fix or install services and will adhere to social distancing guidelines when inside.
And of course, we have already taken steps to minimise the amount of in-home work we need to carry out through encouraging and supporting customers with self-installations and troubleshooting, and limiting the number of boxes we’ll install.
We are committed to helping our customers stay connected and I’m enormously proud of how everyone at Virgin Media is working as one team, pulling together to support each other and our customers during this difficult time.