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Executive Interview : Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and Your Business - 1 year on! - Exclusive Interview With Stephen Pace from SJS Solutions

So a year on how would you describe how the pandemic has affected your company and how you work? If you can add some notes about your business to help readers understand what your center and/or company does, please add them here.
SJS provide training and smart visuals developed to motivate and support agents via TV screens so when everyone was sent home our customers agents no longer had the ability to access social and operational messaging, alerts and metrics as they used to. Early on we gave our customers the option to swap their on-site licenses for remote "Agile" licenses, these licenses gave our customers the ability to deliver the same engaging, rich content to mobile devices and desktops, therefore giving customers the ability to continue to met the human needs of their agents. The feedback from customers was extremely positive.

When the pandemic hit and if you had to adapt, what went well or better than expected in the change of the way you work??
For SJS we moved to a work from home set up and from an operational perspective nothing really changed, our support services remain strong and software development was uninterrupted. The biggest downside was employees feeling isolated and missing feeling connected to each other.

Before the virus hit, did you have an emergency plan should something like this happen? and if so, did your plans work as expected?
YES

In the early days of the pandemic there were lots of ideas how to keep staff now working from motivated - what activities / things did you do that worked well?
Constant and clear communication is the key, we used MS Teams to have regular calls and made sure everyone's mental health was taken into account. Unfortunately for a lot of contact centers they have been ignoring the importance of meeting human needs and the impact not doing this has on morale and wellness, and when the pandemic hit they simply continued to push metrics to agents rather than scheduling supportive operational and social messages which would have helped reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.

If you could go back in time and could plan for a pandemic, what would you do differently and why?
Nothing

How often do you meet with your team / colleagues and how ? zoom? skype other ? and also how well does this work for everyone?
MS Teams, we are all in regular contact and have team meetings every 2 weeks.

Have you found colleagues are working harder, about the same as before or maybe a little less and why do you think that? please explain
In many cases harder, the ability to disconnect from work is much harder at home and as the CEO I am constantly reminding my team to keep their work life in perspective, giving them advice to help reduce stress and making sure they do not work all day and all night. Our customers use Optymyse to help with this also.

Longer term do you think you may continue working like you do today or do you think you will get back to like it was before the pandemic hit us all?
My team want to get back to being in the same room together and although the occasional day at home will now be easier I think they will want to get back to the office ASAP.

If the pandemic did not really affect you tell us why - what made it a non event for you?
Personally I found the pandemic gave me time to focus on my own personal development and since it started I have been meditating twice a day, this has helped me manage my stress levels and emotions. From a business perspective, all of the deals we had on the table ready to go or about to be confirmed stopped and the impact on revenue was significant, however we did not need to let anyone go and still managed to make a modest profit. 2021 is looking much better.

How do you now train staff? how is this method working?
We are a close team and training / coaching happens all of the time. we have started to offer our customer CSM training with a focus on understanding Motivational Psychology to better meet the human needs of their employees. Right now this is via Teams but face-to-face should start Q3

What have you noticed in terms of staff turnover since the pandemic? any changes? and why do you think there has been a change (if any)
No change.

Do you think your company is now better prepared to deal with a crisis like this or any other crisis (flood, fire, earthquake, hurricane etc) if it happens in the future and if so why?
YES

Do you think the company you work for appreciates staff more and shows appreciation more now because of the pandemic or does it feel like you get the same or maybe even less appreciation?
YES

If you manage a team - how have you coped with the change ?
More communication, More listening.

If you are part of a team that worked closely together face to face how do you feel now working in a different way? maybe more remotely?
We prefer face to face

If you are a manager how do you help your team if they are struggling with personal issues at home or anxiety about the future?
I find myself mentoring my team on any and all subjects they wish to speak to me about, that can include health issues, motivation, personal development and even relationships. We are a very close team and although it sounds cheesy we are like family. In fact I introduced one of my team to Yoga and she loves it and another to meditation and she is finding this very helpful in improving her confidence.

Many people were concerned about security of information with remote agents - how have you handled this in your business so its not an issue?
I leave that to my head of tech.

Lastly, any other comments or opinions you can share about the effects of this pandemic on your business or the people working in your company?
I hope its highlighted the fact that agents need to be supported and treated with respect, and I hope that employers will start to align the way they treat their people with their human needs rather than numbers. Once agents feel supported and valued, stress reduces and wellness improves making it far more likely for to deliver great CX, and surely that's the golden ticket?


About SJS Solutions:
Company LogoFounded in 2001 SJS Solutions is a provider in contact center optimisation. It’s no secret that people are the most expensive part of any contact centre operation. How do you motivate, protect, engage and develop your most important resource? Optymyse - A human-centric solution for motivating contact centres. We offer a neuroscience-based approach which takes care of your most valuable asset - your people. Using a scientifically supported formula, Optymyse delivers visuals which unlock the full potential of your contact center whilst protecting the wellbeing of all of your employees. The true power of Optymyse is that it encourages a complete rethink of how you use information to drive positive customer experiences time and time again. It’s a win-win situation. Optymyse was designed specifically to break the cycle of expensive workforce issues and promote employee wellness. This not only saves you time and money, it also allows agents to deliver outstanding customer experiences.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Choosing a Vendor

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Monday, May 17, 2021

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2024 Buyers Guide Recruitment Products/Services

 
1.) 
MainTrax

HireTrax
HireTrax, MainTrax's standalone pre-hire virtual interviewing solution, automatically analyzes the behavioral characteristics found in each candidate's VOICE to help you select reps better suited for the specific job at hand. After all, agents speak with your customers for hours each day so it's vital they possess the behavioral characteristics and personality traits necessary to be successful. By picking those with tendencies of empathy and positive behavioral traits, you'll have a higher caliber of candidates who will perform better on the job and stay.

2.) 
Vads

VADS Recruitment Services
VADS Indonesia provides a recruitment process with strict selection with various requirements according to client needs. VADS Indonesia also has a database of trained candidates so that it can meet the agent needs quickly and in large numbers.

3.) 
SalesMatch Ltd

Contact Centre Behavioural Assessments
SalesMatch is an intelligent web based sales and contact centre behavioural assessment platform. It is based on the well known, tried and tested DISC psychometric theory, used by thousands of organisations round the world.

- Reduces Agent Attrition - By selecting the right agent for the role
- Increases Performance - By matching the character profile to the task
- Reduces Time Off - A well matched profile to the role reduced work
stress
- Reduces Recruitment Costs - By early identification of the right candidates

Putting the right person in the job role has become the key focus in the drive...
(read more)

4.) 
TactiCall Recruitment Services

TactiCall Recruitment Services
Permanent Placement
Temporary / Labour Hire / Contingent and Contract Hire
Recruitment Consulting Services
Assessment Centre Design and Facilitation
 

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