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Executive Interview : Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and Your Business - 1 year on! - Exclusive Interview With Brian Flygare from Credit Europe Bank

Associate VP; Remote Telemarketing and Client Support Center
Credit Europe Bank
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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.
Credit Europe Russia offers retail products (credit cards, auto loans, instant loans).
Call Center has shifted to 80% work at home;
Automation of business processes, Operations from a distance

If you operate a contact center how would you describe it today? 100% work from home? work in a socially distanced center ? hybrid? share some details
80% working from home, from agents 20% we have social distance rules

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??
Work at home models were set up for years; however in Russia the legal and labor rules were not ready; after the Pandemic there rules became more flexible to allow work at home;

Since the start of the pandemic has call, email, chat traffic increased, decreased or stayed the same? AND, how? share some details on what you have noticed
Calls are less, more emails, Feedback forms from the Internet Banks (digital channels)
Chat bot have improved on website; FAQ on website have been improved for solving customer problems at a distance

Before the virus hit, did you have an emergency plan should something like this happen? and if so, did your plans work as expected?
We had a backup plan based on 2nd sites; We had the technical infrastructure for work at home, but as mentioned until the epidemic; we could not solve the legal labor contract issues; move from office to home took around a week;

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?
Best thing to keep staff motivated was to get them working from home as soon as possible; So as to be safe; protect their families ;

If you could go back in time and could plan for a pandemic, what would you do differently and why?
Shortage of masks; Proper materials for properly cleaning hands; there was a short supply in Russia ; it would have been useful to have a reserve

How often do you meet with your team / colleagues and how ? zoom? skype other ? and also how well does this work for everyone?
supervisors meet by distance team and team members 2 x 30 minutes a week;
plus some 1on 1 ; there are events when the team comes together for some group discussion or training.

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 the Times when work at home agents see their co-workers are valuable;

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?
we hope to continue for the future with work at home model;
employees don't waste time on the road to work, can cook at home, get sick less, more schedule adherence, higher performance numbers

If the pandemic did not really affect you tell us why - what made it a non event for you?
the pandemic affected everyone.

How do you now train staff? how is this method working?
Training on (Telegram ) / You Tube; Zoom training
Trainers have adjusted

If you had to recruit new staff, how has this worked for you? Is it easier / harder? please explain
we look also at staff around Russia; utilize them as agents or TM ; when not fully occupied; for example sales persons at shop/branch staff ;
there is a boom in Russia now; everyone is recruiting ; but we find agents

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)
Staff Turnover in first 6 months was very low;
then as Conditions started to open up; Companies started to hire;
Rotation has occurred at tail end of crisis;

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?
We are ready for any Crisis

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?
The Team that remains has become more close for sure;
New Leaders have risen, new supervisors, managers, trainers active and enthusiastic;

If you manage a team - how have you coped with the change ?
The Teams are very flexible; Each day we assess the current situation and adjust;

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?
If we have to work remotely , that is what we did;
every day Zoom calls, zoom meetings, working at distance with managers working from home; we have new processes to work at distance;

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?
As a manager we try to be flexible; within the bank there are some social services in case of issues with family or kids;

Many people were concerned about security of information with remote agents - how have you handled this in your business so its not an issue?
Security of information is critical; working in a bank; opening screens;
but as we said before we built this business model years ago; we just couldn't realize work at home until the epidemic; we did hugely improve that technical set up for work at home

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?
Managers and staff need to do much more; we are much more flexible in regards to the job description; wearing many hats;

About Credit Europe Bank:
Company LogoRetail Bank in Russian Federation; Selling Credit Cards, Consumer Cash, Auto, Travel Loans;
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