What effect has the Coronavirus had on your company?
There are only few confirmed cases in Taiwan at this moment. As for our bank, we don’t have any infected employees or customers, so the pandemic doesn’t cause serious impact on our business operation. However, some customers cancelled their original travel plan, affecting our credit card business slightly. With respect to internal policy for controlling coronavirus, our bank has stipulated a number of rules upon January outbreak in China.
1. We strongly encouraged virtual meetings instead of face-to-face meetings. If there is inevitability of holding an off-line meeting, all participants are strictly required to wear surgical masks. (For the meeting whose participants include outside guests, the venue of the meeting has been restricted to a specific region.
2. All employees are required to wear surgical masks when they commute via public transportation.
3. All employees and guests are required to be taken temperature before they enter the office. If someone’s temperature exceeds the predetermined number, he/she is not allowed to enter the office.
4. All employees are required to take temperature check twice a day. If someone’s temperature exceeds the predetermined number, he/she has to go to hospital immediately.
5. Our bank enforces distributed working practice where we distribute employees who share similar job function to working offices.
6. Food and good delivery must be taken outside of working environments.
7. We keep close tracks on employees’ recent travel and exposure history, especially those who have been to most affected regions or get touched with others from infected area.
If you operate a contact center how have you adapted to manage the pandemic?
We cope with pandemic influence on our customer service from three different angles, space management and backup, employee management and backup, and system support.
1. Space backup: CUB’s customer center has 5 offices located at three different sites.
2. Space segmentation: The spaces in 5 offices has been divided into different blocks and fixed traffic flows. Such measure can lower the chance of cross infection and complete shutdown due to an office outbreak.
3. Employee backup: Employees in our customer center are equipped with multiple skillsets so that we can adjust our working group according to different situations or assign members to support coworkers in other offices.
4. Intelligent customer service resources: Our intelligent customer service, a virtual customer assistant, can cover more than 90% of the center’s operation. If the pandemic severely influences our workforce, our intelligent customer service is still able to cope with a majority of problems.
5. Work from home: Our intelligent customer service will be the front-line to handle customers’ problems. If those questions can’t be addressed by the system, our quarantined CSRs are still able to take over the job.
What recommendations can you share with others who are looking for ideas on what they can do to help manage the effects of the virus on their business?
The management in customer contact centers should ascertain all resources at hand, including location, space, human power and system. If the intelligent customer service and VDI are not ready, we suggest the following measures can be taken.
1. Employee backup plan: You can proactively collate all employees’ skillsets. By separating employees who share similar job function into different groups and assigning them to different working offices, you can prevent sudden business shutdown because of infection.
2. Working space backup and segmentation plan: You can carefully plan and adopt distributed working practice. Otherwise, you can segment working space into different regions and monitor the employees’ traffic flow. Once there is a confirmed case in one working space, coworkers in backup offices can still perform their duties.
If you operate a center - has call, email, chat traffic increased, decreased or stayed the same since the virus emerged? AND, if its changed up or down how? and how have you managed the change?
Volume of Inbound Calls
By and large, the overall service volume has decreased. The influences are elaborated as below.
1. Because of coronavirus, Taiwan government enforces self-management and mandatory home quarantine. Additionally, the government also warns people not to go to public places and reduce the frequency of traveling abroad to lower the possibility of getting infected.
2. Nevertheless, some people who can’t return to their positions because of the pandemic will have needs of late credit card payment or personal loans. Therefore, we expect that the volume of service pertaining to those business will increase.
Adjustment of Management of Customer Contact Center
During the period of coronavirus, employees sometimes are required to do self-management and home quarantine. Under the circumstance where the overall volume decreases, our contact center will arrange employees’ online training to enhance various skillsets. The training program not only includes professional knowledge but also diverse learning content, such as language and coding, to encourage employees to take courses. Furthermore, we encourage our employees to schedule their personal leaves in advance so that there won’t be a sudden burst of vacancy during the period of high volume after the pandemic.
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 have established distributed working practice, employee backup plan and intelligent customer system before the outbreak of coronavirus. Those practices and system work well and smoothly during this outbreak.
If you can add some notes about your business to help readers understand what your center and/or company does, please add them here.
Cathay United bank (CUB) is a commercial bank with a leading position in retail banking. Our contact center’s service coverage ranges from deposits, Loans, wealth management, and credit card and so on.
We provide such customer services through multiple channels including phone, Email, Live chat, and social media. Additionally, we now offer AI chatbot to let our customers perform self-service.
CUB manages the Pandemic crises from different angles such as location, space, workforce and system.
The details are listed as below.
1. Reducing person contact to reduce the risk of mass contagion.
2. Reducing frequency of holding large offline meetings and holding telephone meetings or conference meeting instead.
3. When the government discloses the itinerary of infected person, CUB encourages employees who have the chance of contacting the person to report to CUB and perform home quarantine.
4. If an employee has traveling abroad history and feel illness, he/she must report to the bank proactively. If the employee has suspected syndromes within 14 days, he/she should dial the infection prevention line and go to hospital in surgical mask.
Lastly, any other comments or opinions you can share about the effects of this virus on your business or the people working in your company?
Because Taiwan has been through SARS period in 2003, Taiwan government and people are highly aware of the severity of coronavirus. Therefore, when our bank enforces related measures (listed as below), our employees show high cooperation.
1. Setting up temperature check stations and disinfectant supplies at each entrance
2. Taking temperature check periodically by assigned staff
3. Wearing masks in meetings and elevators
Published: Tuesday, April 28, 2020
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