COVID-19 Lessons to Move Us Forward

The COVID-19 pandemic has created anxiety and economic hardship for millions around the globe, but it also has brought out the best in us. Neighbors are helping neighbors; organizations are donating much-needed resources; and communities have rallied around essential workers. A heightened sense of kindness and collaboration is emerging in the business world too, producing positive results that we predict will remain part of the new normal long after the crisis has passed.

As the initial shock of the virus’ impact eases, companies are asking, “Now what?” Some very good answers have come from Genesys customers who have built initial plans to deal with operational changes, not to mention unexpected costs, stress and uncertainty for the foreseeable future. There are no playbooks for what we’re experiencing. In working with our customers and listening to what they are going through, we’ve noticed three recurring themes: an overwhelming sense of community and caring for people, an eagerness to turn challenges into opportunities, and the power of collaboration. Here are a few examples of each.

Community and Caring

In times of crisis, great companies take care of people first. We’re seeing powerful examples of this across our customer base.

TechStyle Fashion Group is an eCommerce company with contact centers around the world. In the Philippines, many agents lack WiFi, data and cell service at home, making it impossible for them to work remotely. Instead of furloughing or laying off those employees, TechStyle rented a block of hotel rooms where employees can live and work safely. In an extended show of compassion, they encouraged employees’ families to join them until the local lockdown is lifted.

Leaders at Principal, a global financial investment management and insurance company, have become even more attentive to their remote staff’s needs, encouraging them to include pets, children or new work surroundings in their profile pictures. In turn, Principal agents are finding new ways to connect with customers by openly acknowledging shared circumstances, such as juggling work while the dog barks or the kids giggle in the background.

As another example, leaders for a leading property and casualty insurance company connect with remote teams via daily and weekly email digests, chat rooms, live polls and small rewards like DoorDash and Uber Eats gift cards. They’ve seen an overwhelmingly positive response from employees.

These companies prove that simple acts can keep people engaged, create a sense of community and reinforce that we’re all in this together.

Turning Challenges Into Opportunities

Creative thinking is also leading to new opportunities — big and small. Early into the COVID-19 pandemic, Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana tripled the number of households it could feed each day, driven in large part by requests for food delivery — a service the organization wasn’t initially set up to provide. Within seven days, the nonprofit organization went from not being able to handle the surge of calls to managing them effectively using Genesys technology. Now, with a new automated qualification process, Gleaners can identify eligible households and deliver food to those in need.

In addition to supporting its employees, the property and casualty company mentioned above is also improving operations during this crisis. The company shifted its mid-sized call center employees across all divisions to remote work. Contrary to the old-school assumption that productivity and focus would suffer, the company has seen positive results, including improved employee engagement, increased collaboration and higher customer satisfaction scores.

Companies are also thinking differently about how they train, coach and engage remote workers. The paradigm is shifting from measuring every second of the day to measuring outcomes, which is better for employees and customer experience. Moving forward, we believe companies will emphasize on engagement, redefine key metrics and align employee performance measures more closely to their organizations’ missions.

The silver lining in all of this is that organizations continue to uncover new ways to do business that yield positive results and provide additional flexibility moving forward.

Power of Collaboration

Collaboration has been a COVID-19 lifeline for many companies. More than 700 organizations asked Genesys to help with remote capabilities, shifting geographic operations and managing unexpected surges in customer inquiries. We quickly responded by providing organizations with even greater flexibility and offering free access to the Genesys CloudTM solution, enabling them to engage with customers and colleagues from anywhere.

We’re thankful we’ve been able to help so many organizations and people – but we certainly haven’t done it alone. Just like most things in life, it takes a village and we’d like to shine a light on ours. It consists of technology alliances with companies such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and New Relic; implementation partners including, Avtex, ConvergeOne and NTT, Ltd.; and the many organizations with integrations on our AppFoundry.

I’ve had the privilege of working directly with many of our partners throughout the years, but through this experience I’ve personally witnessed their tremendous skills and compassion in a new light. From waiving fees to offering products and services for free to rapidly building solutions that specifically manage COVID-19 related-challenges, our partners have played an instrumental role in our ability to meet ongoing business continuity needs. Together, we’ve helped approximately 700,000 contact center agents work from home on their existing platforms. And we’ll continue to provide whatever support is necessary to help organizations thrive.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges, it also has inspired extraordinary levels of compassion, creativity and collaboration. Genesys is proud to be a conduit for lessons learned, new ideas and innovative solutions that move our customers beyond crisis mode and into a sustainable future together.

Learn more about how we’re helping organizations manage today while preparing for what’s next with Genesys Ready Response.