ResQ and Uswitch reflect on their first month of working from home and how, by working together, they have not only weathered the storm of the coronavirus pandemic but are thriving and maintaining excellent levels of customer service.

Working together to achieve a safe and successful homeworking solution

ResQ currently provides Uswitch with contact centre support and handles around 80% of their inbound calls from customers wanting to switch their gas and electricity supplier. Uswitch was one of ResQ’s fastest-acting clients, starting the working from home discussions weeks in advance of the lockdown announcement.

ResQ’s homeworking solution was developed in house by ResQ’s IT team in just 10 days. The innovative cloud-based tech solution is currently enabling all the agents from the Uswitch account to work from their own homes. Three weeks before the lockdown announcement, ResQ began briefing their agents and preparing them for homeworking, providing information on things such as GDPR and homeworking conduct. Utilising Microsoft Teams, ResQ has ensured their agents are reachable at all times, allowing Team Leaders to manage their teams in a way that isn’t detrimental to performance.

Working together, the two companies have delivered an exceptional solution, allowing customers to speak to a real person and save money on their gas and electricity whilst protecting the agents’ health and livelihoods by working from home.

Matt Traish, Head of Contact Centre at Uswitch said, “We have an internal contact centre as well as our outsourced provision and neither of these teams has ever worked from home before.

“Moving our customer service operation to remote working, was a challenge that we needed to solve and quickly to ensure that there was minimal impact on our customers, and one which ResQ helped us immeasurably.

“The solution we’ve discovered, not only has ensured we can continue to provide world-class customer service, but also has changed the way we think about our contact centre, which until now has always been chained to the office.”

Excellent performance in spite of difficult circumstances

The continuation of service provision is just one of the victories celebrated by the two companies since moving to homeworking.

The agents’ performance and conversions have been maintained and, in some instances, increased. Uswitch’s Trust Pilot score remains outstanding with many 5* reviews coming in for the team working from home. And, call abandonment is at its lowest ever – a performance metric that is very important to the team at Uswitch.

Lee Candler from ResQ commented that, “The agent’s attitude has been exemplary. The quality of their calls has remained strong and they continue to demonstrate their commitment to ResQ. We only lost 19 hours to sickness across the whole campaign last month which is exceptional and have not lost any hours to self-isolation as the agents are able to work from home, even if they’re isolating. We even had one agent who contacted his team leader to ask if he could log off for ten minutes to nip round and borrow a Wi-Fi router from his neighbour so he could continue working whilst his Wi-Fi was down!”

Matt Traish explains, “I am really pleased with the whole experience! Here at Uswitch, we take pride in helping you switch and customer service is of paramount importance to us.

“We’ve had some great 5* Trust Pilot reviews for the calls handled by ResQ and our net promoter scores are excellent.

“Another positive for us is that our aftercare has been completely uninterrupted. Some companies have had to dial back their offering but working together with ResQ, we’ve been able to offer the full suite of services to our customers throughout.”

The importance of employee engagement

The agent’s wellbeing was a high priority for ResQ and Uswitch and ResQ have a highly effective employee engagement strategy in place to ensure agents don’t feel isolated. Utilising the ResQ Community Hub on Facebook, people from across the organisation can interact with one another and get involved in games and challenges arranged by the engagement team.

Matt Traish said, “I was initially concerned about the focus and productivity of a homeworking team.

“This is especially true as when you go to the ResQ offices, you can feel the buzz and the enthusiasm so I was worried that people working from their kitchen tables would struggle without that energetic environment.

“However, ResQ has done an extraordinary job of engaging their staff. They’ve worked hard to maintain video contact and have competitions in place to keep people motivated.

“Some people might think games and talent competitions are important but ResQ recognises that these are people people, they’re extroverts, and their battery is charged by others. Without that interaction, their battery could go flat.”

ResQ’s Lee Candler praised his team saying, “The agents have been fantastic. When homeworking was first mentioned, there was some initial excitement about the flexibility of working from home. Later, they realised the difficulties and challenges this presents including feelings of isolation and getting to grips with new communication channels. However, the team has adapted incredibly well. Team leaders and ops managers have become brilliant at picking up on tones and recognising when a team member is maybe struggling and have been reaching out one on one via video call to check up on peoples’ wellbeing, offer support and motivate them.”

Not just surviving but thriving!

The teams at ResQ and Uswitch have worked incredibly hard to make this move a success and have lots to celebrate after their first month of homeworking. The coronavirus pandemic has been challenging for business and individuals but by working together and supporting one another, ResQ and Uswitch have demonstrated that it is possible to not just survive this crisis but thrive during it. Hats off to the agents for adapting so quickly to this new way of working and for coming together as a team to provide excellent service for Uswitch customers.