The whole circus started after the first press conference about corona. Due to the regulations our employees were suddenly bursting with questions. 'What should I do if I suffer from asthmatic complaints, or if members of my family are sick?' Because of all the uncertainty, a quarter of our workforce dropped out. That was a shock, but at least as impressive was the number of people that still did come to work. At the same time we asked ourselves, ‘Is this what you really want?' And while we redesigned our locations to enable safe working – think of sufficient space, proper cleaning, putting no pressure but offering solutions – we directed our attention to the next step.
171. That many people were able to continue their work from home. It meant another 329 to go. When I saw each and every one stepping up to make this happen, I knew right away that we would get there. But not without an effort of course. A special working group provided software, systems and tokens for all the departments of VodafoneZiggo. In addition we needed hardware. Computers, monitors, headsets, mice, you name it. We got it all and team leaders even drove round in the weekends to deliver the equipment to our people. All that energy and the huge willingness to help each other, was really cool.
Within two weeks, we managed to get all connections going at home. And thanks to the right preconditions it works even better than expected. Some examples. In order to stay in touch during such a crisis, you naturally use a great many media right away. Teams, email, WhatsApp, and so forth. Furthermore, boundaries are blurring when you’re working at home. It is tempting to work overtime, in the evenings or during the weekend. By restricting communication tools and maintaining fixed working hours, you create peace. Another important point, people work to earn money, but also to have social interactions. It is vital to keep that going. For that reason, all the scheduled contact moments proceed as normal. Team meetings, management consultations and normal check-ups are more important than ever.
Another important way to take care of our people is by giving them the means to service our customers properly. It starts with information. We make sure our employees know exactly what’s going on, so they can inform our customers adequately. Crucial. Online support also plays an important role. A website filled with useful videos functions as a toolbox to assist customers in solving their own problems. Of course, these kind of tools are not instantly available, not even in mere days. Remote assistance, self-help by customers – these are things we have been working on for quite some time. Today, this is being accelerated and we now benefit from it. And because it works so well, it is not only being implemented in our systems, but also in the heads of our employees and customers. It’s primarily a matter of persisting, in order to continue this in future.
With the whole country staying home as much as possible, the servicemen of VodafoneZiggo only turn out for real emergencies. We can achieve a lot through phone, chat and email, but not everything can be solved quickly for our customers. Some problems therefore take some more time. A negative situation, you would say. But something strange is happening. Our marks for customer satisfaction are actually rising sharply. This just shows how extraordinary this period is. A time in which we all do our very best and in which our customers appreciate exactly that. And if in spite of it all they need to wait a bit longer before an issue can be solved, they are utterly understanding. The sooner we get rid of corona, the better, but I hope that this mentality will stay with us for a long, long time.
Ralf Anema, team manager VodafoneZiggo