About the organisation
Content Guru is a technology company whose cloud communications software is used in call centres and customer service operations. From power companies and airlines, through to NHS 111 and DWP Universal Credit, Content Guru’s platform is utilised by hundreds of organisations to ensure that their call centres meet the needs of every customer. Headquartered in Bracknell, Berks and with offices in the Netherlands, Germany, the US and Japan, the company employs over 300 staff.
What challenges were you trying to address?
Call centre employees are at risk of infection from COVID-19, as these facilities see large numbers of people coming in and out on rotating shifts to answer customer enquiries 24/7.
In order to conform to government guidelines and keep their employees safe, organisations needed to set up new home-based call centres at speed, ahead of and immediately after the lockdown, especially with a sharp increase in customer call volumes.
Additionally, the call centre is a closely supervised working environment and our clients were concerned about what would happen if they couldn’t directly support their employees as they dealt with customer enquiries from home.
What goals or outcomes did Content Guru want to achieve?
Compliance and security are imperative when customer data and payments are being processed. Businesses needed to keep transactions and interactions secure during this period of working from home, which could well form the pattern for operations in the longer term.
We wanted call centres to be able to scale to manage an unprecedented amount of traffic from people trying to access healthcare and benefits, or to get refunds for cancelled bookings.
What was your solution?
The main thing we are doing differently is speeding up our process for deploying our solution. Our customers need us to keep their call centre workers safe and enable flexible new working practices. It is about keeping our customers communicating, which in turn means keeping companies in business and maintaining crucial government and NHS services:
- Access to our platform by the call centre worker is browser-based, which allows a user to log in from any internet-enabled device anywhere. This has helped both public and private clients to disperse their call centres and move to a homeworking model within hours, thereby meeting social distancing guidelines
- NHS 111 London callers have the option to trigger a link via SMS to a Public Health England web page containing more detailed information about COVID-19. To help handle spikes in calls, we also set up unique numbers for NHS 111 providers so patients with symptoms of COVID-19 don’t have to go through the normal system. Instead, they are routed to a dedicated group of healthcare advisers. We have gone on to add other new NHS services, including fast access to Mental Health professionals and ad hoc video communications, to meet new demands created by the lockdown and social distancing.
We have also helped some of our customers who were struggling to pay us, through no fault of their own, by deferring some of their payments until later.
How did you roll out your approach?
We set up several large healthcare call centres from scratch to help cope with coronavirus. Each new call centre is home-based to keep employees safe and was set up in just days.
Content Guru’s mission is to transform the way the organisations engage with people, and COVID-19 has been a fast-acting catalyst for this change. Providing key communications infrastructure is an important part of keeping British people safe during the pandemic. Once the dust has settled, many new and more productive ways of working will have become established.— Martin Taylor, Deputy CEO and Co-Founder, Content Guru
What have the results been?
On the peak day (13 March) NHS 111 London experienced a total call duration that was 1400% higher than the equivalent date in January, with the total number of calls more than 500% higher. The platform has been able to deal with an unprecedented increase in call traffic.
In the hospitality sector, hotel chain Jurys Inn saw call volume increases of 300% to 400% due to travel uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic. We set up a remote call centre in the Philippines and moved all 45 employees there to homeworking within days to enable Jurys Inn to cope effectively and safely with this increased traffic.
With responsibility for all rail services, passenger, and freight, in the UK, Rail Delivery Group (RDG) is essential to ensuring key workers can travel to work and vital supplies can travel across the country during lockdown. After its call centre in India was rapidly evacuated due to COVID-19, we enabled RDG to move all employees to working from home in just hours.
What advice would you give to other businesses looking to do something similar?
Our experience in lockdown underlines our belief that organisations should make the most of any resources already at their disposal, supplementing from outside where necessary, to open as many channels of communication as possible between colleagues as well as with customers.
A scheduled video conference with thirty people on it is great in some circumstances (and we have all enjoyed examining our colleagues’ decorative choices), but it isn’t the answer to every situation. The bigger thing for us has been replicating dropping into someone’s office or having a quick conference with two or three teammates around a ping-pong table, not laying on the big set-piece events.