Caring for Customer Service Agents Amidst the Pandemic
“Working during the pandemic is so risky. But it’s worse if we just stay at home and there’s no food to eat. My house is so far from my work. There’s no jeep so I have to walk. Thankfully, during the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), the company offered to house us so we can still work and have a salary. And the company provided us allowances and hazard pay and free meals. I am content but worried,” narrated Fatima Perido, an employee of a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) unit in Cebu City who works as a Globe customer service representative.
Fatima, like many call center agents, continues to brave the threat of the virus in order to survive and feed her family. But despite her difficult circumstances, other call center agents have it worse. The challenges that COVID-19 brought has prompted some of Globe’s BPO partners to close or limit their operations, drastically cutting down to less than 40% the manpower supporting Globe’s customer operations for both its hotline and social media channels.
The situation prompted Globe and its vendor partners to work closely to address the needs of frontliners. The people who take care of customers have to be taken care of as well. This is aligned with Globe’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 3 that promotes good health and well-being for all.
“Putting people first has always been at the core of our values in Globe. In this health crisis when people need to be at the center of decisions and actions, we put equal importance to our customers and frontliners. While we provide the connectivity and assistance that are crucial to our customers, we also want to make sure that the people who assist them are not left behind,” said Rebecca Eclipse, Globe Chief Customer Experience Officer.
Globe’s vendor partners arranged free accommodations and shuttle services for their employees as well as given them free food and health kits, which contain vitamins, face masks, and alcohol. Before entering the office or going to the field, frontliners undergo mandatory health protocols. Globe, for its part, provided them with hazard pay, incentives, and additional protection kits.
The ongoing quarantine restrictions, however, continue to impact the availability of frontliners. It is expected that the current number will further go down due to the ECQ happening again in Cebu where some of Globe’s BPO partners are located.
While things are yet to return to normal, Globe is continuously looking for ways to provide support to customers whose connectivity needs keep increasing. Thus, to make up for the lack of hotline personnel, Globe encourages its customers to use mobile apps such as GlobeOne, Globe at Home, GCash, and TM apps to manage their accounts. These apps allow customers to monitor their usage, report concerns, troubleshoot technical issues, pay bills, and conduct other common transactions without having to speak with the limited number of frontliners.
Globe is also exploring a remote desktop tool that will allow frontliners to work from home. This will give them access to the systems and information that they need, while keeping company and customer data secure.
To know more about Globe, visit www.globe.com.ph .