During the COVID-19 pandemic, companies worldwide have been laser-focused on supporting—and keeping—customers. But the most enduring brands know supporting their employees through the anxiety and uncertainty is equally critical for business continuity and long-term survival.

For one CxEngage customer—a global food manufacturer—scaling an internal HR access line to meet increased demand from employees with questions and requests related to COVID-19 was a way to provide that support.

Serving Employees with Quick Answers to their COVID-19 Questions

It’s important for employers to recognize that their employees are experiencing extraordinary pressures and strains right now, blurring the line between their professional and personal lives. Addressing this with empathy and responsiveness can help.

In these challenging times, how you treat your employees will be remembered—inside your organization and beyond—and will have immediate and lasting effects. When employees feel supported, they perform better, making it easier to maintain business continuity in the short-term. Employee care programs also have a long-term impact on employee engagement, productivity, loyalty and retention.

A Cloud-based Support Center for a Global Workforce

While our customer was already using Lifesize’s cloud contact center solution for its HR access line, the significant COVID-19-related volume increase created the need to burst to scale. With an unprecedented number of employees requesting help and answers, this multi-billion-dollar company prepared to adapt as needed. Our cloud solution enabled it to scale quickly.

Lifesize’s professional services experts helped the company scale its response and connect its worldwide employees with corporate resources, health insurance information, COVID-19 exposure assistance, mental health support options, and time-off procedures related to their own health and caring for sick family members with COVID-19.

Enhanced, Customized IVR Quickly Connects Employees to Resources

The Lifesize professional services team has deep experience in the contact center industry. We recommended that this company create a customized Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system with menu options to quickly connect callers to the help they need.

Given the expected large and ongoing influx of calls, it was critical to carefully think through the process of call routing so employees weren’t waiting long in queue, and neither the system nor the HR team was overwhelmed. To achieve this, our team recommended setting up recordings in the IVR that directed callers who didn’t require live support to internal web pages where they could immediately find answers to their questions.

For queries involving confidential information or requiring personalized assistance, callers were directly routed to an HR representative for help via phone or video. Using the IVR to efficiently route calls based on employees’ individual needs frees up the HR team to service more complicated cases and reduces wait times. It also optimizes resources while still satisfying the company’s goal of providing personalized, one-to-one support.

Some of the issues employees were contacting HR about were considered emergencies and required special handling from the IVR system. For example, if an employee was deemed essential and still expected to be in the office, but he or she has been exposed to COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms, they need a way to immediately alert human resources so appropriate steps can be taken to notify and protect other employees. The IVR routing system helps expedite this.

Moving to the Cloud in Less than Two Hours

It’s important to note that while HR is one critical support group, other internal teams are also important for your employees to quickly reach during these turbulent times, such as IT (information technology), infrastructure support or payroll.

During the COVID-19 crisis, our professional services experts are working with companies to quickly deploy many different kinds of internal contact center support teams on our cloud platform. We recently created a customized cloud tenant for a global financial organization’s internal IT support group so they could assist contact center agents as they set up their work-from-home environments. Moving to the cloud can be very fast: In this case, we had the IT support group operating and ready to serve its internal customers in less than two hours.

Supporting People with Technology, Compassion and Care

There are important elements of an effective employee care program during crisis that go beyond technology. When there’s no guidebook and everything is unnervingly new for everyone, you need to support your employees in a way that helps them deal with the uncertainty. Doing this also helps ensure business continuity so they can perform their jobs well in trying circumstances.

If employees are struggling with personal finances because spouses are laid off or are anxious because elderly parents are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, managers need to support them with understanding, concern and grace. As we work with our customers to leverage our technology to maintain business continuity during the pandemic, we’re sharing operational best practices that go beyond technology.

Any amount of relief or assistance can go a long way with employees, whether it’s giving them more flexibility with work hours, referring them to internal resources that can help or just setting up a virtual coffee break so team members can connect. Your employees will remember the acts of kindness long after the virus is gone and our world is seemingly back to normal.

Lifesize Has Always Embraced a People-first Approach, and It’s Never Been More Important than Now

Lifesize is well known for our people-first approach to service, and it’s an important differentiator for us. We see ourselves as advocates and advisors who help our customers implement cloud solutions that support their businesses and their people. This has never been more important—and valuable—than it is right now.

Just as we’ve experienced the power of innovative technology during this difficult time, we’ve also seen the remarkable and powerful effects of compassion, kindness and humanity. In crisis, support dramatically impacts an employee’s outlook and wellbeing. As we eventually overcome the effects of COVID-19, this can make for a smoother transition back to life as we used to know it and maintain business continuity throughout the process.