Navigating and Staying Afloat Through COVID-19
Have you ever had a problem or just needed a simple question answered and not been able to reach a human on a company’s electronic phone system and unfortunately their menu did not list the specific topic you needed help with - FRUSTRATING!
When we closed to the public, we realized the three staff in our phone center would not be able to handle the volume of phone calls, so we programmed our phone system to automatically start with station 1 and go round robin to the next clerk rolling over to all 4 offices and not starting over until it reached the last clerk at the last branch office. Everyone had the same number of calls and wait times were eliminated.
Each clerk was given the tool on their workstation to take E-checks over the phone for free and complete electronic transactions. A list of online and services that could be done by phone and mail were on our website with links provided to click on and take individuals to the exact page that completed their transaction.
We created an in-house dashboard so if people had to call back their scenario was logged in and they didn’t have to tell their whole story over again. The chances of getting the same clerk were nil, since we had the calls being sent to 70 different work stations. We took extra efforts to make sure everyone was safe and protected, by wearing masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, and strictly practicing social distancing.
We diligently tried to keep the public in tune with what was going on and how we were handling different type transactions and complying with the numerous emergency orders. We placed signage on our office windows and continually sent press releases and e-mails to EOC, elected officials, and Constitutional offices. We regularly did posts on Facebook and on our office website to keep people informed.
We’ve worked out our three phase plan to reopen our offices safely and step-by-step, following Governor DeSantis’s and the CDC’s recommendations. We’ve designed counters with protective shields to provide no physical contact between the clerks and the customers for when we reopen to the public to keep both constituents and our staff safe and make them feel comfortable that they are protected. Because of our creativity, innovative ideas, and the use of new technology, we were able to maintain the major amount of revenue streams after we closed our offices to the public, exceeding everyone’s expectations.
Talk about “thinking out of the box.” What box? This was all brand new! One thing COVID-19 did was to improve and to strengthen our critical thinking skills. Not only did we stay afloat, but we continued to pull in enough revenue to fund our essential services and we certainly did our part to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.