As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the working habits of our people across 33 markets had to change. Rapidly.
In a matter of weeks - and just days in some cases - radical protective measures were introduced, including leaving the office. Today 95 per cent of our workforce across the globe (excluding branch staff) are working from home.
This mammoth achievement demonstrates both the incredible breadth of technology available and the dedication of ANZ’s people to adapt at pace in the face of this global health crisis.
Within ANZ however, there is a vital cohort of people who aren’t able to work from home – some of these are the people who make up the teams in ANZ contact centres. And they are the teams who perform the essential work of providing over-the-phone/digital support to our customers.
ANZ Chief Executive Officer Shayne Elliott has told the public “we are here, we have a capacity to help, we have the intention to help and I’m very confident that we can play a very significant role in ensuring that all the communities in which we operate can come through this in the best possible shape”.
For that to happen, our contact centres are on the frontline.
Stephanie Lehmann is Contact Centre Manager – Sales/Digital Banking at ANZ. (Coincidentally, it was Steph’s “ANZ anniversary” on the day of our phone interview.)
“Eight years ago today, I started [at ANZ] as an inbound sales consultant and I got the opportunity about a year ago to become the contact centre manager of inbound sales and digital banking – which is ironic because I am now a leader to the people doing my first ever job in the bank,” says Steph.
Business is personal
Steph is the manager of seven leaders who each have their own team of sales or service consultants within the contact centre in Melbourne.
“Business is personal and [the teams] play a critical role in connecting customers with what they want out of life and showing them how they can financially set themselves up to achieve it. Our personal bankers and digital bankers really play an advisory role - guiding customers and helping that come to life,” Steph says.
For an ANZ customer, that milestone they’re reaching for in life could be their first home. It could be a new car for their growing family….or saving for a well-deserved holiday retreat or their children’s education. The reasons for a customer to call through to one of Steph’s teams are vast and varied.
Supporting our customers through COVID-19
There is no doubt the world is forever changed. In order to protect ourselves and our communities we’ve all had to learn how to adapt quickly using technology to work, learn, socialise and live in a new digital world.
Banking services certainly aren’t exempt. As many Australians move to using digital banking - some for the first time - they are looking to Steph’s teams for support and guidance.
“Since COVID [the call volumes] have been…..crazy. We’ve gone from anywhere between taking around 5000 calls a week to 10,000 [calls a week],” Steph says.
“We’re working Saturday, Sunday… around the clock to help support our customers through this time.”
Steph says the types of calls her team are taking are significantly different to the type of calls they’ve taken in the past. “It’s been a change to coach bankers through having some really challenging, empathetic conversations with customers - particularly around loss of employment, guiding them through the packages available and how as a bank we can support them,” Steph says.
With adversity comes innovation
Keeping our people safe and healthy has been one of ANZ’s top priorities throughout this crisis.
For example, for Steph’s teams social distancing measures are vital: “We’ve had a standard desk space between each consultant. So there are no two consultants or leaders that sit together.”
“Meetings are held virtually,” she continues. “But coaching [our consultants] is probably the most different way of working.”
Steph says coaching is one of the biggest challenges she and her leaders have faced. “Being able to do that intimately and with impact via video or with great distance is a total turnaround to operating rhythm.”
But with adversity comes innovation: “It’s actually empowered people to think creatively about how to do the things we do normally at distance or virtually.”
That’s included a virtual library of videos for staff to access.