While much of the business at Ford Motor Company has shifted to working remote during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company wants dealers, employees and customers to know the work isn’t stopping at the North American contact centers.
The centers handle thousands of calls from both customers and dealers each year, ranging from those seeking assistance with the FordPass app to help find a resolution to an issue with a vehicle or parts supply. Steps have been taken to ensure that contact agents have what they need to work from home and still answer calls and keep business moving.
“We’ve gone from 10 percent of people being able to work from home to close to 100 percent in a two-week span,” said Mike Leary, North America contact center manager. “It was an incredible effort by our IT staff and our partner, Percepta to get our agents equipped to do their job at home. Everyone is in high spirits and doing their very best to continue to support our customers and dealers.”
In many cases, laptops were configured and shipped to agents’ homes, and some were even able to take their desktop computers home with them for the time being.
“Our centers in Melbourne, Florida and Houston, Texas experience displacement after things such as hurricanes and severe floods, but nothing of this caliber has happened before,” said Leary. “We’re working to keep things moving while also providing our newer agents with the help and training they need to handle this.”
Some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are regarding the longevity of warranties as well as transportation if a local dealership is closed. The North American contact center management team has been working to provide rental coverage in those cases. A new voicemail system is also being implemented to help agents serve customers and dealers to the best of their ability with the current working situation.
Teams are also trying to maintain virtual normalcy for agents through tools like Zoom and Webex for daily or weekly huddles and catch-ups. Though this experience is unfamiliar to many, Leary says there is a silver lining.
“From a business continuity standpoint, we will be much better prepared to respond to any issues that occur in the future,” Leary said. “Agents now know what they need to create a work from home environment, and the company as a whole knows what tools are required to provide them with a remote workspace if necessary.”