By Nick Llewellyn, Project Manager

If you think back to January last year, it feels like a very long time ago and it certainly felt very different! At that time, we started having conversations about how we could take our Co-op contact centres remote and move to cloud based contact centres where our colleagues could work from in any location. We initially got a working group together with a deadline of December 2020 to meet this goal.

Our contact centres are essential, all our business units have contact centres which are crucial to how we do business. For example, our Funeralcare contact centre is available for members and customers to call when a loved one passes away, to let us know we need to take them into our care. This is just one example of where we need to make sure our contact centres are always accessible to our customers and that our colleagues who work in them have the flexibility they need for their wellbeing.

We always had strong reasons for needing to set up a cloud based contact centre, but in March when the first lockdown happened, it went from being a programme to be completed by the end of the year to an absolute necessity. It needed to be turned around in a couple of weeks, for the safety of all our colleagues, especially those who needed to shield whilst making sure our members and customers saw no change in service.

We were the first team to use the process which is now becoming Single Front Door. We needed to stand up a team who could focus on this and attend daily stand-ups. We also had to get the right suppliers involved and work with the right people internally. We needed approvals and sign offs and to go through the correct governance, all whilst working at pace. Using this Single Front Door concept allowed us to do all this.

We started this piece of work on 23 March and took our first call on the Genesys Cloud Contact Centre on 22 April. We did all this with the right amount of governance and rigour, but understood our path from day one. We knew which forums we needed to go to, who we had to engage with and get on board and the impacts we would have on existing Co-op ways of working. Knowing this from the start and putting the right plan in place meant we did this very quickly, without cutting any corners.

Work on this is still on-going and colleagues reading this from Legal Services and Hire to Retire may be thinking that they’re still to be migrated. But we’ve now got many core teams on platform whilst we mature our strategic version.

I was really pleased to hear that the process we used for this piece of change is being rolled out for all change across the Co-op – you’ll hear it referred to as ‘Single Front Door’. It’ll mean those things that are real priorities can happen quickly but in the right way, that we can all understand what is on the plan and where the priorities are and start change at any time. Rather than waiting for the annual strategic planning cycle to get a spot on the plan and the right people on board.

You’ll be hearing more about this process including details of how it’ll work over the next few weeks and I’d encourage everyone to embrace this. It’ll help make things slicker and easier, despite it being a new process you have to go through which I know can sometime feel like an extra thing to do – I think it’ll be worth it.