FH: Stories | Saga

A thoroughly British business responds to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Saga is a British brand synonymous with the over 50’s, whose purpose is to help its customers lead the life they want. Their products and services include insurance and travel.

The Folkestone-based organisation is one of the district’s biggest and best-known employers. From its home in Sandgate the company has taken extraordinary steps to continue to provide a seamless, customer-centric service for its 2.7 million customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The organisation had already been trialling ‘work from home’ as part of its wider development, and this had been limited to a selected number of teams. When it became clear that the lockdown would mean more colleagues would need to work from home, the immediate challenge was to scale up this trial for the whole of the business, prioritising over 1,000 insurance call centre colleagues.

Saga’s IT team worked tirelessly to roll out its ‘work from home’ procedure to all 1,000 insurance call centre workers over just 7 days. This is believed to be one of the UK’s largest work from home call centres.

The current global standstill of the cruise sector has created an additional level of demand for support and advice. As you would expect from a customer service-led organisation, Saga has continued to deliver its full range of travel, health and insurance products and services, in a time when its competitors were advising only calls for existing customers.

The team has communicated clearly and honestly with customers throughout the pandemic – this has extended to making customers aware that colleagues are working from home and that may sometimes mean the sound of the kettle in the background!

Communication was a strong factor in the successful redeployment of the call centre team, and, colleagues kept in touch using the company’s internal Facebook page ‘Saga and You’. Jane Storm, Saga’s Chief People Officer said, “In testing circumstances, what quickly became apparent was the resilience of the team who have remained focused on delivering exceptional service for our customers.”

Productivity has remained high and call handling levels strong – managers have been keen to retain a positive, high-performance workplace in the home and are encouraging colleagues to share and engage and perhaps get to know each other a little better. A new initiative has been launched to recognise colleagues as ‘Homeworking Heroes’ and colleagues can also use a new ‘Tell Euan About’ email address directly to the company’s Chief Executive which has enabled continuous improvements and continuity of service.

Jane concludes, “A collective focus has shown what can be achieved when you are all focused on the same thing.”

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