My neighbor this morning said, “I guess we’re back to work- no more snow days”. I thought this was a funny comment. While schools have resumed and people are back at work, I couldn’t help but reflect on how 30”of snow really brought most schools and businesses in the mid-Atlantic region to a standstill. However, neither our corporate team nor our customer service team was impacted at all. Much to my 7 year old son’s disappointment, work continued albeit from home.
Back in 2001, when we launched a distributed model that allowed team members to work from home, it was revolutionary. Now I wonder why anyone would build out a centralized call center. We implemented this model, in order to be able to tap top talent for luxury brands. What we found since, is that there are many occasions under which having a distributed team is compelling and useful.
Today, it’s just necessary if you want to continue to service customers. While Snowzilla was happening, no one came into our headquarters office. Of course no one drove into a contact center either. We all worked from our home offices spread across 27 States. While a large percentage of our industry was seriously impacted by the storm, we maintained service levels well above our targets throughout.
We support luxury brands. We do not take 911 calls, so some would argue that customers could survive for a short period without service and that our team members should be able to take time with their children. I think we found a happy balance. By covering so many regions, even those working from home can take time to build a snowman and go sledding. I personally loved being able to keep up with work… and still have time to squeeze in getting outside with my son on a snow day.