Facing unprecedented situations, Brandt
implemented business continuity plans and precautionary measures to minimize
disruption to our clients and maximize our efforts to keep our team members and
clients safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continuity: Leadership Team is in regular contact with each other and
observing local, state, and federal updates in order to monitor the situation
and ensure that we are deploying best practices.
Paused all non-essential business travel for our team members. Utilized virtual
technology to connect with partners and team members to avoid any disruption or
Hygiene: Offices receive an increased level of workplace cleaning. We are
actively communicating our guidelines around general safety and hygiene to our
employees and partners.
Support: Ensuring the quality and security of our services, we implemented
remote support for all employees, including Call Center agents.
Support: Coordinated state agency leadership conference call to allow our
state partners to collaboratively and candidly discuss their situations, as
well as created a private online forum to share resources.
Support: Monitored daily digital advertising activity, adjusted messaging
relevancy, and implemented new tactics to continue to evolve with the changing
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
- Take Care of Customers First
- Take Care of Each Other
- Do the Right Thing
The Remote Transition
We pride ourselves on our in-house Call
Center team members who are within a short walk of the full development and
leadership team. Our direct oversight and collaborative training procedures
have allowed us to provide superior customer service and support. Although
increased workplace cleaning and workplace safety and hygiene measures were in
place, we felt the need to transition our Call Center team members to remote
support during this time. Once the decision was made, our team transitioned to
working from home within a few short days. It was no small task for our crew.
Not only was the transition smooth, we increased customer call satisfaction:
Our IT team proactively ordered equipment
that has since become unavailable for several months due to increased demand.
We met with our PCI (Payment Card Industry) auditors very early in the process
to ensure security compliance for our remote employees.
overcome the lack of in-person collaboration and supervision as a result of the
remote transition, we leveraged tools for digital monitoring and individual
feedback for improvement. Group chats, video conferencing, and screensharing became
even more critical for asking questions and sharing information.
Today, the only few team members reporting to Brandt offices are those who do not have suitable space / settings for working from home such as lack of space, internet or distractions. We also have several employees who have had to take a leave of absence. When this pandemic began impacting our operations, we were in the process of hiring and onboarding many call center agents. This was put on hold as we navigated our remote support transition and our hiring and on-boarding has now resumed to peak performance. This five-week pause meant a decrease in available agents to answer calls. We are currently hiring and remotely training a majority of our new team members and have already completed two rounds of training.
MENTALITY – “SERVE AND SELL”
Refreshingly, the public
customers were generally not concerned about COVID when they were calling into
our Call Center. They understood that things were different, and they may need
to change the way they obtained certain services, but they were still as
excited to camp, hunt, fish, and boat at the majority of our partners
facilities. This excitement continued to be the major undertone of the calls
which contributed to our positive team mentality.
Daily messaging to the Call Center
team was to “Serve and Sell”. If we have customers who call with a desire to use
our partner’s facilities and make a reservation or purchase – our MAIN GOAL was
to get them to that end.
There are several
factors that increased call volume during COVID-19:
call length time: Customers who previously made reservations in-park
(walk-ins) or purchased licenses at physical locations were now forced to
purchase online. Many calls were simply walking the customer through their
first online reservation or purchase which takes longer than regular phone
responsibilities: To help offset the lack of agency in-office staff, we took
on several additional services for our partners, including processing lifetime
applications and commercial applications. These workflows also increased the average
length of calls.
call volume: Increased demand for campsites and the new online users who
were calling to ensure reservations were intact (albeit they receive
confirmation email or text SMS).
- Drastic and
unpredicted traffic spikes: Keeping us on our toes, the spikes in call
volume traffic did not follow traditional trends. Weekly fluctuations ranged
from being down 30% from expected volumes to being up 30% (1,400 calls in one
week for the state of Georgia alone).
mitigate the increased call volume, it was all hands-on deck. Anyone trained
and able to answer calls pitched in, starting work early and staying late. Even
though we did not always shine on our required Service Level Agreements, we maintained
the focus on customer service and did a great job keeping those metrics
We believe the following key factors to be imperative in our
Proactive. Anticipate and plan early for potential technology, hardware,
and personnel needs.
Honest. Communicate risks, concerns, and non-issues in order to focus on
what truly needed to be addressed and what the alternatives were.
Each Other. Proceed in unison regardless of differing opinions on best
- Find A
Way. We may not know everything or
what is involved, but we solve together.
- The Right
People. The power is in our team members who have positive attitudes to
tackle each challenge.
Our agency partners and the public has reached out to us privately and in very public ways to show their appreciation for us during this time. COVID-19 has and will continue to change our lives in many ways but for some of our team they embraced the stress and uncertainty to shine in their service to customers.
Here are a few recent public examples:
Hello Mr. Wise,
Just a quick note to let you know how much we appreciate the service my husband and I received today from Mrs. Gardner. I am not sure how (my husband is convinced I threw them away) but we lost our new registration/tags for our jet ski. Husband rang your office today and spoke with Mrs. Gardner who was ever so gracious enough to send us a new set. He fessed up and told her he is sure we tossed the mail out (he thinks I did ???? ) and she was quick to say no problem, we will just mail you a new set without question. We truly appreciate her kind service and helping us secure the replacement tags. She was a joy and we just wanted to make sure she was recognized for same.Have a wonderful day! Take care…
Lynn Durham, Agent
Goochland County Farm Bureau
We all have an opportunity to learn from one another to hopefully become more efficient and adaptable for the next local or worldwide event which forces us to re-think and implement our services. Together, we can make the most of the toughest situations with partnership and teamwork.