In March this year, despite the ominous rumblings of what was to come, I was absolutely over the moon; I was about to start working for QStory. The job was a significant step up from my previous role, in a completely different industry and I immediately felt a kinship with QStory’s ethos, profile and was beyond amazed with the product itself. I’d ironed my shirts (a rare occurrence), shined my shoes and was chomping at the bit to get into the office.
Then the world ended.
Upon receiving a somber email from Paddy our CEO about the gravity of the situation and QStory’s response to the Covid crisis, my onboarding process transformed from the norm, where support would be readily available in the seat next to me, into a pit stop.
I rushed into the office to pick up a laptop, received a login and fifteen minutes later I was on the train back home. I recall Paddy wryly telling me that the day after QStory had issued my offer letter they’d declared a hiring freeze.
From then on the plan was dramatically different to expectations; paralysed by the uncertainty holding the world hostage, it was impossible to gauge how our customers and prospects would react. Hands-on training was replaced by Zoom calls and Google Hangouts and in a world where everything had abruptly ground to a halt, my job description changed. An assertive approach to outreach was off the table. How do you ask a prospect what their plans are when everything changes on a day-to-day basis and the news rolling in is relentlessly bleak?
After two days it became obvious that my home Wifi was flimsy at best and didn’t allow for the level of contact necessary. Knowing that countrywide lockdown was on the horizon, I had to rapidly relocate to where connectivity would be secure.
As expected, lockdown measures were announced and I was stranded, albeit very comfortably by the sea in Cornwall. So whilst trying to memorise all the features and functionality of QStory’s software (a bit like trying to learn every name in the Yellow Pages) I was missing my friends & family and like everyone, terrified of what was to come.
I was incredibly lucky to be taken under the wing of Nino, our BDM and Declan our BD Director, who over several hours patiently explained how contact centres worked and how we had exponentially added value to our client’s contact centres. Just as I was beginning to feel comfortable in my product knowledge, Coronavirus became a professional as well as global concern.
Our COO, had contracted the virus.
To give you context, Fiona had conducted my interview and was who I’d been reporting my progress to and had been vital in providing a framework for my development. On a personal level, she was battling a virus which is responsible for the ongoing deaths of thousands of people. Paddy, her husband, had to assume her job responsibilities whilst simultaneously taking care of her. Thankfully, Fiona is now recovered and as she returned to work, things have started to look less bleak for me.
From the conversations I’ve had with people in our industry, Contact Centres have also started to readjust to a new normal and there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon; new ways of working have uncovered new best practice policies and in a time where customers queries have drastically multiplied and put the workforce under enormous pressure, Contact Centres are beginning to appreciate the power of Workforce Engagement and especially effective management of homeworking.
In circumstances which are equally frightening and bizarre, the future looks to be chaotic and full of new obstacles but something that I’ve personally experienced, to quote Bear Grylls, is our ability to “improvise, adapt and overcome”. A road riddled with potholes lies ahead but I firmly believe that we have the tools to navigate them and I’m very glad to be navigating them with QStory.
Seb Clarke is the latest addition to the QStory Team.
You can connect with him here.