Coronavirus: BT’s response to maintain service levels

Telecoms player is taking steps to arm partners with more support and minimise risks for those still working in the field

Demand for communication and collaboration tools has surged in the past few weeks, and while that has been largely positive for BT’s channel, it has posed some challenges for service delivery.

With the UK currently under lockdown to slow the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, workers are expected to stay at home unless they have to go to a place of work to carry out their jobs. This has led to changes in the way vendors provide support for their customers and partners.

BT has responded by putting a robust system in place to look after its staff and partners to help them continue to provide support for customers.

“We have several operational plans in place to do this, including the creation of a round-the-clock split shift for support staff assisting with data and hosted voice repairs, who will be kept isolated from colleagues to minimise service impact should individuals need to self-isolate or fall ill,” said Gavin Jones, channel director for BT Wholesale.

“We are fortunate that our data provision team already operates at lots of different locations across the UK, so we have been able to divide the workload across many different key locations to make sure partners have the ability to access this service when they need to,” he added.

Customers don’t just look to BT and its channel to provide technology, but also to come out and deal with necessary repairs.

Jones said it had made it clear that field workers could only enter the place of work if they were feeling well and not displaying any symptoms of coronavirus.

“Regarding repairs, BT is focused on quickly restoring services, while following safe working practices. And the introduction of service ‘decision trees’ enables partners to better understand the severity of customer requests so that they can provide the most up-to-date and relevant advice,” he added.

BT’s channel has spent the past couple of weeks responding to a spike in customer requests for home working support.

“There has also been an uptick from many businesses which need additional capacity to cope with the increased volume of remote workers,” said Jones. “To assist UK businesses, we have, with the help of our partners, moved fast to introduce special offers and free licensing across our hosted voice portfolio – this allows our channel partners to bring the best remote working tools to their customers to enable them to continue operating successfully.”

Jones said BT had also given its channel the option to provide more self-install connectivity solutions that made it easier to get customers up and running quickly.

“Remote working is new for many people, so we’ve also boosted our online help and support content to enable our partners to help their customers and their staff to quickly understand and get to grips with this new way of working as seamlessly and as rapidly as possible,” he added.

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