I’m Andrew and I’m a Customer Experience Representative in BGL Customer Services (BCS). I joined the company in April 2016, with my first role in car and van sales. Later the same year, I received additional training in customer service, building on my skills, and since then I’ve completed training in renewals and home insurance, making me a true ‘Universal Advisor’.
Let me take you back to the beginning. Since the pandemic began, BGL’s IT teams moved heaven and earth to enable my colleagues and I in BCS to work from home, and let’s just say, it has been an experience. Whilst still in the office, the phone lines were redirected to the new online system (Twilio), which allows me to take calls at home using a headset that plugs into a USB port; we were all given fancy gaming-style headsets, which when you plug them in have coloured lights around the outside – the only downside is that they are massive! So, I’ve since switched to my own headset, which is less fancy, but it works for me.
Just before I left the office for the last time, I was given a desktop computer, monitor, keyboard, and a mouse, along with a 10-metre-long ethernet cable. When I got home the set up was pretty easy – I'm currently in my bedroom at my desk by the window, so I can see the sun shining outside and I can have fresh air roll in from the window.
Along with a number of other colleagues, I’ve received additional training to support our Lending Support team, so I’m equipped to help customers who might be experiencing financial difficulty as a result of a change in their circumstances. I probably wouldn’t have been trained in this, without COVID-19. It’s great to be able to make a difference for customers when they need us most. I’ve benefitted greatly from this learning development – I feel much more confident when these calls come through to me. Of course, it goes without saying that everyone in BCS has also been trained on how to use the online system, as there are some significant differences to our usual systems, especially regarding hanging up, transferring, and making an outbound call.
Over the past few weeks that I have been working from home (the weeks have all blurred together now) it’s been really encouraging to see the regular emails and videos from management and the exec team. Being kept up to date with what's happening within my department ,and hearing about things ‘closer to home’ from local management and our head of department is greatly appreciated. As well as hearing about the bigger picture of the business as a whole, which I find fascinating, from Peter Thompson (Chief Executive Officer Insurance, Distribution and Outsourcing) and Matthew Donaldson (Chief Executive Officer). Along with all of these communications, BCS is always kept in the loop regarding updates to the online phone system, the service levels for that day, as well as helpful practical advice on how to handle a call from a different brand or product.
The question I have been asked constantly through all of this is, ‘how are you getting on?’. Some days are good, and some days are hard, but for me personally, this has been a real challenge. I miss the office and the people I work with – being in that environment is a great motivator to keep going because you know that everyone around you is in the same boat. What BGL has done to help with this transition has been amazing, they have gone above and beyond to help make us feel at home (pun intended) and I would like to give a shout-out to my team leader, Shanice Leach, for being understanding and regularly checking in on me.
I can't think of a better place to start your career than in BCS; you are on the frontline at the beating heart of the business, dealing with the customers who choose us over our competitors. My advice to anyone starting in a customer service role is to make friends and get to know everyone, because one of the key things that makes BCS a great place to work is the sense of community and family – having friends who will support you in times of need, whether you are having a bad day, or you're on a journey to achieve a goal you've set.