By David Scott, Managing Member at Avid Communications.
It was Thursday, March 19th. Kansas City’s mayor, Quinton Lucas, had just finished announcing a metro-wide stay-at-home order to begin the Tuesday of the following week, and we knew a tidal wave was coming. Businesses had only a few days to revamp the way they operated if they could hope to stay open at all.
The wave hit immediately.
Our service department began taking requests at five times the volume of a normal busy day. We shifted people into the department to keep up with the volume.
We encourage our clients to make contingency plans that involve their Avid service. Many had done so, creating special automated-attendant menus for bad weather days, but few of us had contemplated the need to run operations remotely for weeks, not hours. Still, for many, that advanced planning paid off. They were equipped with Accession Communicator, a softphone that allows a computer or a cell phone to serve as an office phone. For these clients, reconfiguring their service to support remote work could be done in a matter of minutes.
Need a Power Supply for your Phone?
For some clients, their preferred approach was for people to take their desk phone home, and for phones with multiple lines, this was a necessity. For them, the need could be as simple as a power supply for the business VoIP phone that ordinarily pulls its power from the local area network in the office. So we lined up stacks of power supplies in our lobby in “grab and go” bags.
Voice Talent: Recording New Messages
Avid has an informal group of employees who are our “voice talent” team. They record announcements and greetings for our clients automated attendants in our office studios. They recorded hundreds of new announcements. Sadly for some businesses, it was an announcement that they would close for the duration of the stay-at-home order. For others, it spelled out a whole new way of reaching vital departments in the company as they shifted to remote operations.
Monday was crazy. Our technology and our people were pushed to their limit. We’re normally staffed to provide immediate turnaround on requests, but as the calls stacked up, our goal was to get everything done by the close of business. Somehow, that happened! Employees who had come through our service group were put in other positions to help with our efforts. Despite the high level of stress, clients were patient and courteous as we plowed through the mountain of requests.
Impressed: Our Customers Adapted Quickly
We were impressed by how quickly our customers adapted to the new world. One company had dispersed its departments to various homes in a single day. They had come up with a call flow for their main number that allowed their customers to reach the right group easily. Their main announcement reassured everyone that they were open for business and still making their product, just as always.
One client needed to set up a new location for COVID-19 testing away from their normal locations. They assigned groups of people to the new location. We quickly installed service at that location for a seamless transition.
Other clients who were still using premise-based phone systems, suddenly needed to shift to cloud-based services. While all of this hit during an already record level of installations for us, we were able to provision these emergency requests in a day or two.
Everybody at Avid hit the front lines.
Our account executives were training people on the use of Accession Meeting. Accession Meeting is a Zoom Meeting equivalent service we offer (though with much greater security) through Accession Meeting. Our engineering team was responding to network issues driven by a huge shift to work from home. They helped modify people’s at-home internet service so it would function properly with VoIP business phones.
Only late last week, two weeks after the announcement of the stay-at-home order, were our service volumes returning to something approaching normal. Through all of this, our service team, with the help of so many others, stayed on top of our clients’ extraordinary and unprecedented needs.
Delivering on our promises.
For 15 years, we’ve preached about the value of working with Avid should there come a time of crisis. We sincerely wish we’d never had the need to prove that claim. But, indeed, those days have come. And we’re here to help. We are here so you can mind your own business.